The art of Good Link Building

Incoming Links are one of the most important factors for high search engine
rankings. If your website doesn’t have enough incoming links then it will be very
difficult to get high rankings for a competitive search term.

It’s also important that you get the right kind of links. 20 “good
” incoming links will get you much better rankings than than 100 bad incoming

OK, so what makes a good incoming link? There are a number of points that can make
a link better than other links:

1. Use your keyword in the anchor text

Make sure that the texts that are used to link to your website contain
words for which you want to get high rankings on search engines.

2. Relevancy

Links from related web pages almost always work better than links from unrelated
pages. Links from unrelated pages may not hurt your rankings (although they are unlikely to help) but Google
likes links from websites that cover topics that are related to yours better.

3. Relevant landing page on your site

While it’s okay to get links to your home page it is better to get links
to the page that is most relevant to the chosen anchor text. If the link text matches the content of the linked pages then it’s more
likely that your web page is really relevant to that term and it’s more
likely that you’ll get high rankings for that search term.

4. Authority Links

Links from pages with high “authority” will help to increase the TrustRank
of your website. Links from websites with high PageRank have a positive
effect on the rankings of your own site.

If a website
is well known and if the site has good search engine rankings then it’s
likely that it is also an authority website.

5. No nofollows

The nofollow attribute tells search engines that they should not follow
a link. Links with that attribute will not help your search engine rankings.

You will probably have to check the HTML code of your link partners
to find out if they use a nofollow attribute to link to your site (do this by viewing the source, finding you link, and looking to see if “nofollow” is present)

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Kicking Off a NEW Link Building Campaign

When starting up a new link building campaign, there are two basic questions you should be considering :

1. What is unique about your site that others might want to link to?
2. Who might be interested in linking to you, and what information would be of use to them?

Gaining a good understanding of the answers to these questions is a fundamental starting point . It helps you gain an insite into the types of information that you may be able to offer the people in your space, or related spaces. It will very likely also highlight, extra contenmt that you may be able to provide, which will offer added value to your customers and potential customers.

Here are the five things that you should also think about when kicking off a new link campaign:

1. Start by identifying who the major media people are in the same space as you. At this stage dont’ be too concerned about their potential to link to you. This should form a complete list of traditional media, bloggers, government, school, and hobbyist sites that are related to your products/services.

2. Next prioritise the list ranging from top tier players to lower tier players. Links from from any of them will help, but getting a link from a top tier player is worth more effort.

3. Re-examine the current and potential content of your site to see how it matches up with the needs and interests of the top tier targets.

4. If necessary (and it usually is), put in place a content development plan to implement the right types of content to match up with the best targets. Several new articles may need to be written.

5. Begin the process of contacting your targets, and getting them interested in the unique cool content that you have.

Remember, good link building should always starts in the same place – Identifying the targets… Good Luck !

Buying Text Links – Good or Bad?

I am sure anyone involved with SEO has either bought text links or has at least considered doing it before. There are many methods of buying links online and some methods safer than others. Find out how to buy links safely and which methods to stay away from.

Link Building
Building links is probably one of the most difficult aspects of SEO simply because of a lack of control. You have total control over your website, the content, and HTML structure; however you usualy have little or control of incoming links to your website.

Link Building Methods
Obviously there are many types of incoming links, but the following are some of the most common.

1. Someone just naturally linked to your website for various different reasons.
having someone naturally link to your website, usually provides the highest quality links however it is one of the most difficult methods of gaining links. The chance of this can be improved by providing useful content or information

2. You paid someone for a link going to your website. – see below for details

3. You submitted your website to an online directory or similar-type website.
this is one of the easier methods of obtaining links quilckly and is often useful for new websites, however the quality of the links may not be great, so it’s important to be selective on the dierctorties you chosse to be linked from.

4. You own another website and placed your link on it.
This option is good if you have a number of websites – partocularly if they cover similar topics.

5. You posted comments or an article with a link back to your website.
Is OK and cab provide some decenmt links, but onec again be careful whre you submit to

6. You had a reciprocal link agreement with another website.
his should probably be avoided in most cases as search engines don’t tend to put as much value on reciprocal links as they do one-way links.

Link Buying Overview
It has long been debated within the SEO industry about whether you should buy links or not. The main reason for not buying links is that Google could recognise those links and may not give you any credit, or could even penalise you for it. The other reason is that overall the quality of links that you can buy are not as good as links obtained using other methods.
There doesn’t appear to be a clear answer on this subject overall, however you can often find an answer to specific link buying situations. There are three questions you need to ask yourself for every link buying situation:

a. Can a search engine determine if I bought this link?
b. Do I know exactly what I will receive once I pay?
c. Is the link I am buying going to help with my SEO campaign?

Examples of Good Link Buys
Yes, these questions are basically the questions that address the concerns for not buying a link and some may think you can not find the true answer but in most cases it is possible. Here are two good link buying situations, our examples will be for an ‘SEO company’:

1. You find a blogger in your area that blogs only about SEO, you send an email to the owner and offer to pay him $100 a month in exchange for posting a link on his blog in the right hand column with the text ‘brisbane search engine optimisation’.
a. Can a search engine determine if the link was bought? Probably not; since it is a custom website and the owner has other links going to his friend’s blogs and other SEO resources a search engine would have a very difficult time knowing the link was paid for.
b. You were clear on where you wanted to have your link placed and the text, you should be fine.
c. Yes, since the blog is about SEO and not dog breeding or some other un-related topic this should help your SEO campaign.

Overall: This is a very good scenario for buying a link and probably the best method. Contacting individual websites on your own that you know are related to your industry can be very profitable. The drawbacks are it is more time consuming and you may have to make several offers before someone agrees; however you will probably be suprised at how many people will accept money for a link.

2. You find a text link broker that has an inventory of websites related to yours. You find a few websites and purchase links through their system.
a. This will depend on the link broker’s programming methods. If the links are delivered via javascript, php, etc. you may run into the possibility that the links can be recognised by a search engine as a purchased link. If the link is strictly HTML you may have a better chance of the search engine not knowing it was paid for.
b. Again this depends on the system; however usually you know what you are getting, but not the exact website in some situation. You may know it is a ‘PR 5’ website, with one link on the homepage and 40 links on subpage and the topic of the website is ‘seo copyrwriting’. However usually you have enough information to make an informed decision on whether to place the link; as long as the information is reliable.
c. As long as you place links only on websites that are related to yours, are not ‘spammy’ and full of garbage links, and are strictly in HTML format you should be good to go.

Overall: This is an easy and quick method as you can sort through hundreds or thousands of potential websites that you know are willing to accept paid links. The main drawbacks are the quality of the links (which you may never really know until you try one for a few months) and the lack of information in some cases (not being able to see the exact website until after you purchase a link). You may also run the risk that the search engines have picked up on certain link text brokers and knows which links are purchased through them.

Link Buying Cautions!
Although the two above examples are fairly safe and effective depending on several factors there are certain situation and conditions you will want to avoid:

1. Never buy a link on a website that is not related to yours.
2. Don’t buy a link that you have to ask yourself if it will be worth it or not and you are left to wonder at exactly what you will get.
3. Do not buy links that are non-HTML based.
5. Avoid ‘link farm’ type situations.
6. Carefully consider the value of the link and don’t overpay.
7. Monitor your results for 2-3 months to determine if you should continue to pay for the link. Is it generating useful traffic (check your usage logs)
8. If possible buy links that include a link on every page of the website, not just one.
9. Buy links on websites that have few outgoing links and have valuable and useful content.
10. Try to keep links for a minimum of 3 months, don’t keep changing websites that you buy links from as it takes a while for the search engine’s to pick them up and add value to your SEO campaign.

Australian Online Business Directories

Michael Visser, an Australian based web designer (and more recently Search Engine Optimiser) has highlighted a distinct lack of resources available for identifying good quality Australian Online Business Directories.

Michael has started to develop and maintain a list at his Australian online business directories page.

While at the moment, it’s still in a very early development stage – at least its a start – If you know of any directories that haven’t been listed and you feel it will add value to visitors feel free to let him know of them…

Do Links Really Matter ?

While most SEOs will tell you that links are extremely important, most small business owners really don’t have any idea of why links matter beyond the simple concept that links will help them rank better.

Jennifer Laycock of Search Engine Guide has recently published a new series of articles entitled Why Links Matter – that examines why links do matter so much to both search engines and to Internet users.

In part one, Jennifer raises the concept of links as the “threads of the web”, helping both search engines and humans find their way from one site to another :

Links Are the Internet’s Road Map
Perhaps the single most important reason why links matter is because they act as a sort of road map to the content on the Internet….

In the early days of the World Wide Web, links were the ONLY way to get from point A to point B. Since there were no search engines you had to rely on people to make note of good sites and to add links to them to their own sites. Once the first major search engine with a “crawler” or “spider” popped up in 1994 it didn’t take long before search engine programmers realized that following links was the most efficient way to find and index new sites.

By the early part of the 2000’s Search Engines were beginning to realise that a site with no incoming links probably didn’t contain valuable enough content to be worth indexing anyway. These days links are essential to making sure that the popular search engines will both find and index all of the pages on your web site. In fact, without links, your site might as well not even exist as far as organic search is concerned.

Why Do Search Engines Need to Follow Links?
It’s important to understand that search engine spiders simply do what they are programmed to do. They aren’t capable of thought or independent action. That means that search engines are unable to visit sites by typing in URLs that they’ve seen on television or by running searches for whatever query strike their fancy. As such, they must rely on links to help them find their way from one site to another.

This is why a good link building campaign will help your site get indexed more quickly and more completely by the major search engines. Spider-based search engines such as Google, Yahoo! and MSN find new sites to include in their indexes by following links from one site to the next.

By working on building links to your Web site from other spidered sites, you’ll eventually receive a visit to your site from one of these spiders and will find your site listed in the most popular search engines.

It’s also why links are essential to the indexing process.

The more links you gain, the more quickly you will be indexed. In fact, the more links you have and the more search engines begin to recognise you as an authority in your topical area, the more often the search engines will visit you and the more time they will spend digging through your site to make sure they’ve included all of your pages.

So, you may have a fabulous site, full of great information and content… but if no-one links to you, chances are the search engines (and by extension just about everyone else) will never find you…

Link Building : Directories

Link building has been critical component of the online marketing mix since the first commercial sites and Internet resources originated.

As search engine optimisation has evolved over the past decade or so, links have become fundamental to defining the value of a site. Whether links are obtained via the old fashioned email request, building or buying relevant authority sites, directory listings, blog comment participation, and the recent phenomena or link baiting; link building has become an important, sometimes frustrating, and ometimes entertaining challenge for SEO’s.

Some of the most valued links can be obtained via payment, and many successful SEO campaigns begin with buying links or paying for editorial review.

Before there were search engines, there were Internet directories. Yahoo, MSN, LookSmart and Netscape have all been involved in the directory business at one time or another, and directories can be an effective way to define a site’s niche while generating some valuable links.

Netscape’s Open Directory Project (DMOZ) took the ‘free’ approach of having volunteer editors review directory submittals, but the realistic business model of paying editors to review the quality of directory listings can assure a fast and efficient turn around.

Below is a list of a number of valued web directories which you can submit your site to and have that listing reviewed (and hopefully approved) in a relatively prompt fashion (all prices are in US$):

1. Yahoo! Directory : The most popular and possibly oldest web directory still lists and reviews sites on an annual basis and these listings are long term traffic generators. $299 per year.

2. Best of the Web : Another older and well used web directory which takes pride in the listing and categorisation of quality web sites. $69.95 per year or $199.95 lifetime.

3. : A proven and well priced directory of business, both brick & mortar or online. $199 first year, $149 to renew.

4. Aviva Directory : One of the newer directories in this list, Aviva has built its reputation with Web 2.0 oriented marketing, link baiting and blogging. It’s a sleek and well thought out directory which your site should be listed in. $34.95 review fee.

5. RubberStamped : offers a clean, user-friendly, up-to-date directory that features human reviewed sites. $29.95 review fee.

6. JoeAnt : Like Best of the Web, Joe Ant is an older and valued directory which is a hybrid of paid and volunteer editing. $39.99 review fee.

7. Gimpsy : Very similar to JoeAnt, this is also an authority directory and excellent for link building. $40 review fee.

8. : Because all submissions are human reviewedGoGuide is considered a trusted source for finding quality spam free content by the major search engines. $69.95 review fee.

9. Umdum Directory : Umdum receives high traffic, has over 100,000 inbound links, has been well received by the SEO industry and is growing daily. $40.00 review fee.

There are many, many other valued web directories out there which offer paid express reviews. More can be found via resources like Search Engine Colossus , Paid Directories and

There is also a very wortwhile list of some of the Strongest Directories (based on the page strength tool at SEOMoz) compiled by Aviva Directory.

Note : A good number of web directories offer featured or sponsored listings which will list up to two or three sites at the top of the directory categories, above all other directory listings. Listings such as these can be very valuable in terms of traffic generation and building your site’s reputation and authority.

The importance of Deep Linking

Updating your pages frequently is one way of encouraging regular visits by search engine spiders, and News sites and blogs, where the content of the site changes on a regular basis, can expect more frequent crawling. However simple updates it’s insiginificant in terms of your ranking compared to the effect quality inbound links will have.

The point is not to get Google to crawl your site as often as possible, but to build links to your pages that tell Google your pages are important enough to keep in the main index (and out of the supplemental index). From that perspective, regularly updating your pages is not a critical ranking factor. Automatically streaming RSS feeds onto your pages in order to make Google think your pages are being updated is mostly useless in terms of getting regularly indexed.

The Rise of Deeplinks

So how do you keep Google coming back and indexing your pages on a regular basis? Simple: You need links to those pages. Getting links to your homepage is not enough. If you want your pages to stay in Google’s main index, you’ll need some quality links pointing directly at those pages.

You don’t need an external link pointing at every page on your site, but making sure your most important pages get some links of their own is a very good idea.

And forget about link popularity. These days, getting lots of little links through traditional methods (reciprocal link swapping, submitting to large numbers of directories) is mostly just a ticket to the Google Sandbox for new sites and a waste of time for older sites.

The key to ranking in Google is not link quantity, but link quality. A small number of legitimate, high-quality links can have an amazingly positive effect on a page’s rankings. And the most effective links are built by creating viral content and networking with other related businesses.

A less labor-intensive approach to link building is to go after some free authoritative links. What’s important is that you determine which pages on your site are bringing in the most money and point quality links at those pages so you don’t lose them to the supplemental index.

If your money pages aren’t link-worthy (if they’re just product listings, for example) and you’re having trouble getting links to them, then create some valuable content on your site that can build links. Once those content pages have built up some strong incoming links of their own, then link them to your money pages.

And when implementing your link-building campaign don’t just focus on links to your home page, but make sure that you also get some deep links to other key pages in your site.

3 Effective Link Building Strategies

For many site owners, link building is a drag. It’s just another thing that “has to be done” in order to build and grow their site. Most are looking for quick and easy link building methods because they consider it to be a necessary SEO evil instead of a long-term marketing opportunity.

In a recent article on Search Engine Land, Debra Mastaler discussed three highly effective tactics anyone can use to jump-start linking efforts.

Debra describes the following Link Building Strategies :

Refer & Recommend.. Getting recommendations and endorsements from highly visible industry experts almost eliminates the necessity of selling yourself and is the epitome of getting business in general to link to you. When you look at it from this point of view it makes sense to focus your efforts on getting links from the power players in your niche rather than chasing down reciprocal links or buying site-wide ads. Consider creating a company advisory board and invite the movers and shakers of your industry to be part of it. Tap into the collective business knowledge and link power these people hold.

Show and Tell. Whether you offer a service or product, dangle a carrot and give away something of value in exchange for the link. Step away from the mindset that you have to swap a link for a link and offer a free or lite version of your product as the incentive instead.

Expose Yourself. Now, now, not that kind of exposure! I mean the type of editorial exposure you get when you work the media. Explore alternative angles in addition to doing the standard press release submission. Write a letter to the editor of a newspaper, podcast, blog, periodical or trade publication in your niche about an issue that’s relevant to your business. Editors who are presented with well written cogent pieces will most likely reprint the piece and/or link to you in response. After all, everyone wants good content these days so make sure it’s yours their getting!

Link building is like anything else worth having— if you want the good stuff, you have to work for it. No matter what marketing strategy you use, it’s the passion and drive you have for your products and business that will be the single greatest element in attracting links to your website.

Using Google Webmaster Tools to increase your link power

Google Webmaster Tools provides a lot of great data. One of the things it will show you is 404 errors on your site. If you look at this data carefully, it can help you increase your valid in-bound links.

Of course, if you see 404 errors listed for pages that you are linking to from within your own site, you need to fix that right away. This will already help your site’s overall page rank.

But the more interesting thing is when you see a 404 error for a page that someone else linked to. Most likely this occurs when someone links to your site, and then mis-spells the link (and also doesn’t check it). When this happens you have people who gave you links for which you are getting no credit. Such a waste.

However, the fix is simple: Put in place a 301 redirect from the page that the person erroneously linked to, to the page they intended to link to. This is a great simple way to pick up link credit for those broken in bound links.