Building 101 - The
How To of “Self Service" Links
3-ways (& Other Link Schemes)
Link & Article Exchanges
webmasters concentrated on building unique content that
attracts links naturally, there might be no need for what
I’ve come to call “self service” links
– that is links that we create ourselves through such
methods as off site blogging, article placement, press releases,
and commenting on forums and blogs.
But we can’t always
control the content of the sites we work on, and sometimes,
finding ways to obtain backlinks means building content
off site and linking back to our main site, hoping to drive
traffic and increase the link popularity of a website.
Anatomy of a Backlink
– Backlinks Defined and Examined
Backlinks – hyperlinks
to your website from another website – are the backbone
of the Internet and for many sites, a significant source
of traffic beyond search traffic. Backlinks are also a large
part of the way many search engines determine the importance
and relevance of a web page. Starting with the search engine
Inktomi, which may have been the first index to take link
popularity into account, search engines have made link popularity
an important factor in their algorithm.
Search engines take into
account the content (relevance) and quality of the page
linking to yours. The anchor text – that is, the words
used to link to another page. Anchor text is often underlined
or appears in a color different than the text to indicate
the presence of a link. For example, a link to this page,
link building 101, uses ‘link building 101’
as the anchor text. And search engines see that as an indication
of the content of the page it links to.
Which Way Is The
If you’ve been around
SEO for a couple of days, you probably have heard of reciprocal
links, one way links and three way links. Which
way to turn?
way links are the most valued. They are an indication
that a webmaster has found content of such value on your
site that they wanted to share it with others. In the simplest
terms, another website is linking to yours and you have
not linked back.
– I scratch your back, you scratch mine.
In this scheme, webmasters agree to trade links. When this
is done between relevant sites, it is a useful practice.
It can be a terrific source of targeted traffic if the sites
are highly relevant. Reciprocal links no longer have the
significant impact on SERPs they once had, but they are
still valuable for SEO.
and other dubious link schemes. In a 3 way link,
Site A agrees to link to Site B, and Site C links “back”
to Site A. This scheme is intended to give the search engines
the impression of one-way links for each site. Does it work?
There are plenty of people around to tell you how it worked
– and to tell you how it resulted in problems when
discovered by the search engines.
Watchword Number 1 – No matter what you do
to create links, keep the user in mind. If the development
of a backlink truly offers nothing to a human user, you
are spamming. On the other hand if you are providing useful
tools or content that have the added benefit of a positive
SEO impact for your site, you will be within the search
engine guidelines that define White Hat or Best SEO Practices.
for Off Site Development of Backlinks
Do you like to write? Article
directories are a terrific way to add useful content to
the web while obtaining a link or two back to your site.
The best article directories have standards that ensure
your articles are original and well written.
Of course, if it’s
a well written article, chock full of information, you should
probably consider posting it on your own site before you
submit it elsewhere.
Writing articles for directories
is more than just creating unique content. You need to have
a grasp of SEO – for example, you need to have done
your keyword research. And you need to know how to place
those keywords within your article to maximize its SEO power.
Have you identified a really
great long tailed term? Writing an article tailored to a
long tailed keyword phrase can be a very effective way to
tackle article directories.
These are a few of my favorite
Directories can be a good
source of one-way links – and submissions to relevant
directories should be part of your overall link strategy.
Many directories require a reciprocal link. If they are
highly relevant, and you feel you might get traffic from
a listing, then by all means, trade links. But your focus
in directory submission is probably better placed on those
what offer a one-way link to your site. Some are free –
such as Dmoz.org and others, such as Yahoo, require a review
You may be surprised to learn
that when you pay for Yahoo to review your site, Google
does not see this as a “paid link.” If the review
fee is legitimate – that is your site is not guaranteed
acceptance -- then it is not a ‘paid link.’
If you know how to write
a press release, and you have truly newsworthy information
to release, this is an excellent way to get both publicity
and backlinks. But, in my opinion, it’s only worth
the effort when there is a story to be told.
I love forums. I love helping
and I love demonstrating my grasp of a concept. I love learning
– both from other members and from taking the time
to look up an answer or substantiate a fact to help a newbie.
I love being appreciated and I love the business that comes
from establishing trust and credibility.
Forums can be a great source
of quality, one-way links. But it takes a lot of links to
really be effective. If you have the desire to give back
through forum participation, you will get far more than
links back. Find a forum that truly fits your niche and
commit to giving some time to it every day.
Exchanges - Try Article Exchanges
Some years ago link exchanges
were truly the ticket to the top of Google. Many webmasters
set up directories to exchange links – what we pretty
much now call link farms. Some stuck to exchanging with
relevant sites and built a viable resource list (I know
that’s what I tried to do) and others linked willy-nilly
with anyone who would play.
I stopped this practice before
link exchanges lost their luster in Google’s eyes
when I noticed that most of the time my link disappeared
from the other site sooner or later. Today I still get emails
every day asking me to exchange links, though I have noticed
that there is a decided decrease in the number in the few
months, and I simply delete them without even looking. I
see them as just one more piece of spam.
Would I ever exchange a link
again? Sure I would. The site would need to be highly relevant
site and I would probably want to know the webmaster. Given
a strong level of relevance and trust, here’s how
I would do it. I would ask them to give me a unique SEO
tip for my tips page or an article (also unique and relevant,
of course. In turn, I would generate some copy with a contextual
link for their site. The key here is relevance and using
contextual links. The old style of Title: Description clearly
does look like a link farm. But an exchange of content,
which contains a link, has value beyond SEO. It has value
for the user and it provides a contextual link to both sites.
Think creatively with linking
(within search engine guidelines, of course!) but above
all, keep usability and relevance at the top of your list.
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