SEO has the ability to drive massive traffic to any web site, provided you are doing it right. The number one ranking factor, by far, is the number and quality of links pointed at your website. In olden days all you needed was great number of links pointing at your site to rank for most any phrase. Google told us they cared about quality, relevant links, but what they said and what they did were two different things. Today, all that has changed.
Today Google is backing up the tough talk with a hard-core focus on quality and relevant links to your site; and a bunch of low quality links and over-optimized anchor text will do you no good at all.
So all this begs the question; if you can’t just go out and automate your link building, how do you actually build links to your website?
Here are 10 ways to build links that still work today, along with specific recommendations and tips to help you master each link building technique.
1. Write a Guest Post
Of all the link building techniques I know if, my favorite by far is guest posting. Writing guest posts is an excellent way to get back links to your site. When you write a guest post on another blog, most publishers will allow you to include a bio with a link back to your site. To be safe and ensure your links don’t look too manipulated, be sure to link your name, the url of your website or the website/business name. Don’t link the same descriptive text from bio of every guest post you write, as that may start to look manipulative over time.
Guest posting has become so popular that many blog operators receive dozens or hundreds of offers a week to guest post, so here are a few things you can do to make your offer stand out:
- Personalize your offer: mention details about the other person’s blog near the beginning of your offer. This helps prove you’re familiar with them and their audience, and that you’re not just an automated bot.
- Look for sites with roughly the same page rank as your site. Don’t target the major sites unless you run a major site.
- Consider posting insightful comments to the other person’s blog for a few weeks before you make your offer. If they recognize your name, they’re much more likely to accept your offer.
2. Create a List
One of the less frequently use link building techniques and a great way to build tons of quality inbound links is to create THE DEFINITIVE RESOURCE about some area that is a good fit for your website or business. The list that is novel and informative; exhaustive and well researched.
Examples are: Big List of Search Engine Marketing Blogs (over 400 marketing blogs all categorized and reviewed) and the annual 25 Women Who Rock Social Media post. Keep following points in mind:
- Pick a list unlike anything else out there.
- Put a lot of time into creating the list. And don’t just list the resources. Put the time and effort into writing a brief review about the people or web sites that comprise your list. Tell your readers WHY you thing they’re awesome/terrible/creative/resourceful etc…. . You don’t have to have a COMPLETE list the first time you create it. It’s totally OK to update the list as you go, maybe adding people each month, quarter or year. The Big Blog List mentioned above took shape over many years.
- If your list is based on something positive, be sure to let the people know you’ve added them to the list. Circling back and welcoming them into your community is a great way to build relationships and odds are much better that they will promote the post by sharing or adding your badge to their website.
3. Hold a Contest
Another great way to generate links back to your website is to hold a contest. Hold a “Best Blog In Your Industry” contest. Hold any contest that might get traction and awareness in your industry. Keep following points in mind:
- When creating the rules of your contest, instead of private submissions via emails or forms, make the submission a public post on a blog or other website with a link back to your site. Then the applicant can notify you of the page that linked to your site via email if necessary.
- Promote the HELL out of your contest. The more people know about it, the more potential links you can earn.
- Contests of this type are WAY more successful when you already have a killer community to draw on and excite.
When you run a contest, you do want to make sure the word gets out. Email your fellow bloggers and put several announcements on your site before the contest ends so there’s plenty of opportunity for other people to link to you.
4. Press Releases
Press releases sound like an old, pre-web system, and they are, but lots of people still use them to good effect. Consider the contesting technique discussed above. You can use a press release to announce your contest so the word gets out much more quickly and much more broadly than if you used simple email and blog posting.
Release gets picked up by 100 or more news organizations who are starved for content, and your release includes a link to your website, most of those links will count. They probably are not as valuable as the editorially given link from within an original article, but there is some value there. Keep the following points in mind:
- Only issue a press release when you have something that is truly newsworthy to share.
- Make sure your release includes some of the keywords that are related to your product, service or business.
- Include one, maybe two deep links to internal pages in your website – preferably to a product or service page related to the release.
- Use one of the better known news distribution sites to maximize reach.
5. Create a Video
Videos and video tutorials have been the hot thing on the Internet for several years now, and they show no signs of slowing down. You can take advantage of this trend by producing a few videos and including links back to your website with an offer of more information.
Videos don’t work for every niche, so this is something you want to experiment with before investing too much time. But you might also find that videos are, for now, one of the best link building techniques. My best secret about YouTube traffic is that it is targeted and converts well and that is exactly what every site owner needs.