|Link building doesn’t have to be all about begging. Try building relationships and self branding instead.|
Ask just about any SEO what their least favorite part of search engine optimization and a lot of them will give link building as the answer. Begging for links from authority sites is no one’s idea of fun. Rejection feels so, well, rejected!
Building organic links to your site is something that we’d all like to put on auto pilot as much as possible. There are ways to do this, but they can be different depending on whether your site is brand spanking new or a seasoned veteran.
So, we’ll divide these tips and suggestions into two parts: New Sites and Established Sites.
- Comment on blogs and forums that allow either a link in the text or (more likely) a signature link. Use your real name, too.
- Offer plugins or gadgets that link back to you. Popular plugins and gadgets can be a gold mine for back links. For example, check out Twitter Doodle and RSS Doodle, WordPress plugins which create mash-up posts for your blog from Twitter chatter and RSS feeds, respectively. At the bottom of each page of mashups, you’ll find a link back to the creator of the plugins (Check out this sample page). In addition, folks love cool, free stuff, so you’ll also be getting goodwill, authority and branding.
- Create great content and give it away. Guest post on related blogs, offer articles with links back to you to quality article services or even online news publications.
- Spin your great content three ways to article sites after it has been published on your own blog or site. Once you see your first version cached, submit the spinned versions to other sites. This creates additional unique versions of the article that are linked back to you from off site.
- If your site isn’t a blog, add one! They’re great for on-the-fly content and announcements and terrific for community building. Your content (with links back to you, so use absolute links) will be distributed by RSS for possible reposting elsewhere across the web.
- Rather than check out links to you competitors and try to get links from those sites, build your own unique link community. Linking to competitor backlinks just strengthens them. Don’t reinforce your competition.
- Focus on relevant links, not quantity.
- Link out liberally. I know this makes some SEOs cringe, but when a search engine sees you link out to authority sites, some of that authority can rub off on you.
- Forum marketing should not be overt. Respect the Terms of Service, make useful posts and create a positive reputation. Focus on your niche. Make sure you understand the forum policy on links and signatures.
- Control the conversation. Make your site, forum or blog the informational authority for you niche. The links will come.
- Use Twitter (You really didn’t think we’d get through this without Twitter, did you?). Twitter conversations can bring links to you and it’s a terrific resource for finding related sites to partner with.
- Watch for press releases for ideas. See what others are doing and be ready to respond to breaking news with blog posts, articles and your own press releases (which are still good for back links). Post your response quickly to be one of the first. Go back and edit later to monetize or adjust the title for ongoing rather than breaking news searches.
This barely scratches the surface of beginning SEO and is intended to get you started in the right direction. I go into more detail in my SEO 101 workshop, offered to web site owners and small businesses. Check my blog at http://www.weboptimist.com for more information or contact me to set up a custom workshop for your business group in the Palm Springs area of Southern California. Travel is possible for large groups.