Building effective links is one of the most time consuming and challenging aspects of web site design. Ultimately, link building can spell the difference between a high search engine ranking web page and one that disappears in a sea of similar web sites, so it is best to take the time to do it right.
Search engine algorithms are changed often on Google and other popular search engines. Following algorithm changes are often left to the professionals, however effective linking continues to be the most decisive factor in search engine optimization and will likely be for several years more.
Links as the name implies, are the most basic connectors to all the pages on the Internet and is the easiest way for a given application to gauge the relevance and integrity of a web page.
People love lists; find a way to integrate a list into your site. This can be anything from a list of tips or things to avoid or a list suggested reading, for example. Lists give the impression of being a definitive source of information and many people will want to link to them.
Often people will link to a site if they feel that it is an authority on a given subject; they will then feel confident about recommending that site to other people. That is what link building is all about after all, a sort of digital referral or stamp of approval. Every web site should strive to have reliable and well-researched content. Try to keep content informative and simple to read; if no one can understand what your web site says they probably won’t want to link to it! Check your text for spelling or grammatical errors; a web site riddled with incorrect spelling and poor sentence construction doesn’t seem very professional or authoritative.
Online news sites are a good way to establish links. Some of the things you can do are: submit an article for online publication or syndicate an article with a news site. Reputable sites usually enjoy a high search engine rank for their articles and receive plenty of traffic. You may also send press releases or trade articles with other sites…or even write an article about another site and ask then to link back to your site; most will be happy to repay the favor.
Establish contacts with the Better Business Bureau or the Chamber of Commerce in your area or the relevant city and state government offices. You may even look around closer to home by submitting your link to the local library or exchanging links with local businesses in your area; even non-competing businesses in the same field.
Submit your site to directories that allow free submissions such as DMOZ or even paid directories. You can even take this a step further by creating your own directory of similar web sites. You can obviously link to your own site here and even include other important pages in addition to the home page. Quality listings are important here so if it is a useful directory to the most number of people, it will easily attract links.
You may want to post a link to your site in classifieds sites such as Craigslist or if you belong to user groups like Yahoo and Google groups it is often acceptable to post links to your site if you are asking or answering a question. Just make sure it is in the context of the discussion, as most people do NOT to be spammed.
Comments and reviews are also great ways to attract people to link back to your site. If you have a reputable looking site with informative, well-written reviews, there’s a good chance that the articles will receive high search engine rankings. Try to keep your reviews on-topic, informative and thorough, and be specific whenever possible.
Blogging has become an integral part of the Internet and is one of the most effective means of linking; you can either drop a few words of comment on someone’s blog or link to them from your own blog. Most blogs will be happy to link back to you. Try to update your blog regularly and post interesting content so people will want to link to you.
If your budget permits, explore the possibility of hiring a professional web-linking publicist (yes they do exist!) or consultant for your web site. If you choose carefully this will free you up to take care of other areas of your web site and leave the details of link building to the experts.
Those are a few things to do to create good links, what about things you should avoid? These methods will actually hurt your visibility on the web as it may cause search engines to ban your site or ignore it altogether!
Do not spam forums! Nobody likes a spammer and can usually tell if someone joins a discussion forum for the sole purpose of self-promotion. A sure way to annoy people is to post a non-relevant reply to a question and then include a link…or worse not even answer the question at all!
Choose carefully when submitting your site to directory services; a poor one won’t help increase your traffic at all and may carry out-of-date or off topic links.
When asking someone to link to your site, make sure that there is a good reason why he should; maybe your site is similar to his own in subject matter or your site showcases him, his products or his web site in a favorable light.
Take the time to compose a polite, well written personal request for linking. It doesn’t have to be long but the important thing is to make it seem like a genuine request as opposed to an impersonal, automated email. Do not pester a Webmaster with several, persistent emails; it is annoying and will not likely help your cause any. If you don’t get a reply, move on.