One important factor for determining a website’s ranking in search engine results is the number of links from other websites to that site – otherwise known as back links. Google in particular uses back links to determine rankings in its Page Rank system. Yahoo! and Bing also use it as one of several factors affecting their rankings.
A successful link-building strategy should think about both the quantity and quality of incoming links. A back link is most valuable when:
- it comes from a respected site with a high page ranking of its own – especially if it also has relevant content to the search term. For example, if you specialise in selling bathroom accessories, and there is a link to your site from a leading bathroom magazine site this link will have a high quality.
- the back link’s anchor text is relevant to the content of your site
Here are a few tips on building backlinks
- Build reciprocal links with other relevant sites. Use search engines to find sites with content relevant to your site and offer to place a link for them on your site, in exchange for a link back from their site.
- Joining a forum or social networking site and including links to your site in your posts. This will only work if you post interesting and topic-relevant content – it’s worth building a reputation as a contributor first before including any links back to your website.
- Submitting your site to online directories and resource lists is a great way to improve back links. Search for business directories and post as much information as possible about your products and services.
- Approaching media sites to cover interesting stories or press releases that link to your site.
- Employing an agency to build links for you. It’s important to choose the right partner, as it can have a significant effect on your success. If they use manipulative ‘black-hat’ techniques, it could lead to you being penalised or even de-indexed.
- Link baiting – including attention-catching ‘viral’ content to encourage social media users to talk about your brand and link through to your site.
There’s no shortcuts!
Often people attempt to increase back links by posting links and commenting on irrelevant articles. Back link software is also commonly used. These methods are considered to be black hat SEO techniques and search engines often penalise sites for undergoing these methods. Content is king, and having high quality content on your site will encourage people to visit it. Focus you energy on building quality links, and generating high quality content for your site. Users like good quality, and they will promote your content if it’s good.