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Understanding Link Building vs SEO (via the Indy 500)

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Understanding the role that SEO and link building play in the success of a website is crucial for webmasters and business owners. Link building is often lumped together under the SEO umbrella with all of the other optimization activities that can be done on a website. However, making a distinction between SEO and link building is crucial during the planning phase of a website’s development.

“Optimizing” means taking what already exists and making it optimal. If what exists is not sufficient, you need to build onto the business’s core. That’s not optimization, that’s just good ‘ol building a business.

Tuning Your Website for the Indy 500

Think of your website as an automobile for this analogy, and SEOs just as you would a performance tuner of cars (or an optimizer).

If you want to improve your car’s performance, taking it to a tuner can be a great idea. However, if you bring a 4-cylinder Honda to tuner, there is still only so much that they can do to it without installing a new engine and a new transmission etc. They can make it faster and increase performance by optimizing the current car, but if you want to race in the Indy 500, you need more than just simple optimization of your engine.

If you bring your website to an SEO, there is only so much that they can do to increase the performance of your site without taking on tasks beyond regular optimization. Going beyond simple optimization tasks is normal for most agencies, but the next section explains why it is so important to make a distinction between optimization and the other tasks that are often associated with SEO.

Can’t Tuners Put a New Engine in Your Car?

Yes, most great tuners can also put a new engine into your car. Just in the same way that many SEOs can also do link building, content generation, and content promotion as a part of their jobs. However, these tasks are not search engine optimization. There are several differences between the nature of these tasks, the expertise that is takes to do them well, and the amount of effort and dedication that it takes to do a great job. It is important for business owners to understand this concept because it is very prone to affect the extent of which they take these tasks seriously. Content generation and link building are not SEO, they are just a part of building your business.

Can a 4-Cylinder Website Win Races?

Absolutely! Even if you have a stock 1989 Honda Civic, you will find niche races where there is a car class for you (try the SCCA perhaps). If you can find someone to tune your car up a little bit, you might be able to start winning some races at your local track. This is true in the same way that a new website can still make money. It’s simply a matter of where you choose to compete and who you choose to compete against.

What Does This Mean for the Outsourcing vs In-House Debate?

Would you take your car to a performance tuner’s shop before you go off for a race weekend? Perhaps. Many people don’t even do that, they just race their street car as it is. That being said, taking it to the local shop for a tune up will probably increase your chances of winning.

Do INDY 500 car teams outsource their work to tuners? Not in the same way that a weekend racer will outsource their work, that’s for certain. However, even at this level a race team will still occasionally bring in outside help. Perhaps this will mean hiring specialists in computer programming to work with the race team’s diagnostic systems, a nutritionist to work with the driver on fitness, or an expert in aerodynamics to design the wings on the car. Specialists can always play a role in optimization and there will always be great reasons to outsource optimization tasks. It’s just not always going to be the same role for every company.

When Should You Contact an SEO?

One of the smartest things that a business owner can do is contact a great SEO consultant before even embarking on the development of their website (especially if you are counting on search engine performance in order to succeed).

We can tell you where to race, who to race against, and what the career path looks like if you want to race in the INDY 500. We can talk about what kind of a car you’ll need, how strong its engine needs to be, and we can make sure that you are on a path where the progression is reasonably obtainable.

Translation: We can tell you how many competitors are in a niche, how strong the competition is, how to set yourself up for a progression of larger and larger milestones, and how you can eventually become an authority website that deserves to rank well. Most SEO consultants can recall at least one instance where someone had just completed their website, and the first thing that the SEO had to tell them was that there was a bunch of things that needed to be changed as the first course of action.

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