To help ease the confusion in the process of link building, I've decided to write an easy to understand guide for building baclinks and how to easily use them. This guide is not meant for the advanced marketer, but to help inexperienced user to understand the concept and strategies of link building.
What is a backlink? Simply put, a backlink is a URL link from your webpage or website that resides on another person's webpage or website. Backlinks are also referred to as inbound links, inward links, incoming links, and inlinks. In my 6 years of SEO services, I've witnessed firsthand how powerful and important link building is. Backlinks are extremely vital in SEO; it is the most important factor in ranking high on all the search engines, especially Google! In fact, they are the fundamental foundation of good Search Engine Optimization.
Search engines, especially Google, use the quality and number of your backlinks in their formula to determine how important and popular your website is. Google gives higher credit to websites that contain larger numbers of quality relevant backlinks. However, studies have shown that the quality of the backlink is more important than relevancy of the link; I know this for a fact because I have put many of my clients in the number one position in Google with backlinks on irrelevant websites. Therefore, it is far greater to have higher page rank backlinks, than having a large sum of low quality links. Remember, quality always beats quantity.
Anchor text is the hyperlinked words you click on that sends viewers to your webpage. An example of an anchor text is; how to lose weight fast, or 10 ways to quit smoking now. Anchor text is the most important part in link building because it tells the search engines what the page your directing them to is all about. When leaving your backlink, make sure to put the keyword you want to rank for in the anchor text. To leave an anchor text, you have to use this very simple html code exactly how it is written, excluding your domain name and keyword.
Example: I want to rank for the keyword "cheap shoes", and my domain name is; www.oldcheapshoes.com.
Your anchor text will look like this: <a hef="http://www.oldcheapshoes.com">cheap shoes</a>
Example of a sentence with an anchor text: When I was driving to the store, I saw a sign that was advertising <a hef="http://www.oldcheapshoes.com">cheap shoes</a>, so I had to check it out!
One-way links are links to your website that have been placed on another website or webpage. They are called one-way because you don't have to place the recipient's link on your site. By having unique and interesting content, readers will naturally link to you, these kinds of links are very effective and valuable. One-way links show search engines that your website is interesting and popular. Therefore, search engines place a vast amount of importance on link popularity, especially Google! Thus, having more one-way links will increase your chances at ranking high.
Reciprocal link is a mutual agreement between two website owners or webmasters to exchange links and place it in on their website. Reciprocal links are pretty common among non competing websites. Although theses links are commonly used, Google doesn't place as much value to them, as they do with one-way links.
Website A links to website B, who then links to website C, and site C links to website A. It has been said that three-way links are harder for search engines to detect due to the nature or the link. However, I've know a few people in the past who have been caught by Google. Three-way links are short lived, and the long term effects are not worth the hassle.
One of the most popular ways to get relevant backlinks is to write and submit articles to the major article directories. Although the process of creating 100's of articles may be daunting and time consuming, you can get a good amount of backlinks with a well written article. But make sure you optimize your article around the keywords you want to rank for. Also, include your keyword in your anchor text. Note: Be sure to follow the guidelines for each article directory.
Blog & Forum Commenting
Blog & forum commenting is a great way to gain quality backlinks. Not only will you get a link, but you can gain good exposure to your website. Before you comment in any blog or forum, you must make sure that it has a dofollow attribute, otherwise your backlink will not get credit. You can find this out by viewing the website source page. To do this, click on the tab in your toolbar that reads "page", now scroll to the bottom and select "view source". You will see a notepad page pull up, now type Ctrl +F on your keyboard and a little box will appear on the screen. Just type the word "nofollow", if nothing comes up, then you are good to go. Note: When commenting be sure to give useful information, don't just say "nice article" or your post will most likely be deleted.
Press releases are basically articles that promote your website, and if done correctly you can get instant relevant backlinks. Google loves press release because they are the epitome of white hat SEO. However, writing a press release can be pretty difficult, depending on your niche.
Social Bookmarks are sites that allow users to save their favorite websites through tags, where public viewers can see them. There is a lot of talk going on right now about whether theses kinds of links will hold as much weight as they used to. However, social bookmarking has been around for a while and has proven to be a good strategy for getting backlinks.
One of the easiest ways to gain backlinks to your website or blog is to hold a contest. You can do this by asking the readers that are interested to write about your contest in their blog. You can also submit your information regarding your contest to websites and blogs that follow contests. Note: By placing conditions in the term of the contest such as; all readers interested in the contest must subscribe to the RSS feed, will help gain popularity to your site.
Link Exchange or Reciprocal Links
Link exchange also known as reciprocal or two-way links are basically the process of asking other webmasters, blog owners and website owners to exchange links. You can gain a lot of backlinks this way and sometimes you can arrange a way to use your anchor text. However, Google doesn't like these kinds of links and it can take some time before webmasters will post your link.
Buying or renting links can have a better effect in your SEO campaign, than that of reciprocal links, only because they are one-way links. I would highly advise anyone to reconsider the idea of purchasing links, due to the fact that Google and other search engines don't like paid links. Search engines have been cracking down on sites that have bought links. In fact, many websites have been penalized by losing their page rank and even de-indexed for selling links. Note: Buyers of paid links can also be penalized if caught, not just the sellers.
Two words STAY AWAY!
Link bait is one the most effective ways to get a large number of backlinks, it can also cause an extremely high level of viral linking as well. Link bait is any form of content such as; an article or feature in a website that gets viewers interested enough to link to it. The main purpose of link baiting is to create a buzz that will get people to write, talk, and blog about. You can achieve this by writing something thought provoking, infuriating or controversial, some examples of this are; "The Clinton scandal", or "The war in Iraq" it can even be disagreeing with an authority figure.
Leaving your anchor text link on a high pagerank authority site will do wonders for any website (no matter the age or niche). This is the most effective and powerful strategy that you can use in your attempt to rank high in Google. This method alone has been the main reason for my success with my SEO business, and has proven to me time after time to work extremely well. However, locating these high pagerank authority sites can be very difficult to find, and also time consuming. It has taken me over two years to master how to find high ranking authority sites, but once you figure out the equation, you can find them much easier. In order to find these websites, just go to any search engine and type in a category, such as "health", "real estate", "news", etc. You will then get a long list of results, now click on any website. Next, check if it has a nofollow attribute. If nothing shows up then your good to go, the hard part is finding out where to leave your anchor text link. Note: Make sure that you can leave a dofollow link or else you will not get credit.
1. Do not use free for all sites (FFA)
2. Stay clear from any sex related, gambling, and other unpleasant websites.
3. Don't link to sites that have more than 50 outbound links
4. Stay far from pages that are called "links", "link pages" or any url that contains the words "link" or "links"
5. Never use a link farm!
I hope this will help in your link building strategies. Please remember that link building is not a one-time thing, you must stay consistent with any and all methods of backlinking to maximize your results.