A subscriber asked us to compare and contrast targeted linkage with search engine optimization (SEO). Both campaigns require an investment, and he simply wanted to know where he'd get the most bang for the buck. 'The answer is...'
Let's say you've got a search engine optimizer working to get you great search engine positioning. This is important to do, but even when you're #1 on Excite, you still have to wait for people to find you through that particular search engine.
But let's say you're not #1 on Excite, or even #100. In fact, your site is nowhere to be found on Excite. You've got to start from scratch, and as of March 2001 your listing on Excite can take up to 10 full weeks to appear.
And then, this could happen: after waiting 10 weeks you discover that you didn't get a satisfactory ranking on Excite. Obviously you'll need to adjust, then submit again. Then wait up to 10 more weeks...
That's as long as 5 months of fiddling around with your Excite rankings to get the results you want - IF you get the results you want.
There's no guarantee, which is why most search engine optimizers don't like to be locked into your positioning on any one particular search engine. Instead they'll work to get you top 10-30 positioning for x number of listings on x number of major search engines.
Because of the time involved, a realistic SEO campaign needs at minimum a 3 month window of opportunity. Your SEO must have this flexibility to deliver quantifiable results. So if time is an important factor, you'll need to take this into account.
For a targeted linkage campaign, count on 30 days to begin seeing measurable results. With proper follow up, the traffic flowing into your site from these links will only continue to grow.
There's one other thing to consider: although search engines are used by around 83% of the population online to find resources, currently they index less than 30% of the Internet overall. Which means that more than 70% of all Internet resources cannot be found through the search engines at all.
That's worth thinking about, and it raises this question: 'If people can't find resources through search engines and directories, how DO they find them and where do they look?'
The answer is, 'through links'. After search engines, this is the second most popular way to find anything online, and opens the door to a much higher percentage of the Internet's resources than search engines can offer.
These are a few key contrasts between targeted linkage and SEO work, but here's the REAL difference:
Targeted linkage reaches out to the online community to find your target audience and build your network, where an SEO campaign is to do with the enhancement and effective submission of your Web site assets.
Targeted linkage finds the sites where your target market gathers, then establishes a direct link from that site to yours. In this way it brings you one step closer to reaching your market - people frequenting sites in your market niche can find your site there, and no longer have to use search engines to find you.
It's a more direct approach, and there's another benefit: where search engines change their ranking algorithms regularly which causes your position to fluctuate, a link on a high traffic site can stay posted for months or even years. If your site offers valuable content, it delivers real value to a linking site because it enhances what they offer to their visitors. That's why they want your link.
Are we saying 'the heck with search engines, concentrate on links'? Not at all - some of our best friends are SEOs. These search engine experts have driven substantial traffic and paying customers to our sites. We thank them and highly recommend them!
What we are saying is... 'Do BOTH'. Invest in your online marketing today and you are investing in a bright future, because your Web site is an asset that continues to grow.
Targeted links enhance your listings with the top 19 search engines today, and you'll be more visible and a recognized 'player' in your niche market if you place well on the major search engines and directories. There's a symbiotic relationship here. Use it to your advantage.