As an SEO consultant I know the importance of links, but what are they and what is the best way to go about getting more? This is an age old question in the SEO industry with many different opinions and views. Unfortunately some are more right than others.
In this post I will refer to only external links, and leave internal linking structure for later discussion. This is intended as a basic guide with basic rules, as advanced link building is very compex and as such cannot be adequately taught in a blog post.
Contextual link building
The first thing to remember is that not all links are created equal! Obtaining an unoptimised link from a PR0 directory is in no way the equivalent of obtaining a contextual, industry related front page link from a PR6 website. For this reason, linking strategies and plans need to be put in place to ensure that the links your website gets are high quality.
As you can imagine, receiving a link from a website that is in the same industry as your own is much better than being linked to from a random website. What a link from an industry-related site is telling Google is that you are a leader in the field. If you manage to receive 100 links from industry-related sites, it shows Google that all of these other websites rely on you and are even referring some of their traffic to your site. After all, the chances of someone clicking on a link to your website on a non-related website are slim – and the chances of them actually finding your website useful are even more slim!
Directory link building
Directory submissions are slowly becoming a thing of the past. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t still get them! Higher page rank directories such as DMOZ and Yahoo! remain highly authoritative. Some SEO tools even show whether or not a site has a DMOZ listing. This shows how powerful such a link can be. Smaller directories are generally not as good, so when building links from directories I will always check the PR of the main page. If this is below a PR2, I will usually pass it over, purely for the sake of time vs. benefit.
Forum link building
Forums are great, and may even generate some traffic for your website if they are appropriately used! Some forums require 50 posts before using a signature; this can be a MASSIVE waste of time, as some links will be nofollowed anyway. The best bet for forum links is to basically act like a genuine consumer. If you find a post that is related to the product you are selling, review it, tell users about it, and RECOMMEND a website that supplies it (plug your website). The more informative the post or reply is, the more chance the link won’t be removed, people will reply, and maybe even buy from you.
Remember to check back for the next part of this link building series next week!