by John Eberhard
Link building is the process of creating links on other web sites that link to yours. These are known as “inbound links.”
Google states that the number of inbound links to your site is the most important criteria in their deciding how high your web site will rank on Google for any given keyword. The higher your ranking on Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines for the keywords related to your business, the more traffic you will get coming to your site from the search engines.
Being on the coveted page one on Google for a high traffic keyword is the sure route to lots of traffic for your web site. But unless you do pay per click advertising with Google AdWords, getting onto page one for a high traffic keyword is not an easy or immediate task.
The first thing you need to do before you start doing link building, is to do some keyword research. You need to find keywords that have some decent amount of traffic (i.e. a decent number of people typing in that keyword) but not a ton of competing sites. That is the gold you are mining for. Because a keyword that gets low traffic isn’t worth your time, and one that has a large number of competing sites – well you’re just not going to be able to rank well for it, no matter what you do.
Your Link Building Program
Once you have selected a group of keywords that you want to rank well for, now the task is to do search engine optimization on your site. Once that is done, it is equally if not more important to do link building. Your link building program should consist of the following actions:
a. Blogs: Put up a blog for your company, with lots of links to your main web site in the sidebars. Then post something to it once a week or more, making sure you use the keywords in the post that you are trying to rank well for. Make those keywords link to an appropriate page on your web site.
b. Free Blogs: I have started a technique recently of putting up blogs on free blog sites like WordPress.com, Blogger.com and so on. Then I hook these up to another site where I can post my article once and it automatically goes out to all the free blogs that I set up. I include my keywords in the article, linking to my main site. This post goes out to 6 blogs of mine, and if I put three links to my site in the article, that means I just created 18 new links.
c. Press Releases: Write a press release once a week and put it on your blog (or all your free blogs per #2 above), then submit it to several online PR sites. These create high quality links to your web site.
d. Put up a Facebook fan page, which always ranks highly in search engines as a link to your site. Just a note of caution, which is that everybody and their mother is putting these up today and emailing everyone on their friend list to become a fan. But they still count as an excellent link to your site.
e. Article Marketing: Post your article on article directories like www.goarticles.com. This is not as popular as it was 2-3 years ago, but I still do it for my own site and several of my clients, and find it still works just as well as it did 2-3 years ago. Each article posting contains a “bio box” which has your name, a brief bio, your company name, and 1-3 links to your web site or sites. Using this technique I can get a site with 100 or fewer links up to several thousand in 2-3 months.
Link building experts used to do what was called “reciprocal linking.” This is where you offer to some other web site owner to put up a link to his web site on yours, and he would then put up a link to you. Google changed their policy and has significantly downgraded the value of these types of links a year and a half ago, so they are no longer effective.
If you have never done any link building actions, your site likely has a couple hundred links or less to it. What you really need in terms of links depends on how many links the sites of your competitors have. But most sites need at least 5,000 or more links to start ranking for their keywords. Link building is a process you have to work on over a period of time, and you have to have patience. I find that it is good to have a list of keywords you are trying to rank for, and then each month check your rankings for all those keywords on Google, Yahoo and Bing. Then count up how many #1 keywords, top ten, top hundred, and top 500 you have. I use a software program called Market Samurai to do this. By doing that and tracking it each month you can see what progress you’re making.