This article kindly provided by Colby Hooley of, an industry leader in Enterprise Level SEO and Internet Marketing.  Connect with Colby on Google+.  Article reproduced with permission.

There’s a right way and a wrong way to do search engine optimization. The right way will help brand your company as an expert in the industry and launch your website to the top of the search engine results, while the wrong way can actually hurt your brand’s image and drop you off the SERPs completely.

The search engine marketing company you choose to go with, then, is incredibly important. You should look for expert SEO services that will work with you to build a portfolio full of authentic back-links. Take some time to question various firms about the SEO methods they use. If their link-building strategies look something like the ones below, you can feel good about hiring them to help you:

Natural Ways to Gain Quality Links

  • Blog often – You should be active in blogging, both on your own site and by contributing “guest posts” to other blogs. Share relevant information about your industry that people care about.
  • Be active on social media – Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest rule the online world. Be active on all these social media sites, and try to build relationships rather than simply posting promotional material. Answer questions, start discussions, and post relevant links to your own and other websites. The importance of social media in search engine results is huge and will only get bigger.
  • Post highly relevant content – People love reading and sharing interesting, enriching content. Give your customers what they want with how-to videos, funny photos, infographics, guides, and posts that take a stance on issues. These are just a few examples—try to create content that people will be happy to link to.
  • Hold a contest – Get people involved with your company by offering them something that they want: a contest. Even if your business is small, you can benefit from this method of gaining links since the prize does not have to be extravagant. In addition to links, contests are a great way to gain leads—ask customers to like your Facebook page or give their email address in exchange for an entry.
  • Get involved in the industry – Find online places where people in your industry hang out and get involved. Post on forums and blogs. Ask for your information to be included in directories or as a resource for people who have questions.

These are just a few of the many ways to build authentic links. A high quality SEO firm can help you with all of these things and will additionally identify opportunities that you may not have thought of.