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
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.