Relevant inbound links from authoritative, trusted and/or qualitywebsites are every search marketer's dream . (An inbound link, also called a backlink, is a link from anexternal site that points to content on your site.) Google, whichowns about 66 percent of the search engine market according to comScore , sees such links as votes of confidence for your content. BecauseGoogle wants to serve users the most relevant, freshest,trustworthy results, inbound links from trusted sites to yours cango a long way toward pushing your content up in search resultrankings. Of course, obtaining those inbound links takes considerable time,effort and resources. There are also a lot of myths andmisunderstandings related to link building. |
For example, somebelieve Google will penalize you for getting too many links tooquickly (not necessarily) or that reciprocal links are a surefireway to boost your rankings (it depends). To help your site develop a quality inbound link profile, we'vecollected 25 top link-building strategies and tips from threeexperts: Eric Ward, a link-building strategist since 1994 and author ofLinkMoses, an email newsletter ($8 monthly). Debra Mastaler, president of Alliance-Link, which provides custom link building training . Scott Fasser, director of customer experience for Optify, developerof SaaS-based inbound marketing software.
Set Your Link-Building Foundation 1. Put someone in charge. Because link building is time-consuming and resource intensive,someone needs to be responsible for driving the effort, Fassersays. "You need someone focused on actively managing the program,promoting the right content and always looking for newopportunities." 2. Set up a process for monitoring and measuring progress.
From the beginning, have a method in place--usually accomplishedvia SaaS tools--to monitor and measure your link-building effortson a regular basis. "If you don't have that process set up, whensomeone asks how effective your link-building campaign is, youwon't have a good answer," Fasser says. "And if you don't have agood answer, you're not likely to get the time and resources youneed to continue the link building." 3. Don't outsource your entire link-building campaign.
"You can't outsource 100 percent of your link building or websitepromotion to a third-party and expect to get the same results you'dget if you had someone doing it in-house. You need someone in-housewho really knows your industry," Ward says, since that will givelink campaign strategies both context and focus. Every site, Ward adds, "was designed with a specific andpotentially unique audience in mind, specific objectives for thataudience and specific subject matter. Doesn't it make sense thatevery site is going to require a specific approach to link buildingand content publicity? You can't cookie-cutter the process." 4.
Begin by examining the links on your own site. Unlike most inbound links, the links on your site are entirelywithin your control. Take a close look at how you're linking toyour own content on your site. Are you using keyword-rich anchortext to point to relevant content elsewhere on the site? (Anchortext is a hyperlinked phrase, such as click here , that links to content that typically exists on another web page.)If anchor text is not keyword-rich, revise it, Fasser says.
Thiscan help the content that's being linked to with anchor text get aboost in search engine relevancy. 5. Create a baseline of existing inbound links. Use a tool such as SEOMoz's Open Site Explorer to see which sites are currently linking to yours as well as theanchor text used in those inbound links, Fasser advises. Thisprovides a snapshot of your complete inbound link profile, which isuseful for tracking progress.
Open Site Explorer can help you improve your link-building strategyby providing a quick look at your inbound links--and the ones yourcompetitors have. Open Site Explorer data can be exported in CSV format. The basictool is free. Additional features are included in subscriptionplans that start at $99 monthly. 6.
Study your competitors' links. You can also use tools such as Open Site Explorer to investigatethe links your competitors have, Fasser says. This can provideideas for directories and other sites to pursue. 7. Go after links your competitors don't have.
It's not enough to simply find out which links your competitors aregetting and go after them. At best, that will simply put you on anequal footing with them. You should also pursue inbound links yourcompetitors dont have, Ward says. 8. Focus on link quality, not quantity.
Relevant links from a few high-quality, trusted, authoritativesites are worth more in SEO terms than a ton of links fromlow-quality sites, Mastaler says. 9. Develop a list of top-priority keywords and use them in youronline content. Determine which keywords have the most search volume, are the leastcompetitive and have the highest relevancy to your business and itsproducts or services, Fasser advises. Use those keywords in yourblog posts, white papers, press releases and other online content."When you get links from other sites to your content, you'll bemore likely to get good-quality anchor text links using yourimportant keywords," he explains.
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