[Before you read this, check out my new guide to link building here]
So one of the major parts of search engine optimisation (SEO) is link building, and unfortunately it’s a timely task, but if you want those good Google rankings it is a must.
There are a few golden rules with link building to follow:
1) Keep it consistent; don’t do 100 links in one day and then none for a month, it’s far better to do 5 links a day, everyday! Google likes consistence
2) Trading links is pointless, so avoid reciprocal link schemes and email offers
3) Don’t buy links! Google is becoming extremely smart when it comes to link farms and identifying link selling programs, if you do buy links, you may run the risk of receiving a penalty from Google.
As I see it, link building can be broken down into many areas:
- General business directories
- Niche business directories
- Local area business directories
- Business Forums
- Niche business forums
- Blog posting
- PR article websites
- Social bookmarking
- Social networking
- General link directories
- Guest blogging
- Link bait
- Video creation
So what are all these areas I hear you ask?
General business directories:
These consist of some of the more familiar house hold names such as:
These are a great places to start, and provide you access to a free listing on the website, this also includes a general link back to your site.
Niche business directories:
Now to demonstrate what I mean by Niche business directories, I have chosen the weddings sector, so some great websites to get listed on include:
If we look at photography, you may want to include your website on the following:
This kind of link building is very simple and affective, plus the great thing is the website content will be relevant to your website which is a plus factor when it comes to Google rankings.
To find these directories do a quick search on Google for “wedding directories”, “photography directories” and so on.
Local area business directories:
So these are websites which promote your local area, so if we take my hometown Nottingham. Here is a great list of websites to get listed on:
To find your local area business directories, search on Google for the term “[your city] directories” and so on.
A great way to connect with customers is through general business forums. This will give you the opportunity to talk to like minded people and communicate with customers looking for your services.
- Linkedin Forums
To find these kinds of forums, do a simple search for “business forums”.
Niche business forums:
Now if we jump back to the weddings sector, I’ve done a quick search for “wedding business forums” and “wedding forums” and I’ve already found 5 great websites to join:
Note: Forums are a great way to communicate with like minded people, get a few links out there and win potential business, but… don’t go on to these with the intention of spamming every thread with a link to your site, the forum administrators will soon kick you off; you need to take your time with this, but if you can connect with others and share information and knowledge, other forums members will soon start spreading the good word about you which could include links as well.
This should be on your priority list of general business tasks, talk about your work, industry news or anything that relates to your business is a great thing to do (what your reading now is a blog post!). Now your thinking, how am I going to get links from writing blog posts? This all comes back to networking in the community through forums and social networking (more on this later).
Now I’ll give you a sneak preview of some of my stats. I’m on quiet a few different social networks and forums and by build trust we others in my niche, they can help by spreading the word about my posts.
So in total, my last 15 blog posts has generated me just over 970 visits from referring websites, these have either been through forums, other blogs, social booking and social networks. And these figures don’t include the search traffic I get from Google which is my number one refer.
Another tactic is to encourage the reader to share the blog post on social networks, like Twitter, Facebook, Digg etc. There are many great tools out there to do this and one of the most popular is AddThis (http://www.addthis.com/).
PR article directories:
PR article directories are website which accepts useful information about any subject or your general business news, admittedly there are quite a few website where you can do this but I would highly recommend the following:
It’s worth mentioning that you should only submit one article per website, never spin content.
I recently created a post about using social for SEO here. But here are my favourite social bookmarking websites to submit to:
Similar to the above, my previous post includes great social networking websites. Here are my favourite social networking websites:
Note: Social bookmarking and networking is not a quick fix to gaining links, it is all about building trust with your fellow piers, which will take time! Once you have built these relationships and trust they will start to spread your content and link to you, but it’s all about trust and patience.
As you build up your contact lists through forums, bookmarking and networking, you may get the opportunity to write guest posts on other people’s blogs, if you do, go for it! 9 time out of 10 the website will be relevant to yours and you will be able to gain a good quality link back to your website.
So what is link bait? Link bait is any content displayed on a website, designed purposely to gain attention or encourage others to link to the article, post or page.
Matt Cutts (head of web spam at Google) defines link bait as: “anything interesting enough to catch people’s attention.”
So a great example would be the search game (http://searchga.me/) which has been created by Shark SEO. The search game has spread across the web due to hundreds, if not thousands of people talking about and bookmarking this page, which in turn links back to the creator’s main page, that’s what you call great exposure.
You could even say that the download of free directories on this page is link bait!
This is one of my personal favourites as it can give your website the edge over realms of content. But getting videos on Youtube, Vimeo etc. can be used as alternatives to target specific keywords. You may have noticed over the past few years, Google has started to include video results within its general search results. In a whole, videos can be used like link bait, so it’s a brilliant strategy.
So there you have it, 12 different and unique ways to build links – happy link building!