7 Things Every Webmaster Should Know About Links

Link building in a nutshell, is the process of getting other web sites and web pages to link to your web site. These links will not only drive direct targeted traffic to your pages; but more importantly will increase your overall search engine visibility and rankings. Building a solid incoming linking structure for your site is one of the most effective techniques used by search engine optimization professionals to improve your search engine rankings and boost the overall amount of traffic any given web page receives. However the process of building incoming links to your site can be a daunting and tedious task when just getting started. The purpose of this essay is to outline the importance of building a strong linking profile for your site as well as offer a handful of key strategies that any webmaster regardless of marketing budget can employ to climb to the top of the search engine ladder.

Link building in a nutshell, is the process of getting other web sites and web pages to link to your web site. These links will not only drive direct targeted traffic to your pages; but more importantly will increase your overall search engine visibility and rankings. Building a solid incoming linking structure for your site is one of the most effective techniques used by search engine optimization professionals to improve your search engine rankings and boost the overall amount of traffic any given web page receives. However the process of building incoming links to your site can be a daunting and tedious task when just getting started. The purpose of this essay is to outline the importance of building a strong linking profile for your site as well as offer a handful of key strategies that any webmaster regardless of marketing budget can employ to climb to the top of the search engine ladder.

» 1.) Purchasing Links & Sponsored Reviews

Paying other web masters to place a link on their site back to yours is probably the easiest and most straight forward way to generate links to your site. However the down-side of purchasing or renting links from other web masters is that it can become a very expensive venture, not to mention you need to pick and choose your potential candidates vary carefully. There are many services out there to help connect you with other web masters that are interested in selling links from their web pages, however you will save yourself a lot of time, and money by working directly with other web masters as apposed to paying a middle man to act as a link broker. Unfortunately there is no set standard on determining what any given link is worth: however you should pay careful attention to a few key factors before cracking open your wallet and spending your hard earned money on a paid link. These things include but are not limited to the number of incoming links the candidate site itself has, it’s overall page rank, the age of the site and finally the search engine saturation (number of pages indexed in the major search engines) of the site. When approaching a web master to purchase links from make your goals as clear as day – and ensure that he or she knows you’re interested in purchasing a link for Search Engine Optimization reasons. You need to ensure the link will not be cloaked (hidden from search engine spiders) or nofollowed (marked to inform search engines not to follow the link with the rel=”nofollow” attribute) as either of these conditions will make the link relatively worthless from an SEO stand point.

» 2.) Comment and Post on Related Blogs & Message Boards

Even a web novice can find a litany of blogs and message boards for any given niche or market to post comments and feed back . I strongly encourage you to register on message boards related to your topic or subject and include links within the signature of your posts and messages. The same goes for blogs and commenting. There are many blogs that will allow you to include a link back to your site either within the content of your message, or make your user name a clickable link back to your site. However there is a fine line between spamming and offering valid comments, posts and responses to community based web sites and blogs. Making obvious spam posts such as “Cool site, check my site out at …” will likely get your IP address banned from the web site or network, and can negatively impact the reputation of your brand or web site. If you don’t have a valuable view point, or comment to offer other readers of the site you’re posting on, you’re better off not commenting at all.

» 3.) Write User Testimonials & Product Reviews

Writing user reviews or testimonials is an under appreciated technique to create a wealth of back links to your site. Most often when you write a review for a product or service you’ve had success with, the web master will include a link back to your site in the signature of the review. This technique is simple and straight forward; if you’ve purchased a product or service write up a short 100 – 300 word review for the product outlining it’s strengths and your positive experiences and include your full name, and web site address in the signature of the review. Nine out of ten times the web master of the site you’ve written the testimonial for will be more than happy to include and activate the link when they post the review onto their website.

» 4.) Develop a Free Online Service or Software Application

Most people wouldn’t even consider spending their valuable time developing an application or online utility to give away for free. However the benefits of creating and distributing a free online utility or software application can create several 1,000 back links to your site very quickly. A perfect example of this is creating a small, easy to use Mortgage Calculator with javascript and offer the code to embed the Mortgage Calculator onto other web pages. Include a link back to your site within the coding of the Mortgage Calculator perhaps in a copyright statement at the bottom of the application and require the link as a condition for using your free application.

» 5.) Write Articles and Distribute Them Online

Assuming this isn’t the first essay you’ve read on improving the amount of links to your web site, you should be well aware that writing articles and submitting your articles to the popular article directories is a fantastic way to generate many back links to your web site. The premise is simple yet effective; Write a handful of articles geared toward your topic and subject matter and distribute them to the many article directories on the Internet. Often times when your article is posted on these article directory sites they will include an authors bio, or resource box. Within the authors bio area you want to include a little information about your company or product(s) as well as a link back to your site. Whenever your article is picked up by other web masters or syndicated across other popular web sites you will receive a free one way link back to your site. Repeat these steps over and over to build several 1,000 links back to your web site. This is an amazing technique as your only investment is a little time to write and submit an article.

» 6.) Submit Your Site to Directories

Over the past few years links from directories or web indexes has become less and less valuable. However there are still a handful of well trusted and high quality directories that you should consider submitting your site to. This will boost both your linking profile, as well as your page and trust rank. Some of the most notable directories to submit your web site to in no particular order are DMOZ, The Yahoo! Business Directory, JoeAnt, Gimpsy, GoGuides, Linkopedia and Uncoverthenet. Though most of the directories l’ve mentioned here are not free to submit to, the cost of submission is well worth the price as the links you’ll receive from this investment are quality one-way links that carry a good amount of page trust and rank. When submitting your site to any of these directories, pay special attention to the category you are submitting your web address to, make sure that you are submitting your site to the most relevant, and related topic to the subject of your own web site. As this will ensure that you’re submission is not denied, or skipped by the directory editors once it gets reviewed.

» 7.) Exchange Links and Build Partnerships

Link exchanges or trading links with other web masters is another technique that has lost a little of it’s gusto over the years, however this method of generating back links does still hold a bit of value and should not be overlooked. Many webmasters dedicate a page of their site titled references or resources and use this page to link out to other web pages that have agreed to link back to their site. As mentioned above this technique is not as effective as it once was; however picking and choosing web sites that are well trusted and ranked by the search engines and that are related to the topic and subject mater of your own site promise to be well worth the effort. Finding other web sites that are prime candidates to exchange links with are those that are linking out to other relevant sites in your field or niche. Once you’ve found a web site that you’d be interested in swapping links with, contact the web master via email with your offer. When soliciting another web master for a link you want to write a personal email message and refer to specific content and aspects of his or her web site. Doing so will show the prospective linking partner that you’ve actually taken the time to give their site the once over before sending your solicitation; as a result you will be far more likely to receive a positive reply. As with purchasing paid links you want to ensure that the site you are requesting to exchange links with doesn’t end up cloaking it’s outbound links (hidden from search engine spiders) or nofollowed (marked to inform search engines not to follow the link with the rel=”nofollow” attribute) as either of these conditions will make your link relatively worthless from an SEO stand point.

In this article we’ve discussed 7 of the most effective, and commonly used methods to generate a massive amount of incoming links to your web site. With any luck, after reading this article you should have a handful of ideas and techniques in your tool box that you can employ to kick-start your web site’s model for success. Building links to your web site is by no means a ‘set-it and forget-it’ facet of web marketing and requires time, dedication and ongoing analysis. You can never have too many quality incoming links to your site and once you’ve had a small taste of success with link building I’m confident you’ll be hungry for more.

101 Ways to Build Link Popularity

Link Building… Time-intensive. Frustrating. Sometimes confusing. Yet
Unavoidable. Because ultimately, it’s still the trump card for higher rankings.

Many of us have been hoping that it would go away. In Brett Tabke’s 5/18 Robots.txt entry, he echoed
a sentiment that many, many webmasters hold on to as a hope:

What happens to all those Wavers that think [i]Getting Links =
SEO[/i] when that majority of the Google algo is devalued in various ways?
Wavers built their fortunes on “links=seo”. When that goes away, the Wavers have
zero to hold on to.

The pertinent questions:

  1. Will link building still be very important for rankings in the medium term?
  2. When will link popularity be devalued in favor of other algo elements (that
    are less tedious, from a webmaster’s point of view)?

The answers:

  1. Sorry, but link building is still going to be the SEO trump card for the
    foreseeable future.
  2. I wouldn’t hold your breath for search engine algorithms to place less
    importance on link popularity until the Semantic Web arrives, or maybe when HTTP
    gets replaced by a new protocol. Because links are still the basic connector,
    the basic relationship, on the Web. And for the forseeable future they’re going
    to be the easiest way for a computer program to judge the importance and
    trustworthiness of a Web page.

What will happen to the way search algorithms score links is already
happening. The Google algo has become much more elegant and advanced, devaluing
staggering amount of links that shouldn’t count, and placing more
emphasis on trusted links. And the trust and juice given by those links
is then verified by elements like user data, domain age, and other
relatively hard-to-spoof factors.

But please, don’t fool yourself. Links that should count are still
the key to rankings (in Google, at least — and MSN and Yahoo! are only a few
short years behind). In that spirit, Aaron and I have created our 101 Ways to Build (and
Not Build) Links. (Yeah, it just so happened that there were exactly 101!)

Oh, and mad props to our inspiration, 131
Legitimate Link Building Strategies, one of the original authority documents
on link building. It was just getting a bit rusty, that’s all (“Host your own
Web Ring”?). Anyway, enjoy the update.

71 Good Ways to Build Links

Love for Lists

1. Build a “101 list”. These get Dugg all the time, and often become
“authority documents”. People can’t resist linking to these (hint, hint).

2. Create 10 easy tips to help you [insert topic here] articles.
Again, these are exceptionally easy to link to.

3. Create extensive resource lists for a specific topic (see Mr Ploppy for
inspiration).

4. Create a list of the top 10 myths for a specific category.

5. Create a list of gurus/experts. If you impress the people listed well
enough, or find a way to make your project look somewhat official, the gurus may
end up linking to your site or saying thanks. (Sometimes flattery is the easiest
way to strike up a good relationship with an “authority”.)

Developing Authority & Being Easy to Link At

6. Make your content easy to understand so many people can understand and
spread your message. (It’s an accessibility thing.)

7. Put some effort in to minimize grammatical or spelling errors, especially
if you need authoritative people like librarians to link to your site.

8. Have an easily accessible privacy policy and about section so your site
seems more trustworthy. Including a picture of yourself may also help build your
authority.

PPC as a Link Building Tool

9. Buy relevant traffic with a pay per click campaign. Relevant traffic will
get your site more visitors and brand exposure. When people come to your site,
regardless of the channel in which they found it, there is a possibility that
they will link to you.

News & Syndication

10. Syndicate an article at EzineArticles, GoArticles, iSnare, etc. The great thing about good
article sites is that their article pages actually rank highly and send highly
qualified traffic.

11. Submit an article to industry news site. Have an SEO site? Write an
article and submit to WebProNews. Have a site about BLANK? Submit to
BLANKinformationalsite.com.

12. Syndicate a press release. Take the time to make it GOOD
(compelling, newsworthy). Email it to some handpicked journalists and
bloggers. Personalize the email message. For good measure, submit it to PRWeb, PRLeap, etc.

13. Track who picks up your articles or press releases. Offer them exclusive
news or content.

14. Trade articles with other webmasters.

15. Email a few friends when you have important relevant news asking them for
their feedback and/or if they would mind referencing it if they find your
information useful.

16. Write about, and link to, companies with “in the news” pages. They link
back to stories and blog posts which cover their developments. This is obviously
easiest if you have a news section or blog. Do a Google search for [your
industry + “in the news”].

17. Perform surveys and studies that make people feel important. If you can
make other people feel important they will help do your marketing for you for
free. Salary.com did a study on how underpaid mothers were, and they got many
high quality links.

Directories, Meme Trackers & Social Bookmarking

18. This tip is an oldie but goodie: submit your site to DMOZ and other directories that allow free
submissions.

19. Submit your site to paid directories. Another oldie. Just remember that
quality
matters.

20. Create your own topical directory about your field of interest. Obviously
link to your own site, deeplinking to important content where possible. Of
course, if you make it into a truly useful resource, it will attract links on
its own.

21. Tag related sites on sites like Del.icio.us. If people find the sites you tag to
be interesting, emotionally engaging, or timely they may follow the trail back
to your site.

22. If you create something that is of great quality make sure you ask a few
friends to tag it for you. If your site gets on the front page of Digg or on the Del.icio.us popular list, hundreds more
bloggers will see your site, and potentially link to it.

23. Look at meme trackers to see what ideas are spreading. If you write about
popular spreading ideas with plenty of original content (and link to some of the
original resources), your site may get listed as a source on the meme tracker
site.

Local & Business Links

24. Join the Better Business Bureau.

25. Get a link from your local chamber of commerce.

26. Submit your link to relevant city and state governmental resources.
(Easier in some countries than in others.)

27. List your site at the local library’s Web site.

28. See if your manufacturers or retailers or other business partners might
be willing to link to your site.

29. Develop business relationships with non-competing businesses in the same
field. Leverage these relationships online and off, by recommending each other
via links and distributing each other’s business cards.

30. Launch an affiliate program. Most of the links you pick up will not have
SEO value, but the added exposure will almost always lead to additional “normal”
links.

Easy Free Links

31. Depending on your category and offer, you will find Craigslist to be a cheap or free
classified service.

32. It is pretty easy to ask or answer questions on Yahoo! Answers and provide links to
relevant resources.

33. It is pretty easy to ask or answer questions on Google Groups and provide links to relevant
resources.

34. If you run a fairly reputable company, create a page about it in the Wikipedia or in topic specific wikis. If it
is hard to list your site directly, try to add links to other pages that link to
your site.

35. It takes about 15 minutes to set up a topical Squidoo page, which you can use to look like
an industry expert. Link to expert documents and popular useful tools in your
fields, and also create a link back to your site.

36. Submit a story to Digg that links to an
article on your site. You can also submit other content and have some of its
link authority flow back to your profile page.

37. If you publish an RSS feed and your content is useful and regularly
updated, some people will syndicate your RSS content (and some of those will
provide links… unfortunately, some will not).

38. Most forums allow members to leave signature links or personal profile
links. If you make quality contributions some people will follow these links and
potentially read your site, link at your site, and/or buy your products.

Have a Big Heart for Reviews

39. Most brands are not well established online, so if your site has much
authority, your review related content often ranks well.

40. Review relevant products on Amazon.com. We have seen this draw in direct
customer enquiries and secondary links.

41. Create product lists on Amazon.com
that review top products and also mention your background (LINK!).

42. Review related sites on Alexa to draw
in related traffic streams.

43. Review products and services on shopping search engines like ePinions to help build your authority.

44. If you buy a product or service you really like and are good at leaving
testimonials, many of those turn into links. Two testimonial writing tips — make
them believable, and be specific where possible.

Blogs & the Blogosphere

45. Start a blog. Not just for the sake of having one. Post
regularly and post great content. Good execution is what gets the links.

46. Link to other blogs from your blog. Outbound links are one of the
cheapest forms of marketing available. Many bloggers also track who is linking
to them or where their traffic comes from, so linking to them is an easy way to
get noticed by some of them.

47. Comment on other blogs. Most of these comments will not provide much
direct search engine value, but if your comments are useful, insightful, and
relevant they can drive direct traffic. They also help make the other bloggers
become aware of you, and they may start reading your blog and/or linking to it.

48. Technorati tag pages rank well
in Yahoo! and MSN, and to a lesser extent in Google. Even if your blog is fairly
new you can have your posts featured on the Technorati tag pages by tagging your posts
with relevant tags.

49. If you create a blog make sure you list it in a few of the best blog directories.

Design as a Linking Element

50. Web 2.0-ify your site. People love to link to anything with AJAX. Even in
the narrowest of niches, there is some kind of useful functionality you can
build with AJAX.

51. Validate and 508 your site. This (indirect) method makes your site more
trustworthy and linkable, especially from governmental sites or design-oriented
communities. There are even a few authoritative directories of
standards-compliant sites.

52. Order a beautiful CSS redesign. A nice design can get links from sites
like CSS Vault.

Hire Help

53. Hire a publicist. Good old fashioned ‘PR’ (not PageRank) can still work
wonders. Andy Hagans now offers a link baiting publicity
service.

54. Hire a consultant. Yes, you can outsource link building. Just make sure
to go with someone good. We recommend WeBuildPages, Debra Mastaler and, ahem, Andy Hagans.

Link Trading

55. Swap some links. What?! Did we really just recommend reciprocal link
building? Yes, on a small scale, and with relevant partners that will
send you traffic. Stay away from the link trading hubs and networks.

56. In case you didn’t get the memo — when swapping links, try to get links
from within
the content of relevant content pages. Do not try to get links from pages
that list hundreds of off topic link partners. Only seek link exchanges that you
would consider pursuing even if search engines did not exist. Instead of
thinking just about your topic when exchanging links, think about demographic
audience sets.

Buying Sites, Renting Links & Advertisements

57. Rent some high quality links from a broker. Text Link Ads is the most reputable firm
in this niche.

58. Rent some high quality links directly from Web sites. Sometimes the most
powerful rented links come direct
from sites not actively renting links.

59. Become a sponsor. All sorts of charities, contests, and conferences link
to their sponsors. This can be a great way to gain visibility, links, and a warm
feeling in your heart.

60. Sell items on eBay and offer to donate
the profits to a charity. Many charities will link both to the eBay auction and
to your site.

61. Many search algorithms seem biased toward older established sites. It may
be faster to buy an old site with a strong link profile, and link it to your own
site, than to try to start building authority links from scratch.

Use the Courts (Proceed with Caution)

62. Sue
Google.

63. Get sued by a company people hate. When Aaron was sued by Traffic Power,
he got hundreds or thousands of links, including links from sites like Wired and The Wall Street Journal.

Freebies & Giveaways

64. Hold a contest. Contests make great link bait. A few-hundred-dollar prize
can result in thousands of dollars worth of editorial quality links. Enough
said.

65. Build a tool collection. Original and useful tools (and collections of
tools) get a lot of link love. What do you think ranking for mortgage calculator is worth?

66. Create and release open source site design templates for content
management systems like WordPress. Don’t forget the “Designed by example.com”
bit in the footer!

67. Offer free samples in exchange for feedback.

68. Release a Firefox extension. Make sure you have a download and/or support
page on your site which people can link to.

Conferences & Social Interaction

69. It is easy to take pictures of important events and tell narratives about
why they are important. Pictures of (drunk?) “celebrities” in your industry make
great link bait.

70. Leverage new real world relationships into linking relationships. If you
go to SEO related conferences, people like Tim Mayer, Matt Cutts, and Danny
Sullivan are readily accessible. Similarly, in other industries, people who
would normally seem inaccessible are exceptionally accessible at trade
conferences. It is much easier to seem “real” in person. Once you create social
relationships in person, it is easy to extend that onto the web.

71. Engaging, useful, and interesting interviews are an easy way to create
original content. And they spread like wildfire.

30 Bad Ways to Build Links

Here are a few link buiding methods that may destroy your brand or get your
site banned/penalized/filtered from major search engines, or both.

Directories

72. Submit your site to 200 cheesy paid directories (averaging $15 a pop)
that send zero traffic and sell offtopic run-of-site links.

Forum Spam

73. List 100 Web sites in your signature file.

74. Exclusively post only when you can add links to your sites in the post
area.

75. Post nothing but “me too” posts to build your post count. Use in
combination with a link-rich signature file.

76. Ask questions about who provides the best [WIDGET], where [WIDGET] is an
item that you sell. From the same IP address create another forum account and
answer your own question raving about how great your own site is.

77. As a new member to various forums, ask the same question at 20 different
forums on the same day.

78. Post on forum threads that are years outdated exclusively to link to your
semi-related website.

79. Sign up for profiles on forums you never intend on commenting on.

Blog Spam

80. Instead of signing blog comments with your real name, sign them with
spammy keywords.

81. Start marketing your own site hard on your first blog comment. Add no
value to the comment section. Mention nothing other than you recently posted on
the same subject at _____ and everyone should read it. Carpet bomb dozens of
blogs with this message.

82. Say nothing unique or relevant to the post at hand. Make them assume an
automated bot hit their comments.

83. Better yet, use automated bots to hit their comments. List at least 30
links in each post. Try to see if you can hit any servers hard enough to make
them crash.

84. Send pings to everyone talking about a subject. In your aggregation post,
state nothing of interest. Only state that other people are talking about the
topic.

85. Don’t even link to any of the sites you are pinging. Send them pings from
posts that do not even reference them.

Garbage Link Exchanges

86. Send out link exchange requests mentioning PageRank.

87. Send link exchange emails which look like an automated bot sent them
(little or no customization, no personal names, etc.).

88. Send link exchange requests to Matt Cutts, Tim Mayer, Tim Converse,
Google, and Yahoo!.

89. Get links from nearly-hidden sections of websites listing hundreds or
thousands of off topic sites.

Spam People in Person

90. Go to webmaster conferences and rave about how rich you are, and how your
affiliates make millions doing nothing.

91. Instead of asking people what their name is, ask what their URL is. As
soon as you get their URL ask if they have linked to your site yet and if not,
why not.

Be Persistant

92. Send a webmaster an alert to every post you make on your website.

93. Send a webmaster an email every single day asking for them to link to
your website.

94. Send references to your site to the same webmaster from dozens of
different email accounts (you sly dog).

95. If the above do not work to get you a free link, offer them $1 for their
time. Increase your offer by a dollar each day until they give in.

Getting Links by Being a Jerk

96. Emulate the RIAA. When in doubt, file a lawsuit against a 12-year-old
girl. (Failing that, obtain bad press by any means necessary.)

97. Steal content published by well known names. Strip out any attribution.
Aggregate many popular channels and just wait for them to start talking about
you.

98. Send thousands of fake referrals at every top ranking Web site,
guaranteeing larger boobs, a 14-inch penis (is that length or girth?), or
millions of dollars in free, unclaimed money.

99. Wear your URL on your t-shirt. Walk or drive your car while talking on a
cell phone or reading a book. When you run into other people say “excuse you,
jerk”.

100. Spill coffee on people or find creative ways to insult people to coax
them into linking at your site.

101. Sue other webmasters for deep
linking to your site. Well, this is more “hilariously dumb” than it is a
“bad linking practice”.

You have more idea? Go visit www.hnzzz.net/forum share your idea.