Figuring out where to get your incoming links from is like solving a puzzle. It takes a little creativity coupled with following formulas and patterns. Ask yourself, who else has a site that might benefit from linking to me?
Suppliers you do business with or professional organizations you’re involved in might be willing to list you on their referrals page. Other professional organizations you do business with might also like to list you as a client or maybe showcase your business in their online portfolio. Your customers may have blogs or personal homepages that could link to you, and so forth.
Here are a few more ideas to help you spark that creativity:
- Many online business owners write articles about topics related to their sites. Then they offer to let other sites use them as content in exchange for a link back to the author’s site. You’re probably an expert in the business you’re in and therefore an authority on certain subjects that may lend themselves to interesting reading that becomes worthwhile information for a basket of ancillary products and services.
- Swap” links with a partner company that you closely do business with – or whose services compliment your own. Look for business partnerships with other websites that are useful to your own customers and whose customers are useful to you. Look for compatible (but not competing) businesses, then form a partnership where you link to each other actively through mutual promotion. Not only can this bring in new traffic and boost your PageRank, but you may also develop important business relationships this way.
- Press releases are an excellent way to gain relevant links to your company’s site. Again, be creative – chances are that there’s a number of reasons (product launches, new videos, promotions, partnerships, new services, new ebook, new membership options etc.) you can find to release news about your company to the press. Press releases are quickly picked up by the engines and the links contained within them are typically trusted. They also tend to remain on the web for a good long time.
- Another interesting way to promote your own site is to submit testimonials, along with a link to your site, about products you are really enthusiastic about. If the testimonial is well-written, the company will often post it on their site.
- One of the more under-utilized “secrets” for gaining incoming links is to participate in forums that allow a text link to your site within your forum signature. Look for subjects in which you are knowledgeable and begin posting – asking and answering questions. Be sure to make legitimate contributions and you’ll find that your participation will be a welcomed addition in spite of the plug for your site.
- One of the most potentially productive tips – Find out who’s linking to your competitors and convince them to link to you instead. Go to Yahoo and enter:
in the Yahoo search box and you’ll learn who you should contact. Bear in mind that whenever you’re successful in getting someone to switch, you gain twice. Once for gaining a new link, twice for reducing the incoming link count of your competitor.
- If the link is an especially good one (authoritative site in good standing with great incoming links, few outbound links, and high PageRank, then pay them if you have to. Offer them a better deal than the one they have (if any). Do whatever it takes to get those quality links! Write it off under the cost of advertising.
- By using your imagination and dovetailing the nuances of your own business into the mix, you’ll no doubt discover a plethora of opportunities for gaining legitimate incoming links.
- When all else fails, you may begin considering reciprocal links. We don’t like this strategy all that much because search engines are continuously getting more sophisticated about detecting artificial linking patterns. Unfortunately, one of the most artificial linking patterns is reciprocal links, since natural link patterns are not typically reciprocal. If Yahoo lists a site in their directory, that site doesn’t routinely link back to Yahoo. Of course there are plenty of exceptions, but, regardless, the engines are looking for pages that rank well due to popularity based on content – and they want to avoid sites where it appears the webmaster has spent a lot of time swapping links.
So, look at things from the search engine’s point of view. If CNN runs an article about how great your company is and your company’s site links back to the CNN article, does that look normal from the SEPOV? …sure it does. Besides, CNN is an authoritative site that is white listed. They can do no wrong in the eyes of the engine and the link exchange looks like a natural link structure from the SEPOV. And, your site’s page can expect a substantial boost in ranking.
On the other hand, if your site (with it’s PR=4 or 5) is linked by Joe Blow’s homepage with a PR=1, 2, or 3 and you link back to Joe’s page, you shouldn’t expect much, if any, boost in your rankings. In fact, it’s entirely possible the two links are discounting each other based on an assumed link exchange arrangement that looks contrived because neither page is “authoritative” from the SEPOV.
Now, if you had, say 50 similar link arrangements, and the links were on-topic, and none of the pages involved had tripped the spam filters, then your page should get a reasonable boost in rankings. Still, you’d fair better simply by getting a single killer link from an authoritative site like CNN, Yahoo Directory, DMOZ, ZDNet, and so forth.
The point is, focus your efforts on collecting all the links you can from authoritative sites. Most importantly, be very careful about who you link back to because you might just be diminishing any benefit that would otherwise be derived from your incoming link. And, in terms of building page relevancy, there is rarely, if ever, any benefit to linking back to sites that are insignificant, untrusted, or suspected of behaving badly in terms of SE protocol. It can even hurt you