The internet is a large collection of information connected through links. If you link to someone or something, you're telling the search engines, "Hey - go over hear for more information on XYZ". The search engines pick up on this and score their results based on the number of 'inlinks' to your site.
Link Building has become more sophisticated over the short years of the internet, and now keyword rich link building is vogue. So, if you want your website to rank for Digital, Creative, Design and Marketing Agency like we do, you'll want as many links to the homepage that contain these essential words. Links can be built on-site like the one above, or off-site.
When people cottoned on to the fact that their search engine optimisation could be manipulated by simply creating hundreds of thousands of inlinks to their website, Google & friends put a stop to their evil ways by blacklisting sites and IP addresses for their unethical practices and started to reward those with truly useful content and genuinely useful inlinks.
Article writing is the art of writing copy about a certain subject, let's say 'Creative Agency'. Now, if I want to establish my site as the authority on 'Creative Agencies' and want those who search for 'Creative Agency' to find me - I'll start writing articles about the creative industries, marketing trends, design challenges and new media developments. This will be centered around 'creative' and 'agency' related keywords and contained each article will be a link (like the one at the top of this paragraph) to the homepage for the keyword in question.
Writing great copy is one thing. Providing links back to your site is another. But where do you put these articles with their all so important links? Well, you need to find websites with good PageRank. PageRank is a link analysis score given by Google (and named after it's founder Larry Page - do you see what they did there) which scores the relative importance of the page. The higher the score, the more important the information.
So, the classic example is EzineArticles. Ezine receives 1,000's of articles from authors around the world and is therefore a useful body of knowledge (they insist on a minimum of 400 word articles and read each one individually before allowing it to be published). Because Ezine has a PageRank of 6/10 Ezine wins because it's high PageRank and high content generate massive traffic for the site (which, incidentally generates money for them through Google Adsense - but that's another story). The authors win because articles written on the site carry weight which all comes back to the site they are optimising for.
Yes and No. Twitter and Facebook are good examples of websites with massively high PageRank. Twitter has a 9/10 PageRank and Facebook a 10/10. The reason they have such high PageRank is because they have a number of very attractive features to the search engines:
But, Twitter and Facebook are not used by website designers, developers and creative SEO bods for PageRank. They are used because people use and interact with them all the time and it's the physical users themselves who can drive traffic through those links.
For more on Twitter and Facebook, see our page on social networking.