In the world of Search Engine Optimization, nothing is more important than links pointing to your website (inbound links). Here are some interesting points by Andy MacDonald of Swift Media UK on how to dig up those links:
- Requesting Links: The oldest method of gaining inbound links is to request them. This requires that you study your market to find out who the players involved in the market are. Then, you contact each one of the sites and ask them to link to your site. In most cases, the person you contact receives your request, but providing links to other sites is the least of their worries, so you may never hear from them. If you do, it can sometimes be months later. So, you put a lot of time into requesting links from other sites for a relatively small return on your efforts.
- Writing Articles: One of the most effective methods of gaining inbound links is to provide an article for other companies to use as long as they include a paragraph at the bottom that includes credits for you as well as a link back to your site. This method of gaining inbound links works well, because web sites are always looking for good content to include on their pages. The catch here is that the article you write should be well written, accurate, and useful to other sites in your industry. Once you’ve produced an article that meets these requirements, you can begin to let others know you have content available for them to use for free; you can do this by having a ‘free articles’ page on your site or submit the content to article directories.
- Blogs: Another way to get links back to your site is from bloggers. What started as a strange phenomenon that was mostly personal has now become a powerful business tool; many businesses rely on links back to their sites from the various industry bloggers out there. In most cases, though, bloggers aren’t just going to stumble onto your web site. It’s far better for you to contact the blogger with information about your organization, some product that you provide, or with news that would interest them. This information then gives the blogger something to use in his or her regular posts. Keep in mind, however, that you can’t control what a blogger might say, so it’s possible that the review you get won’t be favorable.
- Press Releases: Press releases are one of the mainstays of any marketing program. It can be so effective that many organizations hire companies to do nothing but distribute their press releases. What’s so powerful about a press release? It’s just the facts, including benefits, sent out to publications and organizations that might publish all or part of the press release. Use press release marketing to send out new items of all types, and send them as widely as you can. New organizations, publications, newsletters, even some forums will post press releases. When you write it, make sure a link back to your site is included. You can do free press releases at http://www.i-newswire.com
- PPC and Paid Links: Pay-per-click advertisements are an acceptable business practice. There is no problem with using PPC advertisements to achieve inbound links to your site.
- Link to Yourself: Linking to yourself is a technique that sits right on the line between ethical and unethical. Linking to yourself from other sites that you might own is an acceptable practice. But if you set up other sites simply to be able to link back to your own site and create the illusion of popularity, you’re going to do more damage than it’s probably worth to you. If you are linking to yourself and you suspect that you might be doing something that would adversely affect your search engine ranking, then you shouldn’t do it. There are plenty of links to be had without linking back to your web sites; you just have to work a little harder for the higher quality links.