Who Cares if you have Backlinks?
Well, no one…except search engines! If you want people to read your page on the web, you need to have plenty of incoming links pointing right at your site. Search engines value the quantity, quality, and relevance of these links. The trouble with getting “backlinks” to your site, as they are called, is it’s kind of difficult. The best way to receive high quality links is by creating a quality page or site. It’s one of the most important steps in your SEO campaign!
How the Big Sites Build Their Backlinks
Sites like Amazon, eBay, MySpace and of course, have thousands and thousands of links that hop to their site. They also don’t have to do much to get these links!
Because they have something worth linking to! They don’t ask for links, they just get them. Sites like these might also have thousands of affiliate marketers linking to their site.
So you’re probably wondering how you can get as many links as these sites have…the answer is simple! Create something that is a valuable resource for people. If you can create something that is the go-to place for information on a certain topic, the traffic will come.
Link Exchanges…Yes or No??
Does Reciprocal Linking Help or Hurt?
Link exchanges can be good, and can be bad. There are a number of services out there that will connect you with other similar websites (or totally random sites) to exchange links with. Some search engines penalize these sites, often referred to as “link farms.” There is a fine-line drawn between link farms and link exchanges, so watch out.
You say tomato, I say tomato sauce!
Some webmasters like to exchange links via reciprocal linking. This process is great if the site is relevant to your site. For instance, if your site is about tomatoes and you decide to link to a site about home foreclosures, this wouldn’t help you in the search engines. However, if you linked to a site about tomato sauce, now we’re talking!
Backlinks are still more heavily valued by search engines than reciprocal links. The ranking of the site you are linking to also plays a factor for your pagerank. Always aim high, and try to get a link on a site with an equal or better rank.
How do you know who’s linking to you?
Find out who is linking to you!
To find out how many inbound links you have, you can use a Backlink Checker. This one in particular will tell you the number of Google results, Yahoo results, and Alexa rank.
How Search Engines Work
And how they determine the “value” of your site
Search engines are complicated, and have convoluted formulas to determine a website’s page rank. To find sites on the web, search engines have “web crawlers” to crawl the web through every link it finds. The search engines then apply their algorithm to the site and determine the page rank. Backlinks (or inward links) are always a part of this equation. To search engines, the number and quality of backlinks are an indicator of the importance and popularity of a site.
There are many other factors search engines consider, like the age of the site, URL name, image or filenames on the site, anchor text, and keywords in the content.
Gain a link and some traffic by posting in forums
If you’ve ever visited a forum, you know that they are an excellent source of information that you can often not find anywhere else. Some also receive a very high amount of traffic and are a huge opportunity for whatever niche your site may fall into. By making an effective signature link for each your posts, you can see an increase in traffic. This traffic is often highly targeted.
Rules for Forums
- Don’t spam!
- Upload an avatar if possible so that forum users come to know you by your image that’s next to your posts
- Make a signature that’s appropriate but effective, not out of control, large and obnoxious
- Be courteous to other members in forums
- Stay on topic and add something relevant to conversations, don’t just drop something in to leave your signature
- Respond often for the best results!
Forum links may not be a heavily weighted link, but its a link, and it drives traffic.
Receive Backlinks by Leaving Useful, Interesting Blog Comments
Blogs are another excellent source of traffic to your site. You can receive a nifty, targeted link to your site by leaving a comment to a blog post (if the blog comments are not “no followed“. When leaving a comment, it is important to leave the URL of your site. Most blogs will instruct users to leave the URL of their site on the comment (leaving a link back to your site). Try Google’s Blog Search to find some relevant blogs about your topic and get posting! Just like forums, you want to avoid spam and offer an honest opinion about the post. Be a worthy contributor and you’ll get further.
You can also ask a Blogger to blog about your site. Depending on the Alexa/PageRank of the site, this can be very effective. The downside of this is that the post may become buried under other posts.
Drive traffic and gain backlinks with relevant articles
Article marketing isn’t anything new. It’s one of the oldest SEO strategies there is, and it’s still effective to this day. Article marketing works for a few reasons.
- You will drive traffic to your website by includes your URL at the bottom of the page in the resource box. Articles usually allow 1-2 links to your own website. This can increase your traffic if you write about topics that would interest your readers.
- Articles are a great way to increase backlinks to your website. Not only will traffic be headed to your website, but the article will count as another valuable link headed towards your site. Over time, this can raise the authority of your website with search engines.
- Last, and most importantly, all articles you publish on sites like EzineArticles have the chance to be republished by thousands of other sites. By posting your article on article websites like Ezine, Buzzle, and HubPage, you are allowing other websites to republish your work, as long as they include a link to your website. This can lead to many inbound links from various websites, potentially hundreds or thousands if the article is valuable enough.
Pay to receive a targeted link
Directories are another popular place to get links back to your site. These exist almost entirely for getting a highly targeted backlink. Make sure these links are not “nofollow” links! Some directories are very low traffic, so you’ll have to do your research on what directories are worth submitting to. You’ll have to pay more often than not. It’s not expensive, usually around $5, but it can add up quickly. Check the Google Page Rank of the site you are signing up with before submitting your site.
Social Networking & Social Bookmarking
Build up your links with popular social websites
Sites like Twitter and Facebook have been known to drive traffic through targeted comments on user’s profiles. The most effective way to get traffic flowing to your page is to have more people to see it.
Social Bookmarking has become a huge thing in the past few years. Sites like Digg and Stumbleupon can bring in huge traffic.
Attracting links to your site by offering a useful page that’s naturally linkworthy
Link Baiting sounds like something you want to stay away from, but it can be a good thing, especially when it’s done right. Link baiting is when you create a page or resource that’s helpful and unique. You’ll see people to refer to mortgage interest calculators as a good example of link baiting. People will link to that page of the site to calculate their mortgage, from blogs to other business websites. Almost all websites can create a good “link bait” page. Try to make it relevant to what you’re site is about for the best results. Here are some examples:
- You have an eBay store selling shoes. Make a list of 100 places you can recycle shoes or drop them off for charity. Over time, you’ll get a lot of links to your store.
- Use the mortage calculator example and apply to your own business. What tools can you provide your customers with that will attract links and attention?
Search Engine Independence
Don’t depend on search engines to drive traffic to your website!
Being at the whim of a few select companies is no way to run your life or business! A lot of sucessful businesses have instead placed more value on traffic that comes in from well-placed links. These are permanent, unlike the constantly fluctuating pagerank system. While search engine traffic is always great, link traffic is better.
Declare Independence from Search Engines!
By getting permanent links on blogs, forums, and other websites, you can have a steady stream of dependable traffic coming into your site that is more likely to revisit or make a purchase. Consider buying text links or a well-placed (and well designed) banner.