You now have a well optimized website that has been designed to engage, captivate and convert your visitors. Strategically placed “Calls to Action” have been left like breadcrumbs for your readers to follow. Website analytics has been installed to help you measure, learn and correct any glitches in your traffic flow. The foundation in your structure has been poured and now is time to begin inserting the cornerstones of a highly effective SEO program. Almost 50% of the reason “why” one website ranks over another website for the same keyword phrase is the quality of the back linking program. Yes quantity is important but at these initial stages, we are still establishing a solid foundation.
A poorly constructed link building program, broken links and non relevant sources can all negatively impact your online reputation. You should always start with a plan that also includes repairing existing inbound links. In your link building plan, you may include these seven tactics to build quality links to your website.
- Ask for your links: Identify the top twenty sources you can think of within your industry. Who do you consider the authority in your field? What are the websites that you reference? Seek out educational institutions, industry organizations and relevant associations. Websites that end with a suffix of .edu, .org and .gov generally are viewed as more valuable that a typical .com or .net suffix. In a future post, I will present ways of asking for backlinks from a website owner or webmaster.
- Directory Links: If you care about your brand and intend to be in business for years to come, I recommend you avoid buying links with one exception. Some larger directories and certain niche directories offer tremendous Page Rank value and in several cases it will cost you to participate. The Open Directory project (DMOZ) has been around for ages. It’s a free directory, but it can be difficult to get listed within. Yahoo Business Directory will cost you $299.00/year although it is highly regarded by Search Engines and most often will drive traffic on its own. There are several others we can review at another time. Not all directories offer Page Rank value…in fact the list is shorter than you may think.
- Do Something Newsworthy – and make sure the web community finds out! Be selective in the news you wish to promote. Do research first to discover what interests your audience and the online communities you are targeting. Yahoo Buzz, Yahoo News and other news outlets is a great place to start your discovery. More Buzz – More Back Links. Search for the most emailed, most viewed and most recommended articles. Next step is to create the activity you want to write the press release about. Hiring a Public Relations professional is a good idea for fine tuning and communications. The press release should be highly optimized using anchor text that links back you your specific pages on your website.
- Become the Authority: If you are a business owner in your physical community, participate in industry events and your clients seek your advice – you may already be the leading authority within your local community. It is time to widen your circles to online venues like Yahoo Answers, About.com, “How To” Wikis and significant online forums. Let the world find out what is trapped between your ears. Begin answering questions that are relevant to your expertise in targeted online communities and you will gain the reputation as a respected authority. Get published in these ways and content writers will flock to your website. This is the most natural form of link building I can recommend. The stepping stones laid today will deliver links for years to come.
- Write an Article: Many online publishing directories are free of charge and offer a great opportunity to get noticed as an expert. A well written article will deliver quality inbound links. It again starts with great content!! Always offer value to the readers and search engines CRAVE fresh, relevant, trusted, keyword rich content. After you have addressed the quality of content issue, submitting to a large quantity of online publishers should be part of your plan. You will discover many article repositories and will offer you a few examples in future posts.
- Blog Marketing: The term Blog Marketing is a very broad stroke. For this purpose we are specifically focused on gaining highly effective inbound links. Twitter (microblogging) has done a dynamite job of cleaning up the Blog-a-sphere of the “noise” where we are back to generating valuable keyword rich content that employs the anchor text that will get you found online.
- Web 2.0: Get used to it world, Social Media is here to stay and offers tremendous opportunities for Search Engine Optimization. Interactive web applications that solicit user collaboration come in many different flavors. Not all are highly ranked because some technologies are so new. Social Bookmarking, using a signature file in forums and blog comments, posting rich media on You Tube and Flickr are all great ways in adding to the web community and gaining strategically placed back links for your website.
These are just some of the link building tactics you should leverage for gaining backlinks to your website and I have just scratched the surface on each of these topics. Future posts we will take a deeper dive into each one of these tactics to help you get the most out of your investment of time and resources. If you have a particular experience with any of these topics, please feel free to share with our community.
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