Become the centre of attention – Part three – Links

In part 1, we had a look at making sure your website is actually indexed by search engines, and then leveraging the power of Google Maps. In part 2, we looked at a number of directories and how they can be used to not only provide a place for people to find you in, but can also be used to benefit your search engine rankings. Now we are going to have a look at link building.

What is link building?

Link building overlaps with directories with the aim of developing quality links to your website and pages within your website.

Directories provide a start and a solid basis to link building, but there are a number of other things you can do to develop quality links from other websites.

Ultimately what you are aiming for is to get links from as many related sources as you can and keep them there for as long as possible. Links from unrelated sources can help, but not to the extent of a related source, and can in some cases actually be detrimental instead.

Think of it as a network of friends. You all will have something in common with each other and that is usually what ties you together. The longer you have known each other, the more important your recommendations are to your friends.

Comparatively, search engines, Google in particular, see websites in much the same way. Links between websites create a network that Google can follow around the internet. Each particular link is like a recommendation from one friend to another, and the longer that link has been intact, the more potential value it can have. If a recommendation is coming from a website that is not related, it’s like a recommendation from a friend that doesn’t really know anything about the product or service they are recommending to you. So it may provide some value, but it could also be damaging.

Generating links

One of the best things you can do to develop incoming links is to write an article, or multiple articles on the area that you are an expert in, then have a look around for larger community type blogs that relate to your particular topic in some way, then see if they accept guest blog submissions. If they do, submit one of your articles to it, making sure that your name, business name and website address are mentioned with the post and that it links back to you.

Websites like this often have large amounts of traffic that is looking for information on that niche, so if you can show that you are an expert on the topic you will likely get people coming to your website from that article and hopefully choosing to utilise your service or purchase your products.

If you can locate multiple different blogs like this that allow you to submit your articles and link back to yourself, make sure you change your article around or use a different article for each one. The reason for this is that Google and other search engines penalise duplicate content, so if your article appears exactly the same on numerous different sites, it may have some benefit initially, but it will ultimately be reduced and potentially do more damage than it does help. Re-using the same article, or parts of the same article are fine where they are appropriate, but they should be modified each time they are used.

Related businesses, organisations or associations

Another way to assist in developing links is to locate related businesses or associations. For example, if you sell skateboards, see if your skateboard suppliers will put a link to you in a “Retailers” section of their website. Similarly, if you are part of an association, such as a sporting association, see if you can get a link to your website in a members section on their website. Maybe you sponsor an event, an individual, or something else, if the event or individual have a website, arrange as part of the sponsorship terms to have a link from their website, if they have one, to yours.

Relevant links

When you are building up your links, you also want to try and make the link text as relevant to your topic as you can. So when requesting links or getting links from your articles, you want to try and get something like (if you are a skateboard website for example) “Buy Fridges in Brisbane and the Gold Coast” as the link text, rather than “My Fridge Shop”. Why? People are more likely to search for your generic search terms than they are for your business name. Until people know you, your name is pretty much irrelevant. The text used for the link gives search engines an idea of what the website linked to will be about. So while your name may be correct, the generic terms are going to be more meaningful for anyone searching for you. If you need to include your name, you could try something like “My Fridge Shop – Fridges for sale in Brisbane and the Gold Coast.”

When you are deciding what text to use for your links, you will need to do some research into not only what keywords you want to be found under, but also what keywords people are most likely to use to find you. You will also need to look at your website and make sure you incorporate many similar keywords to get the best benefit.

Social media and blogging

There are other things you can do as well to develop links, variable depending on your industry and area of expertise, such as getting involved with social media by writing and maintaining your own blog and utilizing services such as Twitter and Facebook Pages. Maintaining a blog on your website is a great way to generate additional traffic as it allows you to provide updates, news, and free information to your visitors in a personal way. There are many, social media applications that allow bookmarking and ranking of websites, and they particularly excel in the area of blogs. These services include the likes of Digg, RedditStumpleUpon and others. Just have a look at the social media bookmarking links at the bottom of each blog post on here for a number of different ones. These services allow users to do things like bookmark a particular page, rate a particular page, suggest a page to their friends, write reviews of a page and more. After the first, the page will be linked to from these websites and may be tagged so it can be found easily. As a page gets more bookmarks, ratings, reviews or anything else any of these particular sites offers, it gets displayed more prominently which can in turn result in more views and more potential customers.

Link building schemes and link exchanges

I suggest staying away from link building schemes and link exchanges, especially if they are unrelated to you. Occasionally decent ones come around, but most of them do not provide much benefit to you. If you are unsure about a link building offer you have received and you would like some feedback on whether it is worth considering, I’m quite happy to have a chat with you about it.

What’s next

This concludes part 3 of our series on becoming the centre of attention. If you missed the previous parts, they covered Google and Google Maps, and utilising directories to benefit your search rankings and traffic. Unfortunately, this is also the last part of the series. I hope that it has been useful to you, if you’ve enjoyed these articles, keep an eye out for future articles from us or subscribe to receive the latest updates direct to your feed reader.

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