Link building has become a vital feature of the noughties’ SEO landscape. Since the formulation of Sergey Brin and Larry Page’s PageRank (PR) formula in 1998, the number and quality of incoming links coming to your website has been the major ranking factor in Google’s algorithm. There is no standard way of going about getting backlinks; a few tips and ideas are suggested here for your perusal:
1. Directories – A traditional staple in the link builder’s armoury since the early days of the web, directories have decreased in importance in recent years. Despite this, there still is some good value to be gained from them. The two essential directories that every link builder or website owner need to submit their site to are DMOZ (The Open Directory Project) and the Yahoo Directory. The importance of these two are various: they are human edited, meaning they are valued more highly by the search engines than your common-or-garden directory that has no criteria for entry. The Yahoo directory also charges for submission ($299), which the lower grade spammy sites are not likely to pay. Because of this, the search engines value the Yahoo Directory highly. The paid principle can be applied to other good quality paid directories such as Gimpsy and Best of the Web.
2. Classified sites – gumtree.com, craigslist, adzooks.co.uk and others are all commonly used classified sites used for link building by SEOs. If you are looking for links purely for a PR basis, make sure the links on the site do not use the nofollow tag, which means they are sapped of all PR or “link juice” to prevent spamming.
3. Articles – Write articles about your industry or sector and submit them to quality (PR 2+, well designed) article sites, such as a1articles.com. Most article sites give links, either in the body content or in the “boiler plate” (the bit at the end of the article that describes the writer). Writing articles also gives the potential for what you write to be picked up by other sites interested in your content, who can in turn give you extra links. Once these site have picked up your content, you can also establish independent relationships with them to provide content, and to get links in return.
4. Press Releases – In the same vein as articles, writing press releases and submitting them to sites like PR.com can be a good way of getting links and exposure. There are quite a few PR sites that provide URL links; if you want anchor text links you may have to pay for them.
5. Copying competitors’ link profiles – Another common tactic is looking at the backlinks obtained by your competitors (who are usually above you in the rankings). This can be done using the Yahoo site explorer or software like SEO Elite. When looking at these profiles, make a careful assessment of the individual links going to your rival.
6. Reciprocal links – There has been a lot of discussion in the SEO world recently about reciprocal links recently. Some people say that Google’s algorithm has phased out the importance of reciprocal links over the past few years, as SEOs have used them heavily to promote their sites on the search engines. However, Google SEO guru Matt Cutts has said explicitly that a reasonable amount of quality relevant reciprocal links will not hurt your reputation with Google, so we must take this as fact.
7. Forums and blogs – Contribute to forums and blogs in your industry in order to build up your authority in the sector. Forums and blogs also offer the possibility of links in the signature or comments, but beware – many blogs and forums have no follow on them.