Every website owner seeks to receive inbound links to their sites from other websites. The thing is, it’s not a quick process. As people have learned the hard way, you cannot buy these links and build them up by the thousands in a month, and then expect to get positive results. Inbound links are supposed to show that your site is well respected by others enough to link to you, thus increasing your page rank. It’s important that you don’t try to trick the search engines by being ignorant to this fact.
That’s not to say you cannot actively seek inbound links to increase your page rank. You can; you just need to be smart about it and realize that it takes time. It’s part of your SEO efforts, just like building up content on your site, using keywords in the content and on links, etc… It’s part of the entire plan of optimizing your website so that you can be found by your target audience.
There are some tried and true natural link-building strategies that work. Every one of the below should be high quality, relevant, and useful to you for link-building purposes.
Article directories – It’s still okay to submit to article directories; the only difference today is that you need to ensure that the directory is targeted and focused on your niche. Don’t submit to large directories that aren’t checked by humans, i.e. that don’t care about quality in terms of the content or in terms of how their site appears to others. Many article directories are just content farms and do not care what kind of content you put up – not even whether it’s stolen or original. A good directory will ask for only original content that is not used elsewhere or reused elsewhere, even on your own blog.
Bookmarking – Social bookmarking sites like digg.com, Reddit and others can be great ways to build up inbound links to your website or blog. Use only high-quality sites that your target audience uses. Fill out your profiles completely. Your best bet with social bookmarking is to use only “dofollow” bookmarking sites. However, if your target audience is there, use either one because clicks from humans is better than a crawl from a bot any day. You’ll need to evaluate whether your target audience uses that bookmarking site or not before proceeding.
Directories – Choose directories that are based on certain themes like “Nannies” or “Web Designers” or “Virtual Assistants,” rather than directories that allow just anyone and everyone to join. Also, if there is an acceptance process of some kind instead of everyone being accepted just because they paid for a listing, it’s a great way to ensure quality. Before using any directories, research whether or not your particular target audience even uses a directory like that. If it is a highly regarded industry directory, you should definitely be on it.
Guest blogging – Still an effective way to garner inbound links to your website or blog, but now with a twist. You can’t just blog anywhere and have it be an effective way to get traffic or higher ranking for your website or blog. The blog must be a high-quality blog that serves your target audience to matter. It also helps if their ranking is higher than yours or at least the same rank. In addition, provide a high-quality useful blog post that adds value to the owner of the website and the readers.
Infographics – If you’ve been wondering how to cash in on the Pinterest craze, then have some infographics created for you about your product or service or industry in general. People love looking at them, and most of all, sharing them. It’s a fun and useful away to earn inbound links to your site, far outside of the first place you shared it.
Press releases – Anytime you sell a new product, release a new eBook, or have an event or announcement of any kind, you should make it a habit to send out press releases. This is an easy, though expensive way to get links. However, it is a highly ethical and respected way to get inbound links to your website. What’s more is that you have complete control over the copy since you are the one who is paying for the press release. They do not generally edit press releases, but distribute them as they are.
Social media – Not only should you join various social media networks in which your target market likes to be, you also need to participate there. By participating, your items will be shared, and your reach will increase with every passing day.
Testimonials – By providing other people trustworthy testimonials about their products and services, you can get a very valuable link back to your site, plus a reputation boost – as long as you’re careful and only recommend products and services that you truly love and use. Sometimes companies ask for submissions that are written to be put on their sales pages, and sometimes they ask for submissions via video from Youtube.com. Either way, these are excellent ways to get natural links to your website.
By using these ways to get natural links to your website or blog you’ll soon find that you have improved your ranking. But, remember, natural link building is not an overnight effort. It can take a few months for all your efforts to come together and start showing up in the results. Plus, be careful about putting up too many links by each method too fast. Even if you’re using legitimate methods by outsourcing these tasks, by doing it too fast, too soon the search engines will question the authenticity of your business. Take your time and build up the incoming links slowly but surely over time.