Having links to your site can make a big difference in whether or not you succeed. Not only do search engines like seeing good quality links pointing to your site; so do users.
It’s important to note that distinction… good links. Not junk.
Good links come from relevant reputable sources. They not only attract search engine spiders, but real visitors as well. They should be a part of your marketing strategy.
Some links are harder to come by than others, of course. Others turn out to not be such a good idea. Google went after paid links hard earlier this year, much to the dismay of many a webmaster. While you cannot be sure that a particular source will always be reputable to all search engines, thinking about how and why you are getting the links, and what else you can see on that site, can help to minimize any trouble you may get into.
Some kinds of links take the building of a good reputation to gain. The challenge is that you need a lot of readers to build that reputation, and that can mean needing a lot of links. It’s a circle that can be difficult to break into.
Other links are easier to get. Their quality can be controlled by you in that you decide which to go for. Sometimes they will have the “nofollow” attribute, but if you’re focusing on links that real users will follow as well as search engines, you may see that these can be worth your time.
Relatively Easy Links to Get
These can be time consuming to get, and saying “good post” is not enough to get more traffic even from highly ranked blogs. The earlier you can comment on a post the more people may read your comment and follow your link.
Do not overdo the use of keywords in the “Name” field for your comments. Most blog owners prefer real names. Use your website name if you must, but do not cram in keywords. Think of it as building your brand with a name, not trying to get more keyword links back to your site.
I like using Comment Sniper to know when new posts have been made at blogs I read. I don’t comment unless I have something real to say. This tool allows me to be an early commenter anytime a post is made on a blog while I’m at the computer.
Participate in Blog Carnivals
Blog Carnival.com has a great list of these. You find appropriate ones, and submit your articles. Maybe it gets chosen, maybe not. Some have high standards while others seem to take just about anything. But when you’re posting the information anyhow it certainly can’t hurt to submit it to carnivals to get more attention.
Submit Your Site to Directories
This one may or may not do a lot of good anymore. A lot of directories lost PageRank recently, and links from them may not carry any search engine benefit now. But other directories may still give you a benefit.
A big question arises in the free vs. paid directory issue. Free ones are of course quite kind to your budget, but if they allow a lot of spammy links you do not want to be listed with them.
Paid directories, on the other hand, tend to be pickier. They probably will not guarantee that they will accept your site. The fee for the best paid directories is for review, not for inclusion. Make a quality site to give yourself the best chance to be accepted.
Be on the lookout for directories specific to your area of expertise. More focused directories may be more beneficial to your website.
Participate in Forums
Another time consuming one. In some areas it can be hard to find sites that will allow you to have links to your business in your signature line, but others do not mind at all. Some just require you to pay a fee for the priviledge.
Do not just advertise yourself. People do not come to forums to read blatant ads. They come to forums to relax with friends, learn solutions to problems and often just have fun. Be there for that even as you market. The better you are as a forum member and resource the more likely people are to follow your signature links.
Give a Testimonial
Bought anything online recently? Give a testimonial and include a link to your website. The person you bought from may be happy to include that link because it makes you into more of a real person when people read your testimonial.
Make Online Friends
Online friends may be willing to link to you, even as you link to them or do something else to benefit their website.
Well-tagged pages can bring in some very good traffic from this source, and all it takes is a del.icio.us account and a little time. The links may be “nofollow”, but if people follow them the bots don’t matter too much.
Use Other Social Marketing Networks
Which will be best for you depends on your topic. Digg is definitely not for everyone. Make friends and use the networks honestly, only trying to include your best work. Plopping your everyday efforts into the social media sites really won’t benefit your site that much. Focus your efforts on your standout pieces.
The more freely you link, the more freely people link to you. It won’t work every time, but it can increase the overall quality of your site and help it to get noticed.
If you’re blogging, make sure you are thorough with your pinging. There’s a great list of sites to ping at Daily Blog Tips that I won’t bother to repeat here.
Harder Links to Get
Article Writing and Submission
Writing high quality articles gives you a great chance to bring attention to your site and your knowledge. I’ve seen loads of articles submitted to article directories that are so poorly written they give me a negative view of the website owner, not a positive one.
Let me make this clear. You can get links with junk articles easily. Quality links from quality articles that good sites want to publish is hard. But if you write good articles, submit them to the better directories and directly to relevant webmasters, they can do a lot of good for a very long time without costing you anything other than time. For some that’s easier than it is for others.
Guest blogging can be a great way to network. Not only do you get your article published on someone else’s website (potentially a much more popular site), you can make a great contact.
A guest post needs to be some of your best work. You need to impress the other blogger as well as their readers. Show your stuff so that they see you as an expert whose blog they would like to read too.
Write Authority Articles for Your Site
This is tough. They take a lot of work, and then you still have to get it noticed so that it builds the links for you. If you haven’t started building your name, who knows whether or not this will happen. A solid authority article can do a lot to make your reputation as an expert.
The beauty of this is that people like linking to authority articles, and the links are of far superior quality than your typical forum or directory link. Jim Boykin had a great post about this in 2006.
In theory easy, in reality hard.
All you have to do is create something that people want to link to. They might not even be in your general field, depending on the bait offered.
A lot of people have a dislike for obvious linkbait, but if it works you may not particularly care. But the very best linkbait is so useful or interesting that people aren’t particularly worried about that.
This is far from a comprehensive list, but I like to think of it as a nice start. Keep brainstorming and researching and you can come up with plenty of other ways to get links to your site. Even with all these tips it is not always easy, but taking the time to work on it and being persistent can pay off in the long run.
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