This is the current mentality of the search engine optimization industry. Job descriptions are built around the process. Companies that do nothing but build links to sites have been started–and have been successful.
While acquiring high-quality, highly-relevant links should be a part of any comprehensive SEO strategy, one site won’t necessarily out-rank another site on search engines just because it has more links. A good SEO strategy will encompass ways to build a site’s relevance on certain keywords through different means, not just through link building. Google’s algorithm takes over 200 factors into consideration for ranking websites on search engine results pages, and I’m sure they’re not all tied to the amount of links your site has; if they were, I’d say BUILD ALL THE LINKS!
While link building should be a part of any SEO strategy, there are other factors you should be doing with your site (if you’re not already), including business info citations, on-page optimization, and off-page image optimization.
Many times, a business may not want to list its info on certain pages on the Internet because they won’t get a link back to their site. However, Google has begun to look at the number of places where your business’s info – name, address, telephone number, website, amongst other things – is listed, and is using that info as a factor to determine relevance.
These sites exist for a wide range of topics, from free Wi-Fi hotspots to pressed penny machines. (Yes, there are people out there who collect those. Who knew?)
On-Page Image Optimization
Users love visual content, but search engines have a harder time with it. They can often decipher what an image is based on other on-page elements, but it’s not 100% perfect. Any image you have on your website should include an ALT Tag, containing 3-5 (ish) words to describe what the site is about to Google. This is especially vital if you use an image-based site navigation instead of a text-based one.
Also, one big thing that many people forget is to do is to name your images with a relevant, descriptive title. , “image” or “DSC_1992” are not as relevant as the name of your business, or the image’s subject. Lastly, if possible, it’s also a good idea to use captions to describe your image directly below or somewhere near it on the page. These practices, when done properly, can help to raise your site’s relevance with Google and other search engines.
Off-Page Image Optimization
Many people are leery of hosting their content on sites other than their own, for fear of duplicate content issues. But if your business is in an industry where a picture can sway a buyer’s decision, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to optimize these images and add them to photo-sharing sites.
Besides being a place where a user can look at great images, many of these photo-sharing sites have additional benefits. Since these sites have such high authority, they often come up in image searches. In addition, two of the most popular sites, Flickr and Photobucket, allow you to add links back to your site in the description for the photo (when done sparingly). If you have a brick-and-mortar business, Panoramio is where Google pulls the images you often see on Google Earth (provided it’s an exterior shot of the business and is larger than 1000px). Images have also proven to be great for sites like Pinterest, where visual content gets highly shared. These methods increase the number of times your site’s info appears across the internet, increasing the amount of citations your business has.
So yes, links may be the bread and butter of SEO, but that is A LOT of carbs. And all those carbs may taste amazing, but they make you fat. A well-balanced SEO strategy will include fiber, protein and fats, along with the bread and butter.
So eat a well-balanced SEO diet and tell me if that works out better for you.