Ever since Google became the major player among search engines, web masters have been trying to figure out the algorithms Google uses to rank websites. Although the actual numbers are a closely guarded secret, we do know that one important factor in ranking pages has to do with how many high-quality sites have links to your page.

How do you get the attention of websites prestigious enough to improve your ranking? As any SEO company can tell you, there are several ways to go about it.

Provide an Intuitive Format with Helpful and Insightful Content

It doesn’t matter how many other tricks you try. The bottom line is that your website must have interesting, accurate copy. You get extra points if your website is easy to navigate, and if it is accessible to people using mobile devices like smartphones.

Keep Your Content Fresh

Most websites periodically check their links to make sure none are broken. If they find a website that has not been updated in several months, they may to decide to delete the link to that site in order to make room for links to newer content.

Submit to an Article Site

As the name suggests, article sites allow you to submit articles in your area of expertise. Google’s updates have made this a slightly trickier process – you should read an earlier article about the effectiveness of article marketing for more info. While you can’t blatantly self-promote, if your article is accepted, you will be able to post a link back to your site. By the way, most article sites have clear guidelines and will check the writing for quality. If you don’t like to write, or if you don’t write well, it may be in your best interests to hire a freelance writer to pen the articles.

Write a Guest Blog Post

Find a blog that both interests you and relates to your blog. Then contact the webmaster and offer to write a guest blog post in exchange for a link back to your site. Be sure to research the blogs you approach and put together a thoughtful, on-target proposal. If you send out a bunch of generic proposals, you could get the reputation for being a spammer — and that certainly won’t earn you any links. Again, you may want to hire a writer to produce the actual guest blog post.

Avoid Link Farms

Link farms are sites that will post a link back to your website in exchange for money. They were popular for several years, but Google’s newest algorithm, Penguin, penalizes sites that pay to be featured on link farms. In other words, trying this route may actually harm your Google ranking rather than help it.

Use Social Media

Whenever you update your website, especially if you’re offering a new product or service, make sure to share the news on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+. This social media marketing will drive traffic to your site and, with luck, earn you some links as well.

Comment on Other People’s Blogs

Read blogs that are related to your business and leave an appropriate, thoughtful comment on one of the posts with a link back to your website. Don’t just say “Great post!” or your comment will probably be deleted or, worse yet, marked as spam. Leave a comment that indicates that you have really read and given some thought to the material.

Link to Your Favorite Websites

Find a few sites that you genuinely admire and provide links to them on your website. Then send a polite email to each web master, explaining why you have linked to their site and inviting them to visit your site in return.

Getting links from quality sites involves building trust with other web masters. It can be a slow process, but with a little persistence and creativity, you will get the links you need to improve your page rank.