In parts one and two of this post, I discussed some important things to consider when you are putting together a link building strategy. In this part I will cover some of the actual tactics that you can use to build links to your site.
Link building tactics
There are too many link building tactics to cover in great detail. To get you started, I have provided a high-level outline of some of the methods that I feel work best below:
Directory submissions: Currently the two most popular directories are DMOZ and the Yahoo! Directory. However, there are several different regional and topic-specific directories that you can submit your site to. In a previous post I provided a link to a comprehensive list of some of the best directories available.
When submitting your site, take the time to find the most specific categories possible and follow the submission guidelines for each directory. Do not trust automated software to build these links for you. Do not participate in link farms or other “get links quick” schemes. Automating this process is a great way to get your site penalized or banned.
If you are submitting your site to numerous directories, remember to alter your anchor text and site descriptions with different keyword variations (specific to the pages on your site that you are linking to). Submitting your site to as many related directories as possible (including smaller, second tier niche directories) should provide you with a large number of relevant inbound links.
Top industry players – finding link partners: A simple way to find high-quality, relevant sites is to conduct searches for your targeted keywords/keyword phrases. This will allow you to identify sites that the search engines feel are the most important. Make a list of the top 20-30 sites for each keyword/keyword phrase, removing any sites that are in direct competition with you. Consider the remaining sites to be on your “link building wish list”.
Visit each site to verify that the content on your site would be relevant and valuable to their audience. Identify a spot on the site that you think would be the most logical location for your link and take down any contact information that you can find.
There are several tools designed to help you identify high-quality sites to request links from. SEO Chat’s PageRank Search allows you to conduct a search on Google, and returns the PageRank of each site/page in the search results. SEOBook’s Hub Finder will help you find hub pages that are topically related to your content.
Competitive Targeting: Conduct a link analysis on your top competitors. Find out who is linking to their sites, and attempt to get them to link to you also. This will help you level the playing field and provide you with a chance to spot opportunities that they have missed. I recommend downloading the Back Link Analyzer, or trying out the Page Strength Tool. Each tool will provide you with a basic link profile for any site/page that you enter. This will give you a good idea about the amount of link building work required in order to compete.
Don’t get too hung up on the quantity of links that your competitor’s have – link quality (where the links are coming from) is what matters. Analyzing your competitor’s link profile is well beyond the scope of this post, but could make for a good post in the future.
Link Searches: Search for sites that allow you to add a link to them. The goal is to find other sites that target your keywords and contain related content. SEOBook’s Link Suggestion Tool will help you identify sites that are relevant to your keyword phrases and will permit you to add a link to them. Make sure to evaluate the quality and relevance of each site before requesting a link.
Write and submit articles: If you can provide valuable content, there are lots of different places that you can submit articles to. The key is to provide keyword rich content with relevant links pointing to appropriate pages on your site. A few sites that you can submit articles to include: Go Articles, Idea Marketers, Buzzle and Ezine Articles.
Online communities and social media: Include a link to your site in your signature and/or member profile and leave relevant comments and useful suggestions on related forums, blogs, wikis, message boards etc. Keep your comments relevant – like other link building options, if this is abused it can backfire. Whether this will provide you with a ranking boost or not, you will be able to present qualified information seekers with an opportunity to visit your site.
Other link building options…
As mentioned, there are too many different link building options to discuss in great detail. Some other sources that you may want to consider include: renting space on authoritative sites, purchasing online advertising, joining affiliate programs, donating to charities (lots of high PR sites are run by charitable organizations), making press releases, using link brokers etc.
By using any combination of these tactics, you will be able to build a large number of relevant inbound links. Remember, the object of the game is not just popularity. One high-quality link from a relevant, authoritative source is worth hundreds of low quality links from unrelated sites. When looking for links, conduct your research wisely. It is a tedious and time-consuming process, but well worth the effort.