As most everyone who isn’t a newbie to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) knows, building links is one of the most important activities to excel at, if you want to eventually rank high on the Search Engine results pages. But how do you accomplish this? When you are first getting started, it seems to be a daunting task.
Frankly, without using black hat techniques that will ultimately cause you more harm than good, it is a lot of work–there’s no way around it. My suggestion is that you look at link-building as a marathon, not a sprint. If you don’t, the task can appear so overwhelming that you might not ever start–which would be very unfortunate. It’s just too important to establishing a strong online presence.
Like just about everything else in SEO, this is a constantly changing area, which you need to stay on top of. This is mostly because the Search Engines are continuously trying to improve their results. The way they believe that this improvement will come about is by ensuring that the results are “natural”. In other words, they are always attempting to overcome any and all SEO techniques which might “artificially” raise one web page over another in their results. What represents good marketing to website owners is seen as obstacles to overcome by the Googles and Yahoos of the world, in a great many instances.
For example, it wasn’t too long ago that joining a link exchange network was a smart and attractive way to build links. But a recent change to the major search engine algorithms has “penalized” reciprocal links, to the extent that most inbound and outbound links “cancel each other out”. It no longer makes sense, in most circumstances, to invest time in reciprocal link-building activities. The exception is if you can exchange a link on your low PageRank (PR) page, for a link on a partner’s high PR page. But to do this successfully in any volume, you will need to find some pretty clueless partners!
So what’s the best way of going about gaining high quality inbound links? Well, there are several that I recommend for just about anyone. A regular Press Release campaign, utilizing an online Press Release distribution service, is a great way to build links. Make sure that you are sending out real news, and not just fluff. You’ll also want this to be useful for your offline marketing, as well. Make sure after you’re written the release “organically”, that you go back and optimize it for your important search keywords. Don’t be so maniacal about this that you mess up the readability, but I find if you go back after your first draft, you can usually make the release more keyword-rich, without negatively impacting the content or readability.
I also recommend that you write articles relevant to your industry or specialty. Post them on your site to build your own content, but as they age, you can also release them via an Internet Article distribution service. If you do this right, you will end up will thousands of additional inbound links over time.
The final method I’d like to talk about is the one just about everyone should start with–Directory Listing. This is a bit of work, but it’s completely free, with the exception of you time commitment. And many of these directories will be of real benefit to your SEO efforts due to their high PageRanks. Anyone can do this, so it’s something you can assign to a junior member of your company. Start with the free directories, and then look at the ones that charge for inclusion, but are inexpensive. In some cases they may make sense as well. A good starting point for this effort is the directory list at http://www.strongestlinks.com/directories.php.
That’s my tip for today on free and cheap ways to enhance your web presence. I hope it helps! Let me know about your own tricks.