- 114 Ways to Build Links
- 19 Ways NOT to Build Links
This article reveals a checklist of actions you can take to quickly increase the link popularity of your website. In my humble opinion, 80% of free traffic is generated by just two activities:
- Regularly adding high quality, focused content to your website; and
- Getting inbound links from well-ranked, reputable, and relevant sites
If you do these two things well, your website will receive good rankings and plenty of free traffic.
Link building is the tactic of getting other websites to link to your website. This is a crucial part of online marketing for
Three main reasons:
1. Search engines look at how many websites link to yours when they are indexing and ranking your website. This determines how high up the website appears on search result pages.
2. Search engines also look at the quality of the linking sites (namely the “page rank”) and how relevant their content is to your own content.
3. Links from other sites generate traffic directly to your website. If these links are posted on relevant sites, the traffic should be well-targeted Links build your online reputation and authority. If readers in your industry continuously find references to you and your website on many of the sites they visit, their trust in you increases, and trust builds traffic.
I would like to acknowledge the following sources, which were used to help build this list:
1. Aaron Wall’s blog at www.seobook.com – in particular, the article ‘101 Ways to Build Link Popularity’
2. Andy Hagans’s articles at www.andyhagans.com
3. Chris Sherman’s article ‘131 (Legitimate) Link Building Strategies’ Link Building Blog at www.linkbuildingblog.com
114 Ways to Build Links
Whenever you provide free articles, news, or other content, make sure that your name and web address are always provided.
- Give articles away via one of the many article distribution services, such as EzineArticles, iSnare or GoArticles. You can also pay to join a service like SubmitYourArticle, which will submit your article to dozens of distribution sites
- Write articles for your industry’s news sites. For example, Internet marketers can write for Clickz, MarketingProfs or SiteProNews
- Monitor who uses your articles and contact them directly to see if you can provide additional material
- Write press releases and distribute them through PRWeb, PRNewswire, or PRLeap
- Write a press release and offer it to a journalist as an exclusive
- Swap articles with other websites in your sector
- Look for websites in your sector that have “News” or “In the News” or “What People Are Saying” pages. Write a flattering (but honest) article about a site, product, or company and let them know the article is on your website. There is a chance they will link to it. Do a search on “(your sector)” + “in the news” to find relevant sites
- Run surveys on your site and publish the results. Good surveys can generate many links
Articles That Attract Links
Some types of articles attract more links than others.
- Say something controversial (but constructive and factual)
- Create recommendation lists: “Top 10…” or “Best of…” or “10 Tips to…” These types of lists attract inbound links
- Create lists that debunk: “Top 10 Myths…” or “Top 10 Mistakes…”
- Create a directory of gurus or experts in your industry. With luck, they will link to your complimentary references
- Create a directory of gurus or experts in your industry. With luck, they will be vain enough to link to your complimentary references.
- Study what articles are being featured on Digg and other aggregation sites – and think about how you can write similar stuff.
- Support a cause. In the US, the “Free Martha Stewart” campaign generated huge interest. In the UK, the campaign against charging for road usage gained massive support
Become a Guru
- Position yourself as an industry guru and get yourself on journalists’ and bloggers’ Rolodexes. Always make yourself available for comment. Get your name and website into press articles
- Read The Obvious Expert by Elsom and Mark Eldridge (ISBN 0-9720941-6-4), a book with many great ideas about how to become an industry guru
- Offer to speak at industry events. This has a few benefits as far as generating potential links. First, the event should have a web page introducing the speakers. Additionally, some of the event attendees may have blogs where they will write about you. Finally, you can post slides, notes, and podcasts from the event on your site and encourage event attendees to visit
- Create your own list of recommended articles by tagging and bookmarking on one of the many bookmarking websites like Delicious. If people like your lists, they will trackback to your website to read about who you are, or they will link to your bookmark list
- Write in an accessible style. You want as broad an audience as possible to read and link to your site.
- Place a bio and photo of yourself on your site for other webmasters, bloggers, and journalists to download and use when they write about you
- Make your website easy to navigate so people can find the content they are searching for
- Make sure your website looks good. No one wants to link to an ugly site, even if the articles are good. Invest in web design
- List your website on DMOZ, a directory used by Google to support page rankings. Be aware that DMOZ is a human-edited directory that is tough to get into
- You have to pay to get in the best directories, but it is worth it to do so because most people don’t. The ones I recommend are Yahoo! Directory, Business.com and Best of the Web.
- Make sure you get listed in the specialist directories for your industry. For SubHub’s industry, Go2Web20 drives a lot of traffic to our site.
- If there are no directories for your sector, create your own. It’s one way to be sure you get listed!
Easy Free Links
- Think of something you can advertise on Craigslist and Reddit, for example ‘For free information about content publishing, go to www.subhub.com ‘
- Ask and answer questions on Yahoo! Answers. In your answers, you can point people to online resources including your own website.
- Join relevant Facebook Groups. Ask and answer questions, and refer people to articles on your website for answers
- If you or your website have established a reputation, create an entry on Wikipedia. If you can’t justify an entry, try adding links to other entries, but be sure they actually add value and are not just wiki spam!
- Set up a LinkedIn page for your site.
- Set up a Facebook profile, group or fan page.
- Create a page on Medium or HubPages. Make it about your sector, with links to different resources (including your own site). This will help you build a reputation as an industry expert
- Make sure you have an RSS feed on your site. Publish good content on a regular basis and drive readers to your site to view the whole article. People will often put your RSS feed directly onto their website
- Participate in forums and be sure to include your domain name in your signature (where possible)
- Add comments to blogs and reference your website, but be sure to make relevant contribution
- Answer a question that references your site to Quora
Free, Free, Free
Everyone likes to tell their friends where they can get something for free. Offer something of real value on your site and it will generate good links
- Write a downloadable eBook and give it away for free on your website.
- Write a white paper about your industry and give it away for free. An easy way to do this is to run a survey on your site and create a white paper from the results
- Offer a free podcast
- Offer free downloadable templates, images, and screensavers with links attributing them to your site
- Offer a free application that is useful to people in your sector
- Have a competition on your site that requires no entry fee, and make the prize worthwhile to generate a good number of leads
- Release a free Firefox extension, Google widget, Facebook application, or other plug-in to one of the many social networking sites
- If you have a physical product, trade free samples for links and/or reviews
- Many Internet users now have one or more bookmarking accounts they use. Make sure it is easy for them to add your website to the bookmarked list. The easiest way to do this is to include bookmarking functionality on every page.
- Ask your friends to Digg a particular article. If you write a great article, ask your friends to vote for it on Digg. If you get a front page listing, it can drive thousands of visitors to your site, some of whom may create direct links to the article
- Vote on StumbleUpon and ask your friends to give your site a thumbs up
- Look at meme trackers to see what stories are hot at the moment. Write a relevant article, whether it’s an opposing view, new evidence, or case study. For an example of a meme, check out Techmeme
- If you sell something, start your own affiliate program. Make sure all the affiliate links and display ads link back to your website.
Industry, Supplier and Local Links
- Join online schemes like the Better Business Bureau
- See if your local chamber of commerce or other business support group (Business Link in the UK) has a website where you can get listed
- Identify local directories that often have a free listing section for local businesses
- Your local newspaper’s website may have a section for links. If not, contact one of the journalists to write an article about your site
- Ask any suppliers you use to link to your website, and in return, offer to write a testimonial or be a case study
- Get your site listed on the local library’s website
- Establish relationships with non-competing businesses in your sector and come to an agreement about recommending each other’s services via links on your site.
- Write testimonials about other products or services in your sector, but only endorse what you genuinely believe is good. Remember, your credibility is at stake!
Reviews Help You
- Publish reviews of other websites. Let the webmasters of the reviewed sites know, and you may get links in return
- Review new products as soon as they reach the market (or before, if possible). If yours is the first review, it will get a good search engine ranking
- Build a reputation as someone who writes honest and factual reviews, and people will look forward to what you have to say about new products and services
- Write reviews about books and products on Amazon (www.amazon.com, www.amazon.co.uk).
- Create a list of your recommended and/or favorite books on Amazon. Keep the list focused on your subject area, and don’t forget to create a bio (with a link)
- Send your website to review sites
- If your website is new, submit it to Google Webmasters Tools
- Review products relevant to your audience on Epinions and, coming soon in theUK, Revoo.
- Find specialist review sites focused on your sector. One example is PhotographyREVIEW.
- If your online business has an offline counterpart, make sure you add a review at Yelp
- Start your own blog related to your specialty subject area. Keep the content relevant, timely, personalized, and interesting. Get links to your blog and create links from your blog
- Link to influential blogs. Pro bloggers keep a close eye on who is linking to them, and they may link back to your site if they like what they read
- Post comments on other blogs and link to your blog. You want to attract the attention of the blogger and the readers, so make sure your posts are thought-provoking and relevant
- Speed is crucial in the blogosphere. Whether writing on your own site or commenting elsewhere, act quickly
- Tag your blog articles in Quora
- Use Medium to find other blogs in your sector.
Offline links may not help with your search engine ranking, but they can still generate traffic.
- Make sure you have your domain name on all of your stationery, including business cards and letterhead
- Try to get interviews and mentions in the print media. Always provide your domain name to journalists, for example: “Miles Galliford from SubHub.com.”
- Create marketing materials (e.g., A6 postcards) that you can leave in relevant places like industry conferences
- When you go to conferences, take photos and notes and post them on your site
Providing links on your site in exchange for getting your links on another site is an acceptable strategy. Search engines don’t give reciprocal links a rating as high as inbound links, but it doesn’t do any harm.
- Only link to sites you know. Ensure that they are relevant and of similar quality to yours
- If you have two sites, place the reciprocal link on the site that is not being linked to by the exchange partner (if possible)
- Ask to have the link placed in the context of a relevant article rather than stuck on a ‘Links’ page
- Better still, ask the reciprocal site to write an article recommending your website with the link at the end
- When choosing sites to trade links with, think about audiences. For example, if you run a website about retiring early, links from a website offering cruise holidays could be relevant
- Phone rather than email webmasters to exchange links. The conversion rate is much higher
Paying for Links
- Many websites, particularly blogs, allow you to pay for text links on their site. You can often deal directly with the site owner
- Some companies aggregate lists of sites that sell links. Prices vary from $10 a month up to $1,000+. Check out Text Link Ads to understand more
- Run a Google Adword campaign or something similar. The links in the text ads can appear on a lot of sites, but you have to pay for the click-throughs, which can be expensive. This is usually worth doing only if your site makes money from the traffic created by the ads
- Pay bloggers to mention your product, service or website in their posts. Try Pay Per Post
- Sponsor a website. Some websites would bite your hand off if you offered to sponsor them. Try charities, blogs and association
- Sell products on eBay and give the money to charity. Ask the charity to link to your site. Obviously, picking a big and relevant charity will provide the maximum benefit
- Consider buying established (but neglected) sites and using them to link to your site. This is an effective marketing and business-building technique to create a network of specialist information sites. The search engines like sites that have been live for a long time
- Hire a consultant to build links for you. This can be expensive. Try WarriorForum
- If you have a choice about how your link appears on another site, always use a text description for the link. In other words, make the link a keyword to your site. For example, if your site is about designer handbags, make the link “Article by Peter Pan, editor of a specialist blog about designer handbags .” Don’t ever allow text like this: “To read Peter Pan’s blog on designer handbags, click here.” Search engines use the link text or anchor text as a way of determining relevance
- Make sure you assign alt-tags with real descriptions to all your images so they can be found by Google Image Search
19 Ways NOT to Build Links
- Nobody wants to link to a poorly designed site with difficult navigation and no information about its owner. Their credibility is at stake
- Nobody wants to link to poorly written articles, so make sure your articles are factually and grammatically correct
Link Farms and Dodgy Directories
- Don’t list your site in free link farms. At best, search engines ignore them; at worst, they have a negative impact on your site’s ranking
- Don’t allow reciprocal links with sites that are not relevant to your subject. For example, Google would frown upon an organic food site that has links from a poker site
- Never use an automated link generation service that offers to create hundreds of links for $20. The quality of links are usually very poor (lots of adult, pharmacy and gambling sites), which will get your site penalized or even blacklisted by search engines
- Don’t send automated link requests using programs like IBP
- Don’t link from sites that list pages of links, even if they have relevant content
- Don’t spam forums by making comments just to get your link on the site. Don’t post comments like “I agree” or “Ditto” with a long signature file
- Don’t list too many domain names in your signature file on blogs and forums
- Don’t create an alias so you can write posts recommending your site, services, or products. If you are caught doing this, the negative consequences could be far worse than any potential benefits
- Don’t ask the same question on lots of forums on the same day, just to get your link posted
- Don’t create profiles on forums that you don’t intend to post on
- Don’t post comments on threads that are out of date just to get your link on the site
- Don’t spam blogs by adding comments to just get your link on their sites
- Don’t market your site or services in the comments section unless invited to do so
- Be careful about criticizing competitors in the comments section. This can backfire with negative comments about your own website and services
- Only post if you have something worthwhile to say
Pester Power Doesn’t Work
- Don’t pester webmasters; if they decline to link to your site, write a polite note thanking them for their consideration
- If someone asks to be taken off your email list, do it. It’s the law