Link building is obtaining links from external web sites to your own sites or pages. It’s building connections between other web sites that will lead back to your page. It can also be called backlinking, inbound linking, incoming links, or inward links. They serve one main purpose; to lead people to your site from somewhere else.
What is link building? So now you know its connections, but how do you get them? Some of them you can buy at link-sharing sites. If you don’t want to pay for anything you have a couple of choices.
Articles may be time-consuming, but they keep working for a long time after they are published. Most directories are also free to submit to. This makes it great for those on a tight budget, but the best part is that articles never really go away. If you write articles over a period of time, and accumulate quite a few of them; they will keep sending traffic to your site for quite a long time.
Another free method would be to leave comments on blogs in your niche. Please be sure to leave intelligent comments that offer useful information. Put the link to you page at the end of your comment.
Some people have found that leaving comments on Yahoo Answers is another great method. You can choose to send them to an article or your page, but make sure that they can use the information before you comment.
What is link building? Think of it as setting up signs along the web that point people in your direction. There are many ways to accomplish this. Why would you want to? You are going to want the direct referrals (people clicking on your link) and the search engine ranking. The more relevant links you have to you page; the higher your search engine ranking, and higher is always better! People only scroll through the first couple pages of the results they pull up. If you are on the first page you are more likely to get people to your site instead of having them scrolling through the next couple pages looking.
These are just a couple ways for you to put into use and start your own traffic signs and get people to detour to your site instead of searching more. There are other ways you can build links; keep in mind that I only listed a couple for you.
4 Link Building Tips
Link building is an essential ingredient in ranking your website highly on the major search engines. There, now that we've got that brilliant grasp of the obvious out of the way let's move on to what you can do to actually create them. Before we launch into the nitty-gritty of link building, no beginners guide would be complete without a brief explanation as to why links are important and the different elements of them. Being a beginners guide this won't be an entirely complete list but it will be enough to get you going on the right path. Understanding what you're trying to do will help you do it better and more importantly, understanding the "why" of the situation will help you stretch your tactics outside of this and other articles on link building.
Why Are Links Important?
To put it simply: a link is a vote. Every link pointing to your site from another website tells the search engines that the other site finds your resource valuable and thus, the engines read this as a vote for your site. So it must be about getting tons of links and you're done right? Wrong. This is incorrect as ...
Not All Votes Are Created Equal
Unlike your own vote in an election, some votes are worth more than others and some votes are worth SIGNIFICANTLY more than yours (unless of course you're a content writer for the Google.com domain in which case you obviously have the top vote). The basic factors that affect a link's value to your website are:
The site strength - the strength of the site that is pointing to yours is a significant (and historically abused) factor in the valuation of links. In the absence of other easily-visible criteria let's look at PageRank as a key valuation of a site's strength. If a site with a PageRank 8 links to your site, this vote is worth significantly more than a link from a PageRank 3 site. This is because a PageRank 8 site is, in Google's eyes, a more important site than the PageRank 3 site.
Relevance - the relevance of a site linking to you is, if anything, more important than a site's strength. If you run a bed a breakfast in Utah a link from a PageRank 3 bed and breakfast will be worth more than a link from a PageRank 5 web design site. This area is a bit grey in that it relies on the engine's ability to determine what is relevant and what is not however we've seen evidence that this area is strong at this stage in the game and is only becoming more important over time.
Anchor text - the actual text used to link to your site is extremely important. I've seen extremely strong sites get beaten out by weak ones simply due to the poor use of anchor test. If you're building links to your site be sure to include your keywords in the text that links back and, if possible, the exact phrase you are trying to rank for. At the same time, you can't make all your anchor text exactly the same - how can that possibly look natural?
Position - the position of a link on a page and the number of other links on that page impacts the value of a link. A link in the footer of a page is given less weight than a link near the top, a link in the content of a page is given more weight than a link in a list of links and a link on a page with 50 other links is given less weight than a link on a page with only a few other links. If we think about it - this makes sense. All of these things indicate whether the site with the outbound links actually intends for one of their visitors to click the link or not. From an engine's perspective - the more it appears that a site wants a link to be clicked on, the higher the weight that link (or vote) is given.
Admittedly there are a number of other factors but this is a beginners guide. Following the considerations above will insure that as you make each link decision - you're odds of making the right choices will be significantly higher than if you ignore them. Ignoring them may not get you penalized or banned but it will make your task far more time consuming as you secure less valuable links and thus need to build far more than following he right methods.
So far we've covered briefly the why of link building, now let's get into the real-life, here's-how-to-do-it side of things. Below I'm going to cover three of my favorite link building tactics. These are tactics that apply to virtually every scenario. The number of ways to build links is only limited by your imagination however and this should not be viewed as a comprehensive list. This is, after all, a beginners guide and I'm trying to list the tactics that apply to virtually every scenario.
Side Note: Reciprocal Link Building
I'm not going to count this as one of my favorite and so it won't count as one of the three noted above and I'll only touch on it briefly. There have been a number of assertions that reciprocal link building is dead. This is simply not the case. I have seen and competed against sites that were very successful with reciprocal links as their primary link source.
The problem with reciprocal links isn't so much in their value which does seem to be a bit lower than non-reciprocal links however often more easily attained. No, my problem with reciprocal links is in the management. Unethical webmasters' removing links after you've put the link up to them, sites expiring and not being renewed, sites getting penalties of their own due to their bad tactics are all inconveniences the reciprocal link manager must deal with.
As an SEO company, a huge issue we faced was leaving our clients with this task after a campaign was over if they decided not to go on a maintenance package. Non-reciprocal links may be a bit harder to attain in some cases however that issue is much easier to overcome than the sum of all these issues.
And now on to the top three ...
If you're paying attention as you read this you'll probably have guessed that I'm a fan of article writing as a link building method. If you look to the "about the author" section you'll notice a link to the Beanstalk site (and if you don't, well ... let me know as somebody's stealing it without permission). While I genuinely enjoy writing and sharing my experiences with others - the purpose of getting the article distributed is primarily as a link building tactic, secondarily as a great source of qualified traffic and thirdly for my own enjoyment.
You are an expert in your field. Who knows more about your business than you? So share. Writing an article may not be easy but it is rewarding. If you can't think of a topic, think of what you get asked. If you're asked common questions repeatedly then chances are, it's a good topic for an article. I often get asked about link building, and you're reading the result.
Once the article is completed you need to get it syndicated. Using an article submission [http://www.articlesender.com/] service is a simple way to get your article out to a large number of publishers quickly. On top of this you'd do well to seek out specific sites in your field using one or all of the major search engines to find highly relevant sites that accept articles and submit to them.
And oh, don't forget an "about the author" section. 🙂
Directory submissions are likely the most painful of the link building tactics you'll employ. Why? Because it's tedious and time-consuming work. To be done right directory submissions must be done manually, the titles and descriptions must be tailored to the specifications of the directory in question and often, you'll have to decide if a review fee is worth it.
While there are a good many directories that accept free submissions there are also a large number that's require a review fee. The fee can range from a few dollars to a few hundred. If you see that a directory has a low PageRank, is general in it's nature (i.e. it isn't about your specific field) then it likely isn't worth more than a couple dollars if that. If the site is strong, and strongly related to your site then it's obviously worth more.
There is no hard-and-fast set of rules for how much a listing is worth. I'd recommend to start your hunt for directories (don't forget the topic and/or region specific ones), submit to all the free ones and make a list of all the ones that require a fee. After you've gotten a solid number in you "needs to be paid list" you can get a general idea as to what's out there and what you can get and for how much. This will enable you to make solid choices knowing what all your options are.
I just know I'm going to get a couple comments and/or emails for listing this as a link building tactic but if it's done right there's nothing wrong with it. Forum and blog posting got a bad reputation as a link building tactic when it came under huge abuse by unethical webmasters spamming forums with useless garbage just for a link. They even went so far (and still do) as sending out spiders to automatically submit posts. To this end, I have to agree that it's a bad tactic however ...
If you're seeking out forums related to your site, reading the threads and responding with solid advice or with questions and not just firing off some sales-pitch then you're doing what you're supposed to be. Another perk to this is that, like articles, if you do this right you're gong to see traffic as well and what more can you ask from a link building tactic than traffic as well as links.
Above we've covered the basics of link building. As I've noted repeatedly, once you're done reading this and applying some of what you've read you'd do well to read other articles, forums and blogs. This isn't a complete breakdown of everything link-related (that would be a full book) but it will keep you out of trouble and save you countless hours of wasted time getting poor links that haven't held value since 2003.
Link building is recognized by most webmasters as a necessity for ranking successfully in the search engines. There are several types of links and linking strategies, including one-way links, reciprocal linking and 3-way link exchanges.
The free online gaming industry has somewhat of a unique advantage when it comes to link building. The entire gaming community recognizes the need for link exchanges, and therefore, makes it relatively easy to initiate them. Most free online game websites have a links page with a quick and easy-to-fill-out form that when submitted will send a request to the webmaster of the site. Once received, the webmaster can approve or delete the request after having reviewed the applicant's website. It is common and best practice to first add the link of the website that the applicant is applying to, to their own website.
There are many arguments that reciprocal linking is ineffective and should be avoided. Reciprocal link exchanges are an exchange of links between two websites, where both sites display each others links. The free online game industry continues to thrive on these types of exchanges, as well as perusing other linking strategies.
As in all corners of the World Wide Web, there are those who wish to defraud. A few unethical webmasters have been known to exchange links with others, and then remove the links from their sites in order to achieve some short-term one-way links. Because of these fraudulent few, webmasters in the gaming community must stay vigilant and periodically check on their link partners' sites to see if their links are still active.
These unique advantages are rarely seen in other industries and niches. Although in high competition with one another, members of this community of gaming websites continue to work together to succeed in a successful market relatively unaffected by global economics.
Successful Link Building - Helpful Hints
Link building is one of the cornerstones of effective SEO. Google and other search engines give a lot of weight to links from authoritative sites as they recognize them as votes. The more links you get from authoritative sites, the higher your ranking.
Link building is usually a difficult task and you need to do it right to get ideal results. To help you out, here are tips that you need to put into consideration for you to build the right links:
Be Fun And Consistent
People don't like boring content; therefore, you should create content that has a sense of humor. When you decide to use humor, you should be consistent in your efforts. For example, you shouldn't create a humorous article today and then create a boring, corporate article tomorrow. By being consistent you will build a brand which will be of great benefit to your company.
Studies have shown that many people don't like reading; therefore, you should include as many visual aspects as possible. Some of the best visuals that you should go for are: videos, charts, and infographics.
Take Advantage Of Mentions From Reputable Brands
Have you been mentioned by reputable brands, but they haven't linked back to you? You should contact the brands and ask them for attribution. If you don't know the brands that have mentioned you, there are many online tools that you can use to help you with that. You can also do a random Google search and you will identify a number of mentions.
Take A Look At Your Competitors
You will definitely have competitors that are better than you. You should survey them and find out the sites that they are getting their links from. As rule of thumb you should follow their link building strategies as they are most definitely doing the right things.
Do Guest Blogging
Guest blogging is when you submit a blog post to another site, other than yours. This is a great way to build links, but you need to do it wisely. To increase your ranking, you should ensure that the site you are submitting the blog post to is reputable. You should also ensure that the site is within your niche.
Link building is a very effective in increasing your search results ranking when done right. To protect your site from getting penalized you should avoid bad link building strategies such as spamming.