Link Building is probably the biggest aspect of off-site SEO. In this post I discuss how to find links, analyze your competitors for top link partners, how to develop great content for people to link to, and how to spread the word about your content.
There are a number of Link Building tools you can use to find good link partners. The easiest way to see who is linking to you is to go to Yahoo! or Yahoo! Site Explorer and type link:www.yoursite.com. It will give you all of the websites that are linking to your site.
If you are trying to find people who are linking to your competitors you can download Aaron Wall’s, SEO for Firefox. This tool will append data onto the search results so you can quickly analyze the results.
You can analyze backlinks, .gov links, .edu links, dmoz listing, Yahoo! Directory, Technorati links, and more.
Back Link Analyzer also does a great job on analyzing backlinks in a clean, easy to read format. It is software based so all you have to do is download it to your computer to use.
I’ve only taken the top three results, but as you can see this is an easy way to see how sites are linking to you, what anchor text they used, their IP address, if they nofollow and what type of link it is.
Finding Authoritative Links
You may have heard the phrase “not all links are created equal” that is absolutely true. It is not about how many links you can get to your site, it’s about how many links you can get that are related to what you do and are authoritative/trusted sites.
It is better to get one inbound link to your site from a website that has a pagerank of 7 and has 100’s of links going into them, then 20 links coming from sites that are low quality and have low pagerank.
Probably the easiest form of link building would be to purchase links from a website or directory. Unfortunately buying lots of links usually will not help get you a huge increase in search rankings. The reason is that search engines understand that anyone can go out and buy links; it doesn’t make their site a high quality, traffic worthy site. Directories that have hundreds of links on them do not hold a lot of weight with search engines, because there are so many links. The link holds such little value because there are so many links on that site.
However there are a few websites/directories that are worth purchasing (in my opinion). I would definitely purchase a Yahoo! Directory link. It cost $300 for the year and it is well worth it. The Yahoo! Directory is one of the most trafficked directories on the web, and has a pagerank of 8.
No matter what industry you are in, there are always other websites that are related to what you do. Maybe it’s a website, blog, forum, directory, wiki, or social community. Identify the sites that are related to you, have lots of inbound links to them, and are authoritative. Contact the webmaster or site owner and see if you can get a link from their site to yours. Make sure that you have a good reason for them to link to you. Keep reading to see how you can give them a good reason to link to you.
Social bookmarking sites like Digg, Reddit, and StumbleUpon are great ways to spread your content and receive links into your site. Whenever you write a good article that has value to your target audience, bookmark it, tell your friends to bookmark it.
Writing and Commenting on Blogs
Add a blog to your site. That is probably the easiest and fastest way to add new content on your site. You can have a wordpress blog up and running in 10 minutes. Now you start creating content and spreading the word about it. Content that spreads virally can attract hundreds of links to your site in a matter of days. It’s important to only spread the word about your most compelling content; otherwise you will start to lose credibility if you are spreading junk.
You also should comment on blogs. If there is an article that is related to something you have written, add some good insight into the conversation, and then link back to your blog post. However do not spam other people’s blogs, just for the sake of getting a link to your site. Make sure you have something that adds value to the conversation.
Websites like Yahoo! Answers, AnswerBag, LinkedIn Answers, and Answers.com are great ways of getting links and traffic to your site. Some sites nofollow, but you can still reap the benefits by getting traffic to your site. Spend an hour or two a week answering questions that people have. If you have some useful resources or articles, link to those.
Syndicate your articles on to different content networks and wires. There are plenty of great PR websites that allow you to add an article or press release for free. Try distributing your content on PRWeb.com or EzineArticles.
Creating Link Bait
There are lots of other unique ways of attracting websites to link to you. Some require design and development time but can be worth it in the long run.
- Create a widget
- Create a Firefox Tool
- Start a Contest/Giveaway
- Create a Web 2.0 Application
- Create a Whitepaper
- Create a tutorial video
- Write a How To article
- Conduct an interview with an industry leader and post it on your blog
- Design a image/chart/diagram