Acquiring relevant backlinks to your website is one of the most important parts of any Search Engine Optimization campaign. The search engine's and especially Google value backlinks to your website as an indicator of your website's importance. If a large number of webmaster's have decided to link to your content then you must be an important information hub in your target keyword marketplace.
Link Popularity Checker
www.uptimebot.com – lists link popularity for all major search engines. If you can manage to get a large number of links from similar or complimentary websites that are ranked high by the search engine's then your website should also start to climb the search engine rankings and increase the traffic to your site. Of course the quality of links, the anchor text of the links, the total number of links, the content of the page your link is on, how many outbound links are on the page, and the ranking of the page your link is on are all extremely important factors to consider when developing a linking strategy for your business.
When adding your links to resource directories where you have control over your link remember to utilize all the tools you have available to you to get the most out of the backlink to your site.
Place your keywords in img “alt” tags (if you have an image with your link), link “title” tag, and in the anchor text for your link. You have to remember that when a search engine visits a site that has a backlink to you that they have no idea what your website is about yet. Of course the search engine spider will make decisions based on it's evaluation of the webpage but you can help them (and yourself) out by applying these simple principles to all backlinks you have control over. If you are submitting to a directory make sure you place your link under a category that has your keywords in the title of the category if possible.
You also have the option of “buying” links to your website, a strategy that has worked and continues to work now, but the search engine's frown on this practice and have a tendency to black hole websites involved in “link farming” techniques. It's ok to purchase advertising or to seek out strategic partnerships for reciprocal linking of course but purchasing links for the sole purposes of boosting your search rankings is against Google's Terms of Service.
Trust me when I say Google can tell with pretty good accuracy who is buying their links and who is not. It really isn't that hard to tell and does not require that much analysis to figure out. You can perform this type of analysis for yourself, and you should do this to see what the competition in your market is doing. If you do purchase links make sure these are not the only links back to your site. The search engine's like to see a “natural” growth to the number and quality of your backlinks. Having a couple of high ranking links and no others is a big red flag. Any site that grows naturally will have a pyramidal distribution of links with the greatest number of links at or near the bottom of the ranking ladder.
So you don't want your site to get black holed but you do want to accelerate the rate at which your website climbs the search engine rankings and hence see the benefits of free targeted traffic to your website. The good news is there are several Search Engine friendly ways to improve your link popularity:
1. Write Articles and have them published
The search engine's love content filled web pages since these pages are providing information not just advertising. Writing articles related to your website topic and having them published on high ranking websites is a great first step to building your link popularity.
You may not have traffic coming to your site yet, but these article sites sure do. If someone likes your article a number of these article publishing sites will allow the user to download the article for use on their site. You are allowed to include a resource box with your article which you would obviously use to place a link to your website. Submit your articles to as many article submission sites as you can, they are hungry for your content.
2. Publish a Blog
This is a similar idea to writing articles except that you will have total editorial control of your Blog content. Feel free to weave in a few product and affiliate links where appropriate in your Blog content (something many article sites frown upon). Submit your blog to Blog and Web directories to help build the link popularity for your blog. Make sure you link your blog to your main website so anyone reading your Blog will be able to find you. You can also have your Blog syndicated via RSS to really explode your exposure. Be sure to add a resource box to the end of each article with a link to your website so that anyone syndicating your article via RSS will be able to find you.
http://www.blogger.com – the internet's most popular blogging service
http://www.geeklog.net – run your own blog on your own website with this free php-mysql package
http://www.masternewmedia.org/rss/top55/ - great listing of sites accepting RSS/Atom feeds, or Blog submissions.
3. Submit to Web Directories
There are literally thousands of Web Directories on the internet that will provide you a link to your site either for free, free with a reciprocal link, or for a fee. The most useful listing to have would be in the DMOZ.org directory which is the largest and most respected web directory on the internet. Getting listed can take 6-9 months if at all so you will definitely have to add some other directory targets to your short term plans.
Yahoo! offers an express paid directory listing for $299 USD a year which may be worth the price for your particular website. There are also a number of Quality Free Web Directories that should be on your to do list. Remember to submit to the most relevant category and preferably one with your keywords in the title and link anchor text.
http://www.seocompany.ca/directory/free-web-directories.html - excellent listing of free web directories
http://www.dmoz.org – the holy grail of free directory listings
http://docs.yahoo.com/info/suggest/busexpress.html - information on Yahoo Paid inclusion
4. Purchase links or seek out Link Partners
As long as you are continuing to build your links naturally utilizing the techniques above you can supplement your backlink count with a few carefully purchased links on high traffic sites. This can give you a double benefit of helping you boost your link popularity and also provide you a stream of traffic from the website itself if you have targeted your purchase correctly. If your site is about real estate, consider purchasing links in a real estate directory that has a large amount of traffic.
5. Post in relevant Forums
Search engine's love forums because they are moderated by humans and have a lot of ever-changing content on them. These types of sites are indexed regularly and can be a great place to spread the word about your site and gain link popularity. Every time you post your “signature” is attached to your posting which should contain a link to your site if you have set it up correctly.
6. Provide valuable original content or tools on your website
Writing articles or having unique tools that people would find valuable on your website are great ways to build up backlinks without having to expend effort. If you provide a great tool on your site for free other webmasters will link up to your site without you having to solicit them. The internet is an information source for most people, so give them what they want.
7. Seek Out Complimentary Link Partners
If you find resources that compliment the services you offer on your website, consider contacting the owner's of these websites and trading links with them. Do not make these judgments based on the site's page rank but rather focus on how relevant the other site's content is to yours.
http://www.reciprocalmanager.com – excellent program to manage your links directory
Google Tools (type these into the google search form)
Allinurl: ”keywords” – tells you all sites with “keywords” in their site URL
Allintitle: ”keywords” – tells you all sites with “keywords” in the site title tag
Allinanchor: ”keywords” – provides a listing of WebPages that contain “keywords” in the anchor text of links on those pages
Link: www.competitordomain.com – tells you who is linking to competitordomain. These sites may want to link back to your site as well (also works on MSN.com ).
Linkdomain: www.competitordomain.com – same as link: for Google, MSN
About the Author
Mike offers professional SEO services including link building services from his site SEO Web Guide.