Building Links #1
Okay. You've designed and written your website, its got loads of great content or products which you are sure will attract thousands of surfers every-day, maybe for financial gain or maybe just for fun. You submit to Google, Yahoo, and Msn, wait a month, type in a few keywords for your site, and.... nothing. Your pride and joy is buried dozens of pages deep in the search-engine rankings, without any hope of attracting all those visitors. Oh dear. What can you do?
First, DON'T PANIC! The way in which you act now, in trying to increase the popularity of your site, can have dire concequences if you go about it in a rash or "quick-win" manner. Take the time to do some research (read this article!), think about your stragy, then implement it. Building popularity and good search-engine rankings is a slow (some would say tedious) process. Do not believe anyone who has a quick and easy answer. These people will also normally try to charge you for their e-book on how to have overnight sucess, or their link-building software. Its a con!
The only way to get a lot of visitors quickly for most websites is to advirtise through Googles Adwords programme, where you pay Google to show your site high up in their search results, in a little box on the left. This can be quite expensive if done wrong, and is a complicated process to get right, so we won't be covering it here. We'll be looking at cheaper (ie FREE!) methods.
About the only thing that webmasters agree on when it comes to promoting sites and getting good search-engine rankings is that Links from other websites helps. If you can get other people to link to you, you will probaly go up in the rankings. If you do it right. And don't cheat.
Its best to go back to basics and think about what a hyperlink from one site to another actually means. At the beginning of the Web, hyper-linking was (and is) a way of letting surfers jump from one document to another, even though they may be hosted thousands of miles apart on different computers, so of course the links would be related to whatever material was on the original page.
This is how you should approach your link building campaign. Always ask yourself - Will a link from this site, to mine, benefit visitors from that site? And will any links on your site, to others, benefit your visitors?
In practical terms this means browsing the site of any potential link, and seeing if it is relevant to your site. Remember that you don't just have to link to their hompage, or them to yours. If only part of a site has relevance, link to that part, or get them to link to a specific page on yours. Commonly referred to as "deep linking" this can have a good efect on the rankings of specific pages on your site.
Always avoid Spam, Scraper, or "Made for Adsense" (MFA) sites. You will recognise these because they will have little content or lots of snippets of other sites, normally with a lot of ads on them. They won't be of help to your visitors, they're just there to make money.
You should organise your link directory logically and have seperate pages for different subjects of links - this will make your links pages a resource for your visitors, not just a huge list of links that noone can be bothered to trawl through.
When requesting links, always put their link onto your site first, in the way that they specify. Then use their contact form, or e-mail, and poilitely request a reciprocal link, showing where you've linked to them, and how they should link to you. Include the HTML of your link, that makes it a lot easier for the other webmaster to add your link quickly.
Don't be put off if its not obvious how to request links on a particular site. Still link to it, them e-mail them by their contact details. You'll be surprised how much better a response you get with a personal e-mail, webmasters are very tired of getting automated mail from link building software.
Build up your links slowly and carefully. There is support for the theory that a site that gets too many links quickly is obviously trying to manipulate the search-engine rankings and will be penalised. 2-3 good links a week would be my maximum.
In conclusion, only link to sites relevant to yours, and think like a visitor. Build your links slowly, and try not to get frustrated at the slow progress, do it right and link building will eventually lead to a popular and profitable website.