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Link Building 101

Link building is a classic way to grow your business. Heck you could even call it “Old School” in the fast paced internet world where concepts are outgrown within a few years. Of course as many of us know, sometimes the classics never go out of style; especially when they are still so effective.

One reason linking building is so great is because the number of ways you can do it to grow your web presence. Of course that makes it a bit of a catch-22 because there are ways you can screw up the process as well, which with Google cracking down on things it finds offensive can really limit your long range goals of building an online empire (or at least a small fiefdom).

So to ensure you don’t damage your brand, let’s look at some of the right ways and wrong ways to build links.

Right Ways to Link Build

  • Relevant or Fresh Content – People don’t want to link to a site with nothing to offer, so make sure that yours has new and updated content regularly. If you opt to use an idea or concept for an article that has been posted elsewhere, make sure you add to it or use a different slant to ensure that your information is original and useful.
  • Build Slowly with Directories – A lot of people are in a hurry to add their site to every directory under the sun as they launch. Why? First of all there are usually a few bugs or some content to be tweaked so your product isn’t exactly finished. Second, it works better to add to a new directory or two each week to gradually build traffic. You want to show consistent increases and no one giant flux in popularity.
  • Link to Different Pages on Your Site – When building links that point to your own site don’t fall into the habit of only linking to the home page. People are following a link to get specific information so make sure they land there otherwise they will probably just hit the “back” button. Plus your site will rank better if links are spread out between the home page and deeper pages.
  • Quality is Still #1 – Quantity still doesn’t outrank quality in the linking game. You want to build with the best links possible. Also within that quality is the idea of using diversified anchor text that is natural and rotated to get the most out of it.
  • Diversify Guest Posts – Some people think guest posting on the same site over and over is great for traffic. The thing is that your bio link doesn’t change and after a while those 20 articles are really just 20 duplicate links on the same site which will de-value your overall ranking. So make sure to post on more sites and if you want to keep posting on the same site have another author with a different bio/link location post for variety.
  • Use Social Media – People should be encouraged to build links from social sites to specific pages within your site. Shares and tweets of articles and videos can give a short boost to your rankings. Yes, they will go back down but during that boost you rank higher. So make sure to have those share buttons available!

Wrong Ways to Link Build

  • No Spam Please – I hate spam and garbage comments. Anyone who has to moderate a site that allows comments probably does too. If you are spamming back links to your shoe deals on a site that is about horses then I am talking about you. It is perfectly fine to add to a conversation and perhaps include a link to your own site IF the topic is relevant or you are using it as a reference but in general if you are posting on sites it should be to show yourself as an expert. Of course you can include your site as part of your signature which will drive traffic if what you say is correct and adds value.
  • Duplicate Content – If you are guest posting to build links, don’t repost those posts on your site as well. Also don’t rehash existing content on your own site or even blatantly steal other people’s content. The idea is to be informative and original about your subject or area of expertise so people want to link to you with high-quality versus low-quality links.
  • Don’t Buy Links – Just don’t. You want high-quality and relevance which you simply cannot buy; you have to earn those.
  • Don’t Over-Link – For people who build links by guest posting, the key is to be subtle. One link built into the article and one with your bio should be enough. These articles aren’t just a way to sell your site; instead you are selling knowledge and experience. Plug Google really only reads one link.
  • Don’t Post Junk – Some people write a piece of junk content and attach rich anchor texts and call it a day after it posts to a big site. Why? A well written article will get more shares and exposure which then gives the article and thus the links more legs to run with.
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