Link Building Strategy Having lots of links to your site (providing they are the right type) will bring you traffic for 2 simple reasons: –
- People will see your link on other sites and will click through to your website
- The profile of your site increases in importance and receives a higher ranking from search engines, consequently the position on the search engine results page will be higher
If you understand this then you will also understand that having effective link building strategies is extremely important for the success of your website or blog. You also need to know there is less emphasis on huge quantities of links and more emphasis on good quality links from different domains hosted on different servers. What this means is that a few good quality links from different (but relevant) sources will affect your standing in a positive way more so than many multiples of low quality links. Creating links to your site, post Google Penguin , has however become a risky business. This is primarily because Google have gone to war on webmasters that try to manipulate search engine results through link building strategies considered to be black hat. What that actually means is that Google try very hard to identify links that have not been created naturally and organically, i.e. naturally means someone linked to your site because it was actually and truthfully a useful reference or addition to their own content. When Google consider they have found links that have been created for the purpose of manipulating page rank, then the offending sites get penalized. The consequence being that the opposite effect to the desired one is achieved. So where does that leave webmasters, they know they need links for page rank and search engine position, but are now very afraid to actively create links in case they get penalized. There are still a number of linking strategies you can adopt and these range from simply ‘contacting sites that operate in the same arena as you and asking for a link’ to participating in ‘activities considered to be legitimate from a search engine perspective’. Here are a few options for getting links to your site: –
- Reciprocal linking with relevant sites – this is still acceptable provided it is not abused and there is a true relationship and relevancy between participating sites.
- Writing and posting articles to article directories, you are typically allowed 2 links back to your site in the resources section, the authority for this type of link has significantly diminished and you should only utilize high quality article directories that measure the quality of your articles
- Writing and publishing press releases, similar in scenario to articles
- Joining forum discussions on your topic of interest and leaving your URL as part of your signature on any posts or comments you make
- Answering questions on your subject using facilities like Yahoo Answers or Answerbag (remember to adhere to their terms and conditions)
- Leaving comments on blogs that post on the same topic as your blog or website
- Posting to social bookmarking sites and directories. The objective here it to build your author authority and increase the level of social signals as a result. This gives the search engines visibility of the human perspective about your content i.e. do real people value what you are writing
- Utilising free website domains to create related websites e.g. HubPages orSquidoo. Both these sites took a hammering from Google and lost a lot of traffic, so they and other Web2.0 services of a similar ilk have taken drastic action to get back in favor. Squidoo for example ‘nofollow’ all external links now and limit the number of outgoing links to selling sites like Amazon. Hubpages have also implemented similar strategies and both sites have removed articles they consider to be thin or low quality.
Strictly speaking you are not supposed to use any of these mediums purely for self promotion, but if you adhere to the terms and conditions concerning relevancy and adding value through a link out then there is not really a reason why you can’t get at least some links to your webpages. Also if it doesn’t help from a search engine authority perspective, these sites do have large communities and can bring you traffic directly.
Out of the above linking strategies you may want to consider which method is most effective and gives the most bang for your buck. A strong contender used to be ‘writing and posting articles’ and here is the reason why. When you published an article you were offering the information up for adoption, in other words people could take and post your information on their website or blog. There is a condition on this however and that is that they keep the article intact, including the resource section which of course is where there are links back to your website. So potentially writing a good article could result in multiple links back to your website, consequently raising the profile and importance of your website This has changed in recent times and article syndication, as it is known, is now less effective.
A few good quality links from well respected sites is much more likely to have an impact. That doesn’t mean there is no value in this technique but there are a few rules you need to adhere to if you want to ensure that the articles can stand on their own and pass some page authority to your site. First of all don’t be tempted into plagiarizing someone else’s information to create articles, free websites or any other material you want to publish. Write your own articles and create your own content, in the long run this will benefit your Internet presence and you will ultimately be recognized as an expert in your field.
When exchanging links with other sites try to avoid helping out a direct competitor by giving them a link, you may actually find you lose visitors this way as they head off to the competitors site. So try and link to sites that compliment your site and do not directly compete. Also you may have noticed in the diagram above that I have colored the linking strategy options red, there is one I have not discussed yet and that is outgoing links without a link back to you. These are the types of links that give you credibility, you are referencing a resource that can help your visitors if they cannot find what they want on your site. By linking one way to high quality external websites (not too many) you are demonstrating that you are prepared to serve your visitors and help them find exactly what they need. You can also do this of course by having relevant pay per click adverts on your site to compliment your other outgoing links.
The other Google update ‘Panda‘ comes into play here, they have started to penalize sites with too many adverts, especially those above the *fold. So you should be mindful not too have too many ads on a page and also be careful where you position them.
*fold – above the fold is the area of your page that is visible before the need to scroll.
As a reminder, when you are creating all these links remember to tie them into your keyword strategy i.e. any links you add to articles, other websites, press releases etc. should be descriptive of the service, product or information you are offering and the subject being discussed should be relevant to the subject on your website or blog. When you do this now, you need to avoid the overuse of exact match keywords, far better with the recent Google changes to use the site URL, brand name, name or synonyms of the keywords you target.