by John Eberhard

I recently was communicating to a client and realized he had a confusion between the terms SEO (search engine optimization) and Link Building.

This prompted me to write an article recently with various definitions related to Internet marketing, which I thought was going to be dry and boring but I got several positive comments on the article.

Ive decided there is a bit more to say about the relationship between these two internet marketing actions. Here are the definitions again:

SEO: Stands for search engine optimization. This is the process of selecting the best keywords, according to high traffic and low competition, and then placing these keywords in the appropriate places on the website. SEO is a one-time action, not something one tinkers with month by month. It should be redone every 2-3 years, as keyword traffic and competition can change significantly.

LinkBuilding: I have observed some people have glommed this activity into SEO and use the term SEO to refer to both SEO and link building. For the purposes of clarity I think it is best to keep them as separate terms. Link building is the action of creating links on other websites linking back to yours. Google states that the number of links to your site from other sites is its primary criteria for deciding the ranking of a site. So link building is a vital activity if you want your site to rank well on search engines and thus get increased traffic.

Some people get the idea that SEO is like some magic wand and all they have to do is get SEO done to their site and watch the traffic flood in. This is not correct. SEO is an action one does to a website that basically makes it possible for the site to rank well for the keywords that you select during the keyword research process.

But in order for the site to really rank well, you have to then do a program of link building. The ideal program is to do SEO, which is a one-time process, then do link building for at least 6-12 months. The best actions I have found for building links are:

  1. Optimized Press Releases: Write press releases that contain some of your target keywords, and then submit them to online PR sites. Great for building quality links.
  2. Blogs: Take both your articles and press releases and put them up on a blog, and take the keywords in the articles and releases and make them into a link pointing back to appropriate pages on your site.

Just as it is not as effective to just do SEO without doing link building, it is not as effective to do just link building without SEO. Why? Because one of the steps of SEO is to do research on keywords and select the best ones. Then you take those selected keywords and utilize them in your articles and press releases.

When doing a full program of SEO and link building, then each month I check the ranking of the website for all of the keywords I’m targeting. I use software called Market Samurai to do this, as it would take forever manually. Then I count up how many #1 keywords I have, how many in the top 10, top 20, top 100, and top 500. As you continue the link building program, you will see the number of your keywords in each of these categories go up month to month.