Link building is the process of getting other websites to link to your website to promote popularity and other benefits throughout the online world. Link building is one of the core tasks of SEO. It not only helps promote popularity among users, but also contributes to the website’s ranking in search engines. Therefore, you need to work on link building in order to reap the benefits both from users and the search engine point of view.
The importance of link building is evident in the following example: “When A says that A is good, not everyone will believe it, but when one hundred other people say that A is good, it definitely adds value.” You know that your site has quality content, but if you are the only one who says so, it will not add as much value as when many other sites say the same.
Link building both within and outside websites is vital. Internal link building is important because it builds a linking system around the pages in your website, which allows search engines to crawl each and every page that exists in your website. This also helps users follow your pages according to their requirements. Along with internal link building, external link building has its own value as it makes your site more popular, which again helps you rank better in the search engine’s search. A back link from another site counts as a vote for your site, and search engines value each vote. However, links from any site will not serve this purpose. You need to gain back links from popular and relevant websites. A good link makes your site popular, but a bad link might ruin this popularity as well. One has to be very careful in the process of link building. The search engine understands what your website is all about and determines whether the linked sites are relevant to your site or not. Many sites accept links from porn sites in order to reap faster benefits, but such links will hamper the site’s reputation, which may also lead to a penalization of the particular site. Such shortcuts in link building may lead to adverse results. Therefore, it is critical to work on the link-building process.
The importance of link building has already been discussed. Links help your blog spread among people, thereby gaining popularity. In order to make your blog big, you need to gain a large number of website links; for this, link building serves at its best. Links will help more users land on your blog. The search engine will also recognize the quality of your blog. Link building comes naturally with time, but that takes a much longer time.
Natural links are those connected by people when they genuinely like your content, although this does not happen very often. Therefore, you have to work on link building yourself for more benefits. You have to start early in order to get your blog off to a strong start. The most important thing required to gain links is to have quality content and tools on your site. One major task that needs to be completed before working on link building is a competitors’ analysis. You have to recognize your competitors and research their process of link building. Check through the number of links coming into your competitors’ sites and list the websites serving those links. Go after sites that have linked to your competitors. Do not follow their ways; find out better ways to do it. Not every website might be worthy but making a list will definitely give you an idea for your link-building process.
This research on link building through your competitors’ site can be done with the help of online tools; the most popular such tool is the “Yahoo! site explorer.” Just enter the URL of your competitor’s website and all its links will be provided instantly by the site explorer. Thus, this tool provides great help in researching the back links of your competitors. In addition, determine how your competitors managed to get all their links and try to understand their strategies in link building. This will help you in your link-building process for your site.
To start with link buildings, you can utilize your contacts, asking them to share your site in social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and LinkedIn as well as providing a back link from their own sites to your site. Different strategies for link building are discussed below.
- Asking for a link
- Running newsletters
- Using website widgets
- Engaging in social bookmarking
- Submitting to a directory
- Blogging and article submission
- Creating a complementary site
Asking for a Link
Asking for a link is the easiest approach to link building, and many websites do it during the very initial stages. This can be done by including a “link to us” or “tell a friend” option on your home page. Such options let your users link to your website easily whenever they like your content or any information provided by your site. In addition, many CMS software products include prebuilt forms for handling such simple tasks. When you are providing quality information on your site, people tend to share that information; linking is the best way to do so. In such cases, this process works perfectly as it lets people share your site very easily. Thus, making a segment on your website for asking for a link can be your first step in link building. Offering quality content and tools welcomes this sort of natural link building.
Running daily or weekly newsletters can be useful for link building. You can advertise your new products and the quality information available on your website. You can also remind your users about your updates; if they like them, they will forward the newsletters to their friends. This will help your site spread among people more easily.
Using Website Widgets
Creating website widgets are one of the most popular ways of handling link building. Many sites use these to reap the benefits. Creating widgets that can be used by other sites will be a real help in building links. Website widgets are units that can be used by other sites as well. Any information that can add unique value to other sites can be turned into a widget. Examples of popular widgets can be found on sites like widgetbox, and glittertools.
Custom websites widgets can be created too in order to serve this purpose. You can create custom widgets using simple html pages or with the use of RSS feeds, java applets, and flash. Many websites create calculators, convertors, clocks, and other such widgets that can be used by other sites (e.g., wolframalpha widgets). Such widgets are usable by other sites with the condition that the host site is present as a link in the widget; it helps to make your link visible enough. You can share your widgets in many different ways. You can either use your site or use a third party—or both. You can give a simple html code for the users. Copying and pasting the given code makes the widget visible on their respective sites. By doing so, a site will be using your widget for their user benefits and also let your link be present there. Website widgets work for the link-building process, and many sites are experiencing its benefits.
Engaging in Social Bookmarking
Social bookmarking is the idea of adding bookmarks and articles across different social bookmarking sites in the web. It is one of the ways to share and spread your site, opening your site to a wider audience and thus gaining popularity. Utilizing social bookmarking is very simple and beneficial. Social bookmarking sites ask you to register there and install a web browser tool bar thereafter. This makes adding book marks easier. Bookmarking sites store data through links from different sites, highlighting popular and recent links. These sites are frequently visited by users; therefore, the chances of your site spreading among users will be much higher. Thus, social bookmarking is one of the effective ways of link building. In terms of SEO, your goal is achieved as it is one of the best ways to promote your website or blog.
Social bookmarking not just makes you popular among users, but its value is counted by search engines as well. Search engines frequently crawl popular bookmarking sites and also index pages having bookmarked content. Therefore, adding a bookmark will definitely work as a plus point for your SEO work. Some of the most popular social bookmarking sites are:
Each site has a different way of working, but the idea behind all of them is same. After installation, the site offers you a bookmark icon on your site. Through that icon, every user can add a bookmark whenever they like an article or any information. Important links will carry more value. You can keep a track of your bookmarked URLS. Every site will have different interfaces to keep a track of links. You can see the results of your bookmarks through the use of such interfaces.
However it is very important that you don’t overdo this work in social bookmarking. Too many bookmarking icons on your pages will neither look good nor serve any benefit. Therefore, it is important that you select only the important and best ones for your purposes. You can also use just one icon, like “share this” or “add this,” with the ability of posting it to any bookmarking sites you want. This will help you avoid too many icons appearing on your pages while still reaping the benefits.
Submitting to a Directory
Another popular way of link building is directory submission, which is a popular approach with good results to websites over time. Before submitting to directories, you need to make sure of the quality of your page title and description of the pages to which you are going to submit as only properly optimized pages will add value to your work. Make a list of the popular and good directories. This can be easily done by carefully surfing the Internet. Also make sure that the directories to which you are submitting don’t have a “no-follow” condition. Your idea behind directory submission is to let the juice pass; whenever there is a no-follow link, you cannot avail any profit out of that link as it will restrict the juice from flowing. Therefore, make list of directories without the no-follow attribute. many free online tools can help you check whether a no-follow attribute exists. While making the list of directories there are certain points that need to understood :
- 1) No-follow: Check the link attribute of the sites. Avoid sites with no-follow rules and make use of only sites that have do-follow attribute and can pass the link juice.
- 2) Page rank: Check the page rank of the sites. The higher the page rank, the more value is added. Go for sites having a high page rank. You can also make use of sites having a medium level of page rank.
- 3) Quality check: Check through the quality of content available in the sites. Choose only the sites that match your content both concept wise and quality wise.
Make a list of good directories based on these points. Start with the top directories in the initial stages. Many top-level directories exist on the Internet. Google maintains its own directory. Here are few top level directories :
In addition, many other directories are available that promote link building. Some of these sites are free, some are paid, and some are provided along with a reciprocated link. You can chose any of such sites according to your requirements. There is no rule saying to how many directories you can submit your site to; therefore, you can submit to an endless number of directories until you achieve your goal. You can make a search query to identify the relevant directories for your site. Here are few sites where you can submit your pages and site :
- The Creativity Wall
Directory sites vary from each other. While some sites allow you to add your pages separately, others accept only the home page. Also, these sites have a limit of accepting submissions from you. Despite of all these conditions, directory submission does carry a lot of value in terms of link building, making it a necessity for any blog owner.
Blogging and Article Submission
Another way of link building is blogging and article submission. You can write articles, blogs, or forums and publish them with one or more links pointing to your website. There are many article and blogging sites where you can submit good quality content along with links. Here are few of the popular article sites :
You can write quality articles in these sites to make your site popular. Every such site has different submission guidelines. Go through all the submission guidelines of the article site before submitting articles on the site. Also check whether the sites allow “do follow” links. Submit to sites only with “do follow” attribute. While some sites allow you to add an unlimited number of links, a few restrict you to one or two. Understand all the guidelines and make the appropriate choice for the best results.
In addition, you can blog to promote your website through links. Blogs and forums are valuable in the process of link building. Three of the most popular blogging sites are:
While working on article and blog submission, you have to make sure of keywords you want to highlight. Use only relevant keywords; otherwise, your work might look as spam, which might also lead to penalization. Therefore, use relevant keywords in the articles and blogs published. You have to pay special attention to keyword selection because only good keywords will lead you to success in link building.
Creating a Complementary Site
One of the less frequently but still useful ways of link building is creating a complementary site to your website. Such a site will help you in cross linking and promote your website well along with hosting quality content itself. Thus, creating a complementary site can be useful in the process of link building.
Such techniques promote link building. Natural links are the best approach to link building, but it is so important in SEO that you need to make it happen before it naturally happens. The idea behind creating a professional blog or a website is to spread it to the maximum number of people, which is possible only through proper link building. You have to make your site present everywhere on the web so that users cannot ignore your site. Once you get users, your content quality should be strong enough to make the users stick to your site. Also link building allows the search engine to know your site better and more thoroughly. However, in terms of link building, the search engine evaluates links based on certain factors, which are discussed below briefly.
It is critical that you exchange links only with sites that are relevant to your site. For example, if your blog speaks about education, you should not welcome a link from a website selling shoes. You need to maintain links only from relevant sites; otherwise, it may lead to adverse effects as the search engines recognize that the subject of your site and the subject of the linked sites. Therefore, maintain relevancy while link building through sites.
In terms of link building, not all links count equally. Different links have different value based on the authority domain of the sites at times. Sites with government and popular authority domains (e.g.,.org, .gov, .edu) are counted with high value. Thus, links coming from such sites are of great importance. On the other hand, sites with .com, .co, and .net have a lesser value. Therefore, it is important to try to get more links from sites with a high value, without ignoring the lesser valued ones.
These two factors hold great importance in terms of link building. In addition to these two factors, you have to give proper heed to keywords, anchor text, quality, and such other things in the process of link building.
Using all the mentioned techniques, you can work on the process of link building for you blog. However, it is very important that you don’t overdo this work. These are just techniques that will help you reach more people and gain more popularity, but the real work remains with the quality of your website or blog as “good and compelling content is the only best way for link building”. Therefore, create it and maintain it throughout your site.