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SEO Search Engine Optimization Link Building Guide

Posted by Vance Christensen on: 2006-09-10 23:12:29

Self SEO > Link Popularity Articles


What is Link Building?



Link Building is simply the process of establishing and distributing your website's URL via the web. This is a critical step to the Search Engine Optimization realm as search engines often rely heavily on external links pointing to your website. In fact this is so important that without any links pointing to yours, you'll more than likely to be NEVER found by Google or Yahoo-yikes! This doesn't mean you should go to any site and just start spamming it with your website's URL -- the search engine's algorithms are far too advanced for primitive techniques like those. However, when done honestly, this can promote your website above and beyond your competition as Google vests a lot of its confidence in external linking from relevant websites.

How do I get my URL on other websites, legitimately?

Publishing your website on just any website is a very bad idea as well. You want to make sure that you look over the website itself and see if it's relevant to the content on your own website. For instance if you place your website's URL that contains information about gardening on a site that's dedicated to automobiles, that's a bad idea. This tells Google NOTHING about your website and may actually penalize you in their search results. Look for websites not only relevant to yours, but also ones that are respected by the search engines. Avoid all sites that are cluttered with advertisements or affiliate links -- Google may penalize you for having your links here as well. Stay away from ad farms (pages consisting soley of external advertisement links) as this will further harm you in the rankings. Look for legitimate websites and the way to tell is really just using common sense. If it looks good to you, an honest and content rich website relevant to the content on yours, ask the webmaster if you could place your link on their site. It never hurts to ask .

Don't do overnight linking

Overnight linking is when you prop up your website and then just go out and post your website any and everywhere you possibly can. Spread your link distribution out a bit so you don't have 100 links in a day and for 5 days you have no future external links. Google sees this as abuse and spam and will penalize your website. Trust me, it's all be done before and Google is just too smart nowadays for black hat SEO techniques. Rather, spread your links out so that instead of getting your website 100 external links in a day, aim for doing this in a month. Gradual linking is better in Google's eyes and if Google is happy, that means Yahoo, AOL, Ask Jeeves, and MSN are happy.

Google's PR

Also another way to tell about how generally respected a website is you can use Google's Page Rank tool that's included in the Google toolbar. The PR rates websites on a scale from 0-10. Most websites are only in the 1-4 range, but be happy if yours is 5 or above. This shouldn't be your only basis for rating websites, but it is a good rule of thumb. Don't just go after PR 6 or 7 sites, mix it up a bit. Place a few links here and there on 3 or 4 PR and then go for the big shots.

Note: Many websites have no PR and this is quite common. Some reasons could be due to the fact that it's a new website or is on a dynamic page (page using PHP, ASP, CGI, etc.).

Vary your anchor text

Your anchor text is the text that appears with your website's URL embedded in it. The most common example is "Click here". Now while this is distributing your website, it's not telling Google ANYTHING about what it is. Even if you post it on a website about flowers and your website is about gardening, try and get that anchor text to say something like "Gardening tips" or something more specific. Also try to work your keywords into your anchor text. If one of your keyword phrases is 'Gardening tips' place that in the anchor text. In addition don't place "Gardening tips" for your anchor text on EVERY website. Vary it by placing anchor text like "Gardening FAQ" or "Resource for Gardeners" -- if you have all your external links saying "Gardening Tips" this will raise a red flag with Google and may see it as artificial link building rather than 'organic' (pardon the pun) link building. Artificial link building is black hat and Google does not tolerate it. Your website WILL drop in the rankings if you do this...

IMPORTANT: This is a VERY common mistake. Many people will do what I said in the above paragraph completely right, but will only have the anchor text contain their keyword phrases. This is a bad idea as well. If your keyword phrase is "Gardening Tips" it's okay to have few links with that anchor text BUT not too many. Instead have the text say "Tips for your Garden" and vary your keywords and phrases. Google loves this and it looks less like you're trying to do it soley for internet marketing sake.

Article submission

This is a GREAT way to promote your website - by publishing content on a blog or article submission site. You not only (usually) have the ability to add a link back to you, but it also makes that page relevant to your website! So be explorative and helpful. Go to a website and give your gardening tips and then link back to your website. You not only contribute to the world wide web, but you get exposure as well. Just make sure the content you submit is valid and isn't copied from another source unless you have permission to do so. Keep in mind that you should also vary your articles so you don't just copy and paste the same thing for numerous article submissions on various websites.

Avoid link exhanging and reciprocal linking

These SEO technqiues were used years back and were effective - now it's not so much that case. Link exhanging is when you swap links with another webmaster so you place their link on your website and vice versa. This is hardly effective and if done in excess, Google won't think very highly of your website and may see it as spamming, further penalizing your website.

Submit to trusted directories

Submitting your website to directories such as DMOZ or Yahoo! will give you a monster boost in Google's eyes. At the time this article was written, Yahoo! cost $299 per website listed in the directory and may not be within your budget, that's fine. DMOZ is a free directory and is in fact the largest human-managed directory on the web with millions of websites listed. Unlike crawler based search engines like MSN, Google, or Yahoo, directories are manually submitted content and are reviewed. If your site is deserving of a listing,you're listed. I'd stay away from many directories, however. DMOZ is the best one you can get into, but is a long process (takes anywhere from 2 weeks to months) and you might not even be listed so keep that in mind.

Have permanent links

Make sure the links you post are permanent. Temporary links command less respect, so seniority rules on this one!

Closing statement

When it comes down to it, just be honest. Don't try to outwit the search engines' algorithms. You may discover a flaw in the system but you should not utilize it if you find it cunning or sneaky. Just stick to white hat techniques for search engine optimization and you'd be amazed how honesty is the best policy. In addition, search engines tend to be quite forgiving (just don't do bad stuff to where you get banned and removed from the search engine,that would be bad!). Finally, just to sum some stuff up, this article about covers what you need to know for effective link building. If done right, this art can radically transform your placement among the major seach engines.

Vance Christensen is a professional search engine optimization specialist who owns and operates SEO Cookie, an SEO online firm. His website is http://www.seocookie.com or you can drop him a line at vance@seocookie.com.




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