Another question I saw recently: how do I build incoming links to my site?
So why are incoming links important?
Because they are the search engines’ way of assessing how good your site is. And if they think your site is good they’ll send you lots of visitors.
The logic goes that if lots of sites (particularly good quality, high traffic sites) are linking to your site it must be good.
Plus the number and quality of incoming links forms the major part of the off-site bit of search engine optimisation.
So how do you build lots of incoming links to your site?
With a lot of work!
Seriously – off-site optimisation is a never ending process of generating and retaining as many high quality links to your site as possible.
Ways to Build High Quality Links
1. Blog Directories.
Blog directories like Blogarama, Blog Traffic Resource and others, are a good place to start. But they’re not going to bring you floods of traffic, despite their promotional blurb.
When I first set up this blog I registered it on a lot of Blog directories and I can tell you that the traffic coming from them was minimal.
And since blog directories have sprung up all over the place even the links from them are of questionable quality these days.
None the less – every little helps, especially when you’re just starting out, so this is a good place to start.
If you look under the ‘Useful Links’ heading in the sidebar to the right you’ll see the blog directories where this site is registered.
You’ll need to reciprocate with a link to each Directory but, once you’ve developed a healthy flow of traffic, you can begin to remove some of the links and cut down on the number of directories.
2. Social Sites.
The first big jump in the number of visitors to this blog came when I started seriously working the social sites.
Beware, though. Many articles you read on Social Marketing (or Social Network Marketing) tell you to register on as many sites as you can. I did that in the early days of this site and nearly killed myself.
You cannot get any benefit from the social sites unless you’re active in them.
So unless you’ve employed an army of people to be active in the social sites on your behalf, your best bet is to think carefully about which sites will bring you the most benefit and just focus on them.
I focus on 4 sites at the moment and that’s quite enough. But, because I’m active in those 4, they all bring me quite a bit of traffic.
More than all the sites combined when I was trying to manage 11 of them, and I’m a lot less frazzled now.
Important things to remember with social sites: make sure your profile is filled out as fully as possible, including your real name and, of course, a link to your blog.
People like to know you’re real, and a fully completed profile is one of the factors that helps them know that.
Also – don’t spam..! Just participate in the community, answer questions, make friends and become known.
And make sure you participate every day.
As the number of visitors to your site grows so will the number of links, provided you’ve got good quality information on your site.
3. Commenting on Other Blogs
To some this seems counter-intuitive, but if you make thoughtful and valuable comments on other people’s blogs not only will the blog writer notice you but his readers will as well.
That will increase your traffic and, as long as you’ve got good information on your blog, it will bring links too.
A lot of blogs tell the search engines not to follow links from their site (the infamous no-follow tag) but ignore that.
If you’re worried about whether a blog has ‘nofollow’ set in its META tags you’re focusing on the wrong thing.
Concentrate on adding valuable input to the article (through your comments) and the visitors and links will follow.
Remember – there’s nothing to stop you turning a high quality comment you’ve written on someone else’s blog into a post on your own blog in the future, so you can kill two birds with one stone.
4. Link to your blog from your own sites
These are the other sites you own – your Squidoo lens, HubPage, and other blogs you have. Make sure the subjects of the sites are relevant to your blog and link to it.
In all cases you can put several links to your blog: One in the Recommended Sites or Blogroll section of your lens or HubPage, and as many as you like throughout the ‘page’ in each.
5. Participate in Forums
This is very similar to social sites and a lot of the same rules apply.
A big advantage with forums, though, is that you can create what’s effectively a mini ad in the footer of your posts.
Known as your signature, most social sites will enable you to create and add a link with some descriptive text and display it below each of your posts.
Most links from forums are ‘no follow’ so the links themselves don’t have much value in Google’s world, but they’ll bring you visitors and (as long as your content is good) visitors will often result in links.
As with social sites – don’t spam. You’re likely to be black-balled if you do and many will throw you out of the forum.
Keep your comments polite and helpful and, as people get to know and trust you, the number of visitors (and, as a result, links) will start to climb.
Good Quality Content
If there’s one thing that runs through each of the methods I’ve touched on, it’s the need for good quality information on your blog.
Without that you’ll be dead in the water.
So here’s a good approach to follow:
- Make sure your site is set up properly for the search engines. See this article for more details if your blog is on WordPress
- Write good quality, well researched articles that answer questions, solve problems or provide entertainment. And keep doing it.
- Carry out the 5 link building steps I’ve set out in this article – and keep doing it. It’s a continuous process.
It will take time to build links to your site, particularly if you’re writing in a highly competitive niche, so keep at it.
Persistence cannot be over-rated as a requirement for success 🙂