10 Commandments of Link Building
by Brandon Cornett
Mistakes Are Costing You Big $
What do smart affiliate marketers know...that
Links today are what keywords were several years ago -- the hottest topic in SEO.
Search engines, particularly Google, use link popularity to help evaluate and
rank your website. Link popularity refers to the number, quality and relevance
of inbound links from other websites to yours.
people waste a lot of time seeking links in the wrong way and from the wrong places.
The "10 Commandments of Link Building" will help you avoid such time-wasters
and achieve true linking success.
Thou shalt recognize the value of links.
For now, and for the foreseeable
future, link building and SEO walk hand-in-hand. Linking profiles are one of Google's
top ranking factors, and the "other" engines use them as well. Once
upon a time, you could simply write a lot of keyword-rich content and rank well
for it. While that may still be the case with MSN / Live Search, it no longer
carries you very far with Yahoo or Google. That's where links come in.
Thou shalt begin link-building on thine own website.
"What is this
heresy? Link-building starts on my website? Who ever heard of such a thing?"
All too often, I see website owners throw up a new site and go out hunting for
links before they have a site worth linking to. Link building always starts on
your own website.
about it for a moment. Aside from directories and paid listings, few people will
link to a bare-bones website that offers nothing unique, helpful or interesting.
If you start hunting for links before your website has earned its place on the
web, you're going to have a long, hard time of it.
the other hand, if you build the kind of website that makes others in your industry
or niche say, "Wow, that's really something! I know some folks who would
like that," then your link-building efforts will be a breeze. It all starts
with what you put into your website.
Thou shalt pursue the right kinds of links.
Not all links are created equal.
Sure, you want a lot of links to your website ... we all do. But you should always
put link quality before link quantity. Jim Boykin, SEO expert and owner of WeBuildPages.com,
said it well:
not always 'He with the most links' who wins the game
Really, very often,
he with the right 10 links can beat the guy with 1,000 of the wrong links. I see
it all the time."
makes for a quality backlink? Generally speaking, the most valuable links for
SEO purposes are those that come from older, well-established sites within your
Thou shalt alternate link text.
To gain visibility for more of your key phrases,
and to make your linking profile seem more natural to search engine algorithms,
it's a good ideas to mix up your link text. For instance, instead of having a
thousand backlinks to my site using the phrase "real estate marketing,"
I strive to get a broad mix of link text. I shoot for "real estate marketing"
and "Realtor marketing" and "real estate SEO" and ... you
get the picture.
Thou shalt find links everywhere.
Links are everywhere, and they're what make
the web, well
a web. So link opportunities are everywhere, as well. You
can gain links by publishing articles online, syndicating press releases, submitting
to directories, participating in forums, growing a blog or becoming an authority
in your field. You are only limited by your imagination, and imagination is our
Thou shalt be creative.
Quick story. I was doing some link building for a
home buying website once, and I thought I had exhausted my options. I had submitted
press releases online, submitted the site to directories, published articles with
the big article directories, and even written a few link request letters (which
I normally don't bother with).
it dawned on me. There were hundreds, possibly thousands of websites out there
looking for the kind of content I could provide, but not knowing where to look.
So I began searching phrases like "home buying articles" and making
a list of websites that provided this content.
I emailed these sites one by one and invited them to use any of the 100+ articles
I had written on the subject. All I asked was that they keep the author's note
with hyperlink. By being proactive with my article publishing, I earned more than
30 new and highly relevant links! When you combine quality content or a unique
website with strong imagination, your link opportunities are limitless.
Thou shalt not waste time with silly link requests.
The higher your website
ranks, the more link-request emails you are going to receive. It's a law of the
Internet. Let me save you some time and energy by saying you can delete 90% of
these emails. Why? Because 90% of the time they are from sites looking to "feed"
off your good rankings, but offering nothing in exchange.
have one website that's ranked very well for its key phrases. It generates a lot
of email requests from brand new sites that aren't even indexed yet, much less
ranked well. Is that a fair exchange for me? Hardly. What's worse, most of these
sites have nothing to do with my subject area. This is the 90% you shouldn't waste
in a while, however, you'll receive an email that's actually personalized and
specific. It will be intelligent, it will be from a site similar to yours, and
it will be worth considering. In other words, it will be part of the 10% club.
Thou shalt track thine own progress.
If you put a lot of energy into your
SEO program, you need to be able to track your progress. There are business reasons
for this. But more importantly, there are morale reasons for it. You want to feel
good about what you're doing, right? You want to see some positive results to
justify your hard work, don't you? Of course you do. So keep track of your link-building
progress the same way you keep track of your traffic and rankings.
are a number of tools online that can help you identify links from other websites
to yours. Yahoo Site Explorer is my favorite. You can use Site Explorer (http://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com)
to quickly and easily find out which websites are linking to yours. You can also
export this information into a spreadsheet for further use. Nice, huh?
Thou shalt keep the big picture in mind.
Yes, links are a big part of your
website's visibility. But there's a lot more to SEO than links. In fact, let's
look at the bigger picture and say there's a lot more to online success than gaining
links. If you tend to get carried away with certain tasks, like I do, then schedule
your SEO efforts to avoid focusing only one thing. Set aside some time for link-building,
article writing, website improvement, product development, etc.
other words, don't adopt "SEO tunnel vision" to the point you neglect
your website's primary offering (whether that be products, services, content,
or a combination of the three).
Thou shalt enjoy aging well.
One of the things I live about SEO is that it
gets easier as you go. When you put the right fundamentals in place up front,
you'll be able to increase and/or maintain your visibility with less effort over
time. Most search engines -- and especially Google -- place a lot of emphasis
on the age of your domain, your individual web pages, and the links coming into
those web pages. Like a good wine, links get better with age.
Brandon Cornett is the author of the "Agent's Guide to Search
Engine Visibility," available for immediate download at ArmingYourFarming.com.
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