Tag Archives: Backlink

Five Tips For Getting Quality Links

For those of us in small business, one of the main concerns when putting up a web or blog site is, of course, getting found. While writing good quality content is extremely important when trying to get found, link building is one of the most effective ways to get noticed by Google.  But what are links, why do we need them and how do we get them?

Basically, a link is clickable text that you can follow to another page.  Think about how you found this (totally awesome and wickedly interesting) blog page. You followed a link from somewhere.  Perhaps it was from Facebook, Twitter or a search.  But you clicked and followed the link here.  The official name of the link is a backlink because it’s a clickable text that point the reader back to your article, website or blog post. The more links that lead back to your site the better because Google considers each backlink like a vote for your site.  The more votes, the more popular you will be and the easier you will be to find.

It’s important to understand that quality over quantity counts (although quantity is good too.) Google always ranks pages with links coming from high PageRank pages, with content related to yours, as more important and relevant than those with lower ranking and seemingly unrelated content.  So linking to high PageRack sites in our niche is more important than simply getting links from unrelated sources. So how do we, as small business owners, develop an effective link-building strategy? While a good link building strategy always starts with great content and it does take some work, it’s not really that difficult to get going.

  1. Social Bookmarking Sites: Social Bookmarking sites are a great way to generating quality links for your website. If you write an exceptional piece of content that has a great headline or title that draws people in, people are more likely to share it on the various social bookmarking websites such as Digg, Stumble upon or Delicious. And while it is less favourable to submit your own content to these sites, if the content is good, with effective headlines and descriptions, you can get a lot of traffic from these sites.
  2. Guest posting: Social media is all about building relationships.  One benefit of building solid relationships with those in your niche is the ability to guest post.  This allows you to not only raise your profile but it also allows for links back to your own site. As always, creating first-rate original content with your audience in mind will help to open doors for you, but getting to know those in your niche works wonders too.
  3. Linking Out: It sounds counter-intuitive but linking out to attract links can be a good strategy.  If you are know the most popular bloggers in your domain (and you should), getting involved in conversations on these blogs is a great way of making sure that you get noticed. Link out to these blogs from your site and take an active part in the discussion on their blogs. Most people track their blogs on regular basis and if they find your comments interesting, they may provide back links for your website too. The key point to remember here is that your interactions need to be genuine as you want to gain the trust of the bloggers and, as always, building relationships helps with building links.
  4. Commenting: Commenting has always been a good way to build backlinks to your website.  When you comment, you leave your name and link to your blog or site.  Commenting, however, should be of mutual benefit, with the blog owner benefitting from a quality, well-thought out comment.  By commenting, you can get some recognition and a link.
  5. Article Directory submission: Submitting articles to article directories is also a good way of generating links for your website. These article directories provide direct links to your website and can divert a significant traffic to your website. To really get the maximum benefit, however, it is important to submit high quality original content as Google discounts duplicate content, Directories, such as Ezine articles, are excellent for creating exposure to your site.

Building links is at the heart of any good SEO strategy. And while an SEO strategy always starts with good, high-quality content, with a solid link-building strategy you can go far in raising the findability of your site.

What are your favorite link-building strategies?

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TJ, King Bob and the Google Sandbox

I was sitting at home the other day, watching my Disney’s Recess (with my kids, of course) and I realized that in the playground hierarchy, TJ is cool but King Bob, who is older, more established and seemingly wiser, is way cooler.  This reminded me of the debate among most SEO experts: PageRank vs. TrustRank.

Now PageRank is comparable to the most popular kid in the class, like my buddy TJ.  However, in school, it’s not just about how many friends you have, it’s about the “cool” factor of these friends.  You may have only three friends but if they are the three coolest kids, you are cool by association.  Similarly, PageRank, a predictor of how relevant a web page will be for any given search, is said to be based on how many other sites link to you.  And more importantly, if the site that links to you is popular themselves, you are even more popular by association.  If plainer terms, if a site like the Huffington Post links to (or likes) you, you’re golden.  So one link from the Huffington Post is better than 20 links from lesser-known sites.  So, does a high PageRank mean a high SERP (Search Engine Ranking Position)?  Well, not exactly.

To make things more complicated, the other important kid in the Google playground is TrustRank.  Now if PageRank is the coolest kid in the fourth grade (like TJ), and all the kids like him and want to be friends with him, TrustRank is King Bob (leader of the Recess playground).  He’s the oldest, wisest, most popular kid in the sixth grade, and subsequently, the whole school.  He’s been around the longest, he has the most friends and he is the smartest kid in school.  In SEO terms, this means the website that has been around a long time, that it has staying power and isn’t just a fly by night spammy site.  It also means that the quality of the back links is high, coming from sites Google considers authoritative and/or relevant to your site, sites that have a very high TrustRank, themselves.  As well, the content on your website should be of very high quality, original and interesting.  Another factor that also comes into play in gaining TrustRank is the optimization history of your domain.  Remember, Google knows all and has a memory like an elephant.

Lastly, the term “Sandbox” was coined as a way to explain why most new sites, after initially getting crawled by Google, fail to show up in the search results. Yet when a “site:domain.com” is performed you can find site pages indexed.  This is because Google, to use the school analogy again, wants to make sure that when you start at a new school, as Gus (my favorite Recess kid) did, you’re going to stick around for a while.  Your site has to earn its way out of the “sandbox” either through time or an increase in properly aged and respectable links.  So Gus, who is still called “New Kid,” despite his stretch at Third Street School being his longest in a single school, will just have to keep hanging around with TJ and the gang and wait it out.