Each of these different types of links affects site ranking differently for engines that take linking architectures into consideration. For example, a dangling link could be ignored entirely by a search engine, or the page to which the link points could score lower on the linking metrics because all the links are coming into the page, but there are none going out. And that’s what makes linking such a fine science. You need to know how the links on your site will affect the amount of traffic the site has. You also need to know how to have links without going overboard, so that the crawler labels your site as a link farm.
Snagging inbound links
Nearly every web site has links that lead out to other web sites. It’s rare to find a site that doesn’t link to another site somewhere on the Web. That’s how communities are built around specific industries and topics. And the links that leave your site are important, but they’re not nearly as important as those links that lead to your site. These inbound links, as you’ve already discovered, are seen by search engines as votes for your site within a particular community of sites.
Anytime you’re being voted for, you want to have as many votes as possible. Inbound links are no different. You want to have a large number of links that lead to your site. You can achieve those links in a variety of ways, some more effective than others:
- Requesting Links: The oldest method of gaining inbound links is to request them. This requires that you study your market to find out who the players involved in the market are. Then, you contact each one of the sites that you discover and ask them to link to your site. In most cases, the person you contact receives your request, but providing links to other sites is the least of their worries, so you may not even hear from them. If you do, it can sometimes be months later. So, you put a lot of time into requesting links from other sites for a relatively small return on your efforts.
- Writing Articles: One of the most effective methods of gaining inbound links is to offer an article for other companies to use as long as they include a paragraph of information at the bottom that includes credits for you as well as a link back to your site. This method of gaining inbound links works well, because web sites are always looking for good content to include on their pages. The catch here is that the article you write should be wellwritten, accurate, and useful to other sites in your industry. Once you’ve produced an article that meets these requirements, you can begin to let others know that you have content available for them to use for free. Just remember to require a link back to your site in return for the freedom to use your article on their sites.
- Blogs: Another way to get links back to your site is from bloggers. What started as a strange phenomenon that was mostly personal has now become a powerful business tool, and many businesses rely on links back to their sites from the various industry bloggers out there. In most cases, though, bloggers aren’t just going to stumble onto your web site. Here is the example how we use blogs to create backlinks: T20 World Cup News, T20 World Cup Photos.
It’s far better for you to contact the blogger with information about your organization, some product that you offer, or with news that would interest them. This information then gives the blogger something to use in his or her regular posts. Keep in mind, however, that you can’t control what a blogger might say, so it’s possible that the review you get from the blogger won’t be favorable.
- Press Releases: Press releases are one of the mainstays of any marketing program. It can be so effective that many organizations hire companies to do nothing but distribute their press releases as widely as possible. What’s so powerful about a press release? It’s just the facts, including benefits, and it’s sent out to publications and organizations that might publish all or part of the press release. Use press releases to send out new items of all types, and send them as widely as you can. New organizations, publications, newsletters, even some forums will post press releases. When you write it, make sure a link back to your site is included in the press release. Then, when someone posts it, the link you provide leads back to your site.
- Affiliate Programs: Affiliate programs are a type of paid advertising. Amazon.com’s affiliate program is one of the best-known affiliate programs. You provide a link to people who want to link back to your web site. They place the link on their site and then when someone clicks through that link to your site and makes a purchase (or converts any other goal you have arranged), the affiliate — the person who placed your link on their site — gets paid a small percentage. Usually the payment for affiliate programs is very low ($.01 to $.05 per click or a small percentage of the sale). But some people make a good living being affiliates, and many organizations receive additional traffic because of their affiliate programs. There are some ethical considerations with affiliate programs. Many believe that because you’re paying for the link back to your site it’s less valid than if you were to land organic links. However, most search engines see affiliate programs as an acceptable business practice and they don’t reduce your rankings because you use affiliate programs. The trick with affiliate programs is to not allow them to be your sole source of incoming links. In addition, most affiliate programs utilize some click-tracking software, which by definition negates the value of the link, because the link on the affiliate’s page is going from that page, to the ad server, to your site. So the link is from the ad server rather than the affiliate site.
- PPC and Paid Links: Pay-per-click advertisements (which i will be covering in future Chapters ) are an acceptable business practice. There is no problem with using PPC advertisements to achieve inbound links to your site. Remember that, like affiliate links, PPC links are not direct links to your site. Paid links, on the other hand, are different from affiliate links — you pay to have a direct, or flat link, placed on a page. Some search engines frown on the practice of using these types of links. Using paid links (especially those that land on link farms) is a practice that carries some business risk.
- Link to Yourself: Linking to yourself is a technique that sits right on the line between ethical and unethical. Linking to yourself from other sites that you might own is an acceptable practice. For example: SEO Expert Blog, but if you set up other sites simply to be able to link back to your own site and create the illusion of popularity, you’re going to do more damage than it’s probably worth to you. If you are linking to yourself and you suspect that you might be doing something that would adversely affect your search engine ranking, then you shouldn’t do it. There are plenty of links to be had without linking back to your own web sites; you just have to work a little harder for the higher quality links.