by John Eberhard

Google has stated that its main criteria for how high your site will rank in their search engine, is the number of links to your site from other websites. So that means one important activity for any website owner is link building; building up the number of links coming to your site from other sites.

But not all links are equal. You can look at the Google Page Rank for a given site and decide if it is worth more or less. But I choose to do it a different way that is more geared to results. I look at the links that I have for my web site, for a client web site, or for a competitor’s site, and see which ones are ranking highly on Google. By looking at that, you know what to concentrate your attention on.

Here’s how to do it. Go to Google and type in your URL like this:
“yourwebsiteaddress.com” –site:yourwebsiteaddress.com

That’s your URL in quotes, a space, a dash, the word “site,” a colon, and the URL again. This will give you an accurate count of your links on Google. If your links are below 1,000, it’s time to get going with link building. Ideally your site should have 3,000 – 5,000 links or more.

So you now look at the results for the top five pages of links, and see what types of sites are coming up there. In my link building activities for clients and for my own web site I have found these types of links to be the most valuable, i.e. because they tend to rank near the top of the Google results:

  1. A Facebook corporate or fan page: Although the popularity of these is exploding and I question how many Facebook users are going to them because they’re getting deluged with “become a fan” requests, there is no question that FB corporate or fan pages rank very highly on Google. Mine is the #1 result for my site on Google right now.
  1. Online PR sites: Press release sites like www.theopenpress.com or www.pr.com rank very well on search engines, making it an important part of your link building strategy to put up optimized press releases on these sites on a regular basis.
  1. Social Media Business Directories: Sites like www.hotfrog.com, www.aboutus.org, and other business directories rank highly on search engines. So putting up a listing for your company on these sites is a good idea, and most are free. We submit to over 20 of these sites.
  1. Blogs: Blog sites are given greater importance in search engines than regular web sites. So putting up a blog that has links in its sidebars to your main site is a good idea. I’ve recently also been putting up blogs on all the free blogging sites such as WordPress.com and Blogger.com and linking them all up to Posterous.com so I can post my article at Posterous.com and it goes out to all the blogs automatically at one time. And I find that all of these blogs rank well on the search engines.
  1. YouTube: Put up a video on YouTube and include your URL in the descriptive paragraph, and that video will rank highly as a link to your site.

Link building is vital. And the above are the link building actions that will show up high in the search engine rankings.