How to Get Good Links
Not surprisingly, getting good-quality links to your site is more difficult than optimizing your content with keywords. Often, you cant control if, how, or when another site links to yours. And it takes time. You cant expect to get dozens of quality links overnight. You can buy links, but Google and other search engines frown upon such black-hat tactics. And in extreme cases, the practice can actually cause search engines to penalize your site.
Nonetheless, there are white-hat strategies to follow to get links to your pages. Here are some techniques to try.
Create link bait. Write informative, useful, provocative, newsworthy or otherwise viral Web content and get the word out about it (more on that topic in a minute). Once other people discover and appreciate your content, theyre likely to post links to it on their own sites.
But dont make your content overly sales-y. Eighty percent of searches are done by people looking for information, rather than looking to buy, says McGee. A really useful page offering recommendations about how to use an acne treatment will more likely get linked to than a page that simply sells the treatment, he explains.
Include links to relevant pages on your social media updates. Once youve created that fabulous content, spread the word on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, FriendFeed or other social network and include a link to the content. Sites such as Ping.fm allow you to post to multiple social networks simultaneously and will automatically shorten URLs for you.
Write and distribute press releases. If youve got news to share about your company, write a puff-free press release and include a keyword-rich anchor text link to a relevant page on your site. You can submit your release to PR sites, such as PRLog and PRWeb, for free or a fee (depending upon the site).
The release will be posted to the PR site, so youll now have a link from that site to yours. News organizations, bloggers and others may post your news on their sites with the link or, even better, interview you for an online article.
Suggest the anchor text. If a blogger or someone in the media writes about your company, give them the URL of an appropriate landing page on your site as a link. Suggest the anchor text for the link too; use a keyword you want to rank highly for in search engine queries. They might ignore your request, but it never hurts to ask.
Link to others as youd have them link to you. If you link to sites in a positive way, those sites are likely to return the favor. Contact people you know with Web sites and discuss how you might legitimately link to one another. In other words, be generous with links yourself and use old-fashioned networking skills to build links to your site.
Do competitive link-building. Do your competitors have more links than you? If so, its time to try some competitive link building, Fishkin suggests.
Heres how: Perform a search in Google, Yahoo or other search engine using a keyword or phrase for which youd like to rank highly. Examine the first page of search results. From among those results, copy a URL of a competitors Web page.
Next, go to Yahoo Site Explorer. Paste that URL into the blank search field at the top of the browser page and click the Explore URL button. Under Results, click the Inlinks tab to get a list of external Web pages that link to the URL you pasted.
In effect, youll then have a road map of external pages that link to your competitors Web page. Armed with that information, you can contact the Webmasters of those pages. Tell them about your site, explaining why it may be of importance to their readers. Ask the Webmaster to add a link to your site, too. This can be time-consuming, so pick and choose the sites to pursue carefully.
Submit your site to one or more directories. For free or a fee, you can get your site listed, with a link, in one or more online directories, such as DMOZ, Yahoo Directory, Business.com and Yellowpages.com. CitySearch and Yelp can also provide SEO-boosting links to your site. Consider submitting your site to your local Better Business Bureau and Chamber of Commerce directories, too. Look for directories particular to your business or industry as well.
Organize and sponsor events. Youll increase the chances that bloggers, Facebookers, tweeters and others reporting on those events will link to your site.
Leaving blog comments might or might not help. Many Web sites and blogs have dedicated areas where visitors can leave comments with embedded links. Some believe this is an effective way to get external links to their sites and, hence, boost their search result rankings.
The truth is, many spammers use this technique. The result: Most search engines place less trust in these links than in links contained within genuine editorial endorsements.
However, regularly leaving comments can be a great way to get on a bloggers radar, says McGee. The blogger may end up writing about you and include a link to a relevant page on your site.
Its All About Attracting Customers
Ultimately, your goal should be to acquire lots of keyword-rich links to relevant pages on your site from sites that are trusted, popular and authoritative. Its not easy, and it wont happen quickly. But when combined with your keyword SEO efforts, you can boost your sites ranking in search results. And thats an important step toward attracting potential new customers online.
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