|Link building is about networking and relationships. It can be hard work and, yes, sometimes you have to give a little.|
The process of building links can be one of the most difficult, time consuming parts of SEO. Getting links from the wrong sites can be worse than having no backlinks at all. The core of what you want to do is get links to your site using your keywords from respected, related sites. In the eyes of the search engines, your site will then appear to be a respected authority site for that theme or topic.
Ranking in the search engines is based in part on link analysis of a site. Here are a few tips that might help your link building campaign’s results in that analysis.
1. Quality content attracts good links. Provide good, up to date, topical content that naturally includes your keywords and you’ll get backlinks. A blog, of course, is great for this (See S E O 101 – Blogs & Feed Optimization).
2. Pay attention to link anchor text and surrounding text. Having your keywords in the link is extrememly important and powerful as link building goes. But, the search engines also pay attention to the text surrounding the link. The surrounding text gives the search engine an idea of what the page is about.
3. Search for linking partners. Run searches for your keyword phrase and see who is linking to who for possible linking opportunities.
4. Go easy on reciprocal links. These are OK as long as you don’t over do it. Be sure any reciprocal links are from theme related, quality sites.
5. Search for verticals. Here’s a simple way to find possible places to submit your site as a listing to other sites and directories. Run a seach for:
“submit your site” +”your keyword phrase”
Naturally, replace “your keyword phrase” with what you are looking for like “blue widgets” or whatever.
What you will get is a search results page filled with submission possibilities. Unfortunately, many will require a reciprocal link back, so reread tip #4 above.
6. Jump start your link building with directories. Again, you don’t want to overdo this. Directories aren’t the backlink bank that they used to be, but submitting to a few trusted directories can get you off to a good start.
7. Ezine and newsletter article submission. Find related ezines and newsletters and offer to write articles in exchange for links within the content. Frequently these will be archived on the web, so the backlinks will remain even after the fact.
8. Affiliate links. If your affiliate links are not redirected, you might get some backlink juice. Encourage your affiliates to start their own link building and you’ll benefit from it. Beware of too many redirected affiliate links like those from Commission Junction, though. An affiliate link from a redirect can potentially deplete the power of existing direct links.
9. Do be selective about who links to you. Although you have limited ability to control links pointing at you, you can decline link requests from sites that you don’t think are appropriate. Backlinks from non-related sites or “bad neighborhoods” can do your reputation damage.
10. Don’t try to fake it. Those 50 domains you bought in 1998 with dummy content all linking back to your main site might have made you #1 last decade, but now they can get you booted from the rankings altogether. The “mini-net” is dead.
11. Negotiate your existing links. Inventory your backlinks and see what keywords are used. For any that need to be changed, contact the site owner and ask them to link to you with the approriate anchor text.
12. Get links from a variety of sources. Don’t rely on just directories, press releases, social sites or blogs.
13. Look for local links. Local is so … near. Local links like chambers of commerce are great authority links.
Building links is all about relationships. It’s just a form of networking that requires personal contact, negotiation and sometimes, pure luck.
This article is intended as a companion piece to S E O 101 and will be updated periodically.
See the entire S E O 101 series.
I go into more detail in my S E O 101 workshop, offered to web site owners and small businesses. Check my blog at http://www.weboptimist.com for more information or contact me to set up a custom workshop for your business group of five or more people in the Palm Springs area of Southern California. Travel is possible for large groups.