An inbound link is simply a link from another website to yours. It now (kinda) includes social media, which is why social media is useful for SEO.
Google looks at this because if your people link to your page, then it must be a good page right?
It actually goes further than this. If a page about your subject (horses) links to your page, then Google will think yours is probably a good page about horses. Conversely, if a page that isn’t about horses links to your page, then Google won’t care (or might even get mad at you for trying to trick it).
Google is always working to try to show people the pages which will please them most.
Off-Page SEO Tips
Even if you do everything right, and make an excellent page there is still a ton of other stuff that can be done to boost SEO. And if the search terms you are trying to rank for are competitive, other websites will have top-notch SEO of their own going on, which will drown you out.
So here is a quick guide to SEO stuff you should be doing if you are time-poor, but want Google to care about your site.
Use Social Media
Every year Social Media becomes a bigger and bigger part of SEO algorithms. This means if you want your SEO to stay strong in the long term, you have to use Social Media. For small businesses this can be a pain, as devoting the time to this can seem wasteful when there are so many things to do. It really isn’t though.
Use a tool like Statusbrew, Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule in your posts across multiple social networks. You don’t have to be on every social network, so choose the ones appropriate to you. Make sure you post frequently on whatever you do choose and keep it up.
If your business is a passion project, it shouldn’t be too rough to get involved in conversations on Twitter or Facebook about your business. If your company makes pretty things, Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat should be your natural homes. If you are an expert – try being helpful on Reddit or Quora. Work out what works for you.
Note: While social media doesn’t directly affect SEO, increasing knowledge of your website and spreading your links on the web can result in 2nd order links (ie people seeing a link, liking it, and then adding it to their own site).
Get Inbound Links
An inbound link is simply a link to your site from another site. These are only valuable if they come from a reputable and related source to your own website, as these types of link will demonstrate your authority on a subject.
If you get links from unrelated websites or participate in link exchanges, then Google will get mad at you and your site will drop down rankings.
So the key with inbound links is to come by them honestly, or they are simply not worth it. Good links are mega-worth it though.
It’s no great mystery how to get good links either. Write stuff people care about and they will link to it. Develop a user base, and people will talk about you.
There are tons of link-building companies and guides out there, so if you want to accelerate the process you totally can. Just make sure you do it honestly or Google will punish you (this means no paying dodgy companies for links, or joining link exchanges).
Don’t Be A Jerk
So you know, bad SEO (Black Hat) means trying to game the system, and being a stupid jerk who is being stupid.
This is because gaming the system will only ever work for a short period before Google realises what’s happening and changes its algorithm. Getting involved in Black Hat SEO is like choosing to be Sisyphus, and pushing that rock pointlessly up the hill forever, only to have it tumble back down every morning.
Good SEO however (White Hat) at least means the rock will stay at the top of the mountain. At least while you go get another one anyway.
Give yourself a break, and be a good guy.
A bonus chore
Read up about SEO periodically. Being a nerd about work sometimes can pay out big dividends. So don’t ignore SEO news when it pops up, or maybe even once a year read some new guides. Make sure you’re not missing something, and that what you are doing still makes sense.
It’s not a huge chore, but it will set your mind at ease at the very least.
Next: Technical SEO