Link building is one of the hardest things to do when it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). By this time, you should have already optimized your website with the Basic SEO techniques I outlined in my previous post.
Never fear. There are a few things we can do to get started. But before we do, here is a term we will refer to a lot. "Link Juice". Link juice is the amount of "juice" that one page can send to another.
You want your website to get as much high quality juice as possible to boost your page rank. For example, CNN.com is a high profile website. They are trusted and have popularity. They therefore earned a large page rank. If they were to write a story about your website and include a link to it, then some of that page rank will trickle down to your website.
.edu and .gov sites tend to have high trust associated to them. If you can get one of those sites to link to you (in a valid legitimate way), then that is awesome and some of that trust will be passed to you. Basically, it's like Google saying "I trust you and if you trust them then they must be trustworthy too".
Alternatively, if a website which doesn't have a high (or decent) page rank linked to you, you can still get some benefit. This website can still be valuable if they are relevant to your business, may be popular in your local area, and links to you in a relevant and meaningful way.
Caution: Do not, ever, and I mean EVER, pay shady websites that have nothing to do with your industry/topic/focus to host a link to your website. This will get you in trouble. Google will find you, and punish your page rank as a result. Its online suicide. Don't listen to any SEO "experts" who say this is fine. It is not! Don't do it. Ever.
Okay, so how do we build these links in an ethical (white-hat) manner?
Get your website added to high ranking directories. It's not worth going overboard here and listing in every directory you find, as there are a lot of spammy ones and Google doesn't care about them much anymore. But, by listing your business and website in a few high ranking directories and social media sites, you can get some free link juice.
Here are some basic directories to get started:
Look at your competitors
The next step in finding where to add links to your website is see what your competitors are doing. There are some useful tools such as the moztool which allows you to check backlinks (sites that are linking to you). This will be a good indicator to target where and how you could be spending your time getting your links added to other relevant websites.
With the uptick in conversations moving from websites to instead happening on Social Media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, Search Engines are now using these as signals in your page rank. Be sure to engage your community on your Facebook and Twitter pages. If there is a lot of discussion about a post you just made, chances are that page will start to rank higher. Your domain will also start to earn more trust (since lots of people are talking about it).
Get your customers to link to you and talk about you (hopefully in a positive manner). If their sites is popular, you stand to benefit from it.
Blog frequently, and make it interesting that others will want to share it and chat about it. Blogs will generate fresh material on a consistent basis if you keep doing it. It's also valuable to your customers and a way to give back to the community by sharing your knowledge. Who knows, maybe one of your readers will one day become a customer.
Get on the forums, and help others out. Your goodwill can only help you. Who knows, that person you helped out might just lead to a new customer.
Be In The News
Okay, calm down. Lets make our own news, and not do anything we would be embarrassed if our mom's found out. But if you do something newsworthy, then tell the press. They will publish the press release, and usually have a link back to your website.