In Part 1, we reviewed some basic definitions and learned about the importance of on-site SEO and the sometimes overlooked art of internal linking. Today, we'll look at off-page factors, with five methods you can start using right now to build links.
First, I need to stress a very important point. You should identify the keywords you want to be ranked for and use those keywords in your copy, and especially in the anchor text of your links.
How many of you have used this phrase: "to learn more about Acme Widgets click here," where the link is on the word "here." If Acme Widgets is the keyword phrase you want to optimize, then make sure it's the phrase that has the link. If you need a primer on identifying the right keywords for your site, see my keyword research article.
Directory submissions are still one of the most powerful and safest link building strategies. However, you need to be careful to find the quality directories that will benefit you the most. They're becoming more difficult to find.
DMOZ should be one of your first stops. Get your site listed there for free. DMOZ is also a great resource for mining other directories to submit to by drilling down by specify categories or geographic regions.
Directory Critic is another great resource that focuses on providing comprehensive lists of directories both paid and free and includes a points rating. Many of these directories are new, so spend most of your time on the general and niche lists.
Do you have a blog on your site? If not, you may want to consider adding one. Search engines love new, fresh content, so blogging is a great and easy way to keep your Web site up-to-date.
Google's Blogger or WordPress are good places to start. If you plan to create a blog, block out time on your calendar so you remember to make frequent updates. No one likes a blog that only has a few posts here and there.
Writing Articles and Press Releases
If you're an authority on a topic, or have a passion for what you do, consider writing an article about a specific topic on your site. By writing these articles, you'll have the opportunity to place a quality, relevant link back to your site. Ezine Articles is a good (free) place to get started.
If you or your public relations agency writes press releases, make sure to submit them online. Several companies still send them out via fax. You're missing a great opportunity for some good relevant links.
Try to find sites like PR Newswire that let you submit your article with links back to your site. Once your release goes out, it will be picked up by other feeds and land on other news sites -- netting you more links.
Social media sites like Digg, StumbleUpon and Technorati are great bookmarking sites to help others with similar interests find you. Your site visitors will then have the opportunity to "rank" your site or page. Socially bookmarking your site may net you many good backlinks if your niche is popular.
People enjoy watching video. The available technology has enabled almost anyone to capture video and post it online. Take advantage of sites like YouTube by creating relevant videos and posting them, where you can once again point a link back to your Web site.
These, of course, are just some of the basic places to start your link building campaign. There are many other places and methods for placing links.
As you come across some of these methods, be careful of placing links just anywhere. It could be considered spam.
Set a goal to start placing one or two links back to your site per day. In time, you'll start seeing your rankings rise and the traffic to your site increase.
For ongoing linking advice, be sure to check out the weekly Promotion & Link Building column by Justilen Gaspard and Sage Lewis.
Join us for Search Engine Strategies London February 17-20 at the Business Design Centre in Islington. Don't miss the definitive event for U.K. and European marketers, corporate decision makers, webmasters and search marketing specialists!
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!