Even in the age of hyper-personalization and geo-location in search, the number of
inbound links pointing to your site is still the most important aspect of
developing and securing top search engine positions. That's right, it's not
about internal linking structure, keyword density or the presence or absence of
title tags - it's about getting websites to link to yours. So how do you do that
Link building hasn't really changed much over the years and it probably
won't in 2009 either. Link building involves getting other Web sites to link to
your site. The creativity we apply to link building however is what separate the high-rankers from the non-rankers. Think of link-building as a word of mouth recommendation; the more dramatic, compelling and interesting the recommendation, the more believable and attractive the
proposition of visiting becomes for the user.
In the eyes of search
engines, it's both the quality and quantity of recommendations
that matter. It's not about making sure your site is worth a link (it is
expected that our sites satisfies even the most critical user), it's about going
out and getting them. That concept understood, let's look at few basic link
building tactics you can (and perhaps should) employ in 2009. We'll push the envelope in an article next week about "Genuine Advanced Link Building" - look for that article early next week.
Attention Website Magazine readers - share your link building tactics and resolutions
with other readers by commenting below!
Write and Distribute Press Releases Frequently: You very well might have
the next great idea or that next amazing product that everyone needs to have,
but if no one knows about it then you're pretty much spinning your wheels. One
way to spread the word is through the use of press releases. Website Magazine
has written extensively on how to use press releases to secure publicity and it
has remained one of the best, yet most basic, ways to get links (and to do it
quickly). Follow the
guidance on press releases we've outlined previously, build a working list
of established media outlets and bloggers and pursue their attention (politely)
through every means possible (including on social networks). In 2009, resolve to
send out press releases to your list directly via email or using services such as PRWeb,
BusinessWire or PRleap.com.
Become a Guest Blogger: One of the easiest ways to get attention on the
Web (regardless of the industry you are in) is to work for free. Now I know that
this idea might go against every fiber of your business-savvy being, but the
value of doing something (which in itself is extremely valuable) for someone
else works and it works well. Guest bloggers have a captive audience and an
unmatched opportunity to build a viable relationship with an audience that is not their own. Resolve
in this new year to be a guest blogger a few times, if only to test the waters.
Identify blogs or email newsletters which you think your message would be
valuable to and offer to share your expertise (for free of course) in exchange
for a link or even some advertising. Take the idea of guest blogging further by
recruiting your own guest bloggers - you'll be shocked at what kind of
promotional effort people will put in on your behalf!
Share Your Insights Through Commenting: One of my favorite down-time
activities is writing comments on blogs that I find using the StumbleUpon
toolbar. While the traffic that StumbleUpon itself sends is of the lowest
quality imaginable in terms of providing conversions, the service is excellent
at helping users discover sites that they might find interesting or valuable.
Search the service using individual keywords and couple that effort with comment
tracking services such as CoComment for the purpose of measurement. The benefit
of course is that you are identified as a participant in the conversation, which
positively impacts your future link building prospects. If by chance the
weblog you leave a comment on uses "follow" links instead of "no-follow" links, all the
better for your link building efforts.
Do Something Nice: If you've got an advertising budget, consider
shifting a portion of those funds to secure natural (or at least semi-natural)
links. Say for instance that you use an open-source software that requests
donations. Why not make a donation and ask for a link from the developers site?
Or say for example that you write a weblog on music like WM's Senior Editor Mike
Phillips; why not consider writing a post on how to give back to music charities
- someone will notice and grant you a link! Resolve to reap what you sow in 2009
and you'll be that much closer to Web success at the start of 2010.
Create Authority Documents and Share Socially: An authority document
is one that people look to for guidance on a) how to do something, or b) how to
do something better. Content does not exist in a vacuum however - it won't pull
people on to your site on its own merit. You must share that information
through an active network of Web friends and colleagues to make it stick in the
Web's sphere of influence. That's why Website Magazine and others spend so much
time discussing social news/bookmarking sites like
Digg and Delicious, micro-blogging
communities like Twitter and social networks
like Facebook. These are opportunities where
one can share their ideas and their content. Remember, authority does not happen
overnight - it happens gradually with sudden increases (bursts) of influence.
Resolve in 2009 to develop one well-thought out authority document each month of
2009 and, build out your social profile and share your content on as many social
networks as possible, encouraging you friends to do the same.