You’ve optimized your web site, you have great content, but you’re still not getting a lot of traffic? The key could be linking, or more specifically, the number of other websites that link to yours.
While linking is not considered the most important technique in search engine optimization (SEO), it is quite important, especially to Google, the #1 search engine. Google uses the number and importance of inbound links to determine PageRank which partially determines how high a website is listed in their search results. But it is not only Google which considers links important; all other search engine spiders travel along links to search and index web pages, so we can assume links are important to all search engines and essential to Google rankings.
Effective linking strategies take time to develop, but the time spent developing links to your site could very well be the most profitable time you could spend to increase traffic to your site.
Not only is the number of links important, but you must pay attention to the quality of sites which have links to yours. Your site is given a higher ranking if the site that links to yours is also a highly ranked site which offers rich and relevant content. However, just linking for the sake of SEO can lead to a site being penalized by the major search engines. The sites that link to yours must be related sites. This shows the search engine that you want to provide the online public more information and that you are really offering value. This makes the practice of contracting linking to companies that guarantee you links dangerous, as you are not aware of their linking methods (perhaps they just link all comers together) and a mistake could cause you to be banned from a search engine.
So how do you go about the business of getting the right links pointing to your site? There are a variety of ways to do this.
This is the favorite of a lot of web sites. Articles relating to the content of your site should be written clearly and concisely. You should focus on providing information that is relevant to someone who is interested in getting information on that field. It could be in the form of current news about that sector. For example, a real estate site might offer articles about trends in real estate or it could simply be an article that answers frequently asked questions in the field. Be sure to mention your website in your article.
And how do you get these articles out? You submit them to article directories. These are large repositories of articles. Webmasters come to pick up content for their sites from these directories. Examples include www.ezine.com and www.articledashboard.com as well as others. You will not be paid for your labor, but for every site that picks up your article, that is one positive vote on the Google PageRank algorithm.
This is probably the hardest part of link building, since it involves finding a relatively high ranking site, convincing them to link to yours, and usually linking back to their site in return. The latter is easy, since the Internet allows you to link to other people’s sites without permission. Getting a high ranking site to link to your site, however, is a challenge.
The first step is to find the most suitable sites. Sometimes the best candidates will be your direct competitors, believe it or not. You can expect them to be hesitant to place a link to your site (then again, who knows?), but you must still ask. There will probably be a firstname.lastname@example.org you can contact. When requesting reciprocal linkage, you should provide your site’s URL and description (not too verbose), stating how such a link will benefit their visitors, and consequently, their website’s PageRank and profitability. Other candidates for reciprocal linking are your suppliers, customers, other related businesses, trade associations and discussion groups.
This stage cannot be rushed. You cannot aggressively pressure another site with a request for a reciprocal link. Be polite and subtle and of course, be honest. If you are reciprocal linking with your direct competitors, don’t cheat; place their links on your page.
Another way of ensuring that a large number of sites have links pointing to your site is to write e-books and offer them for free, while giving the web sites that pick them up the option of selling them to their audience or giving them away also. The browsing public love freebies, so this is an excellent way of ensuring that a large amount of websites have your e books (anything from six to sixty pages) with loads of links back to your site.
Offering others a chance to make money if they join your web site’s affiliate program (if you are offering a product for sale online) will also ensure a large number of websites provide a link to your site, all of them doing the initial pre-selling that is so essential to the sales process. Other linking strategies include submitting your website to directories and advertising on sites through link buying on their sites or on web journals. Press releases are also excellent ways of getting news sites to link to your website.
Content, Content, Content
Remember that content is king. All your efforts are moot if your content cannot keep the searchers once they get to your site. Without good content, no webmaster worth his salt will link to you, so you must offer informative content and a website which truly helps the browsing audience. Good content will ensure the success of your site. The value you deliver with quality content will give you great free PR: word of mouth endorsement on forums, articles and e-zines, in short, “cyber buzz.”