Smart Link-Building Practices
Achieving incoming links to your website is one of the best things you can do to increase your site's online presence. However, it's also one of the most difficult to achieve. We've compiled a list of practices that can help you make your link-building as productive as possible, as well as practices to heed and avoid.
Smart Strategies: There are no shortcuts to building links. When considering the paid services, keep in mind that building links is not an easy thing to do. Therefore, if a company or individual is offering you an amazing amount of links for minimal effort, there’s probably something sketchy about it. Links are an important part of a well-balanced search engine optimization plan, but they’re not the only thing that a search engine relies on to determine a site’s worth. Focus your efforts on building the best content on your site that you can.
Create Content: Integrate a page on your site for videos illustrating how your products are made, used, installed, or maintained. Add researched, complete articles to a section of your site. Add questions to your FAQ page, or if you don’t have an FAQ page, start one. Develop a method for getting customer reviews, through a user-generated site such as Yelp.com or AngiesList.com, or through a paid account such as Epinions.com. Start a blog and post regularly. The best content naturally acquires links, because it is useful information that people want to share.
Ask for Links: Do some research and locate other businesses or agencies in your industry. If you have complementary information, ask the other site for a link and offer one to them as well.
Produce Content for Other Websites: Look for opportunities to be a guest blogger for someone with a blog in your industry. Share your expertise via articles that are posted to how-to sites. You likely will get a brief bio that will introduce you and link back to your site.
Develop a Social Media Presence: Even though posting to Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites doesn't count for direct incoming links, social media results are now a part of general search results on both Google and Bing. Developing a social media presence on the major networks makes you easier to find and gives you more results that will appear when people search for information related to you, your business, your products, and your services. It’s best to approach link-building by considering a handful of high-quality pages you would like to get links from and working toward that goal. That is a better approach than trying to link to and from everyone and anyone. However you decide to approach link-building, it requires creativity, relationship skills, perseverance, and a good pinch of luck. Smart link builders also are aware of practices they should avoid.
Paid Links: Receiving or requesting a link in exchange for any sort of material incentive can be deemed a paid link. Don’t buy links unless you’re buying them as advertisements, in which case they should be clearly marked as ads or sponsored links.
Link Farms: Setting up several sites for the purpose of linking to the site you want to promote is an attempt to manipulate the servers and is easily detectable.
Comment Spamming: Comment spamming is when users add a comment to a blog post or a forum just to obtain a link back to their site. Spammers use software to submit these links in comments across thousands (and even hundreds of thousands) of sites.
Directory Submission Software: Software such as this automates the process of submitting a site to thousands of directories. For a fee, software services promise to add your site to numerous directories. And you may, in fact, end up with a few links when the deal is done. But directories are low-quality links and usually drive zero traffic. If the directory charges no fee to be listed, it may be beneficial, but many directories do charge fees so make sure that you are getting some value for the payment.
SEO “Link-Building” Services: Typically, these services offer thousands of links at dirt cheap rates. However, these companies have engaged in the practices listed above: creating cheap, poor-quality sites to which they can link; link directories, farms, and exchange scams. Paying them to buy links for you will do nothing but align your site with poor quality sites all over the web.
Google is vigilant about seeking out link schemes, and they update their algorithms regularly to devalue these types of links. They are concerned with paid links that are an attempt to manipulate a site’s ranking on Google, and can lead to a Google penalty. If this happens, Google may completely remove your site from its listings. Your site should meet Google Webmaster Guidelines. If it doesn’t or you feel that your site has been penalized, you can modify the site so that it does meet the guidelines, and then use Google’s form to submit your site for reconsideration.
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