Link Building Best Practices For SEO

Link building is always a hot topic because it is really what makes an SEO campaign work. Content is important, page and link structure are important, and the url is important, but for competitive search terms, great on-site optimization will only get you so far.

Much like in the world of content, quality is better than quantity when it comes to obtaining links. After years of combining strategies and tactics, I have come up with a list of best practices for obtaining incoming links to your website.

  • It is well worth the time to write great content as opposed to lots of decent content. Some of the articles I wrote was one that attracted the most links and landed on good websites, and one or two were even highlighted in a breaking news story that brought a LOT of referral traffic while it was on the site’s homepage.
  • If you figure out something cool or unique, like getting Pandora to play through a mono bluetooth headset, write about it and keep the content on your site and create a buzz using social media. Links will surely come.
  • Write content for your own site first. As other top marketing professionals point out, you will get the links pointing back at your site for having the original content.
  • Here is one of my favorites – syndicate your RSS feed, not your article content. This is a philosophical change to the approach many people have in article marketing. Instead of publishing your duplicate content everywhere, keep the content on your site and ping services like technorati, twitter, facebook, and anywhere you can publish your site’s feed. Get visitors on your site and then give them an opportunity to bookmark or share your content via social media.
  • Quality directories are still valid. I have still seen good success from getting listed in the top human-edited directories, especially local and regional ones. Avoid the free-for-all sites and focus on the ones that add value to users.
  • Guest Blogging is a new hot-topic which is also worth trying. Finding relevant websites to post content to is a good way to get quality inbound links and brand awareness. In many cases, you can get content for your site as well if you establish a good partnership with a complementary website or blog.
  • Patience is a virtue. It is hard to not check Google rankings every day, but there are a lot of other things to do with your valuable time than checking rankings. I schedule a time once a week to check up on how things are progressing. This keeps me from wasting time each day, and gives me a reason to measure results and dive into analytics at the end of the week. We know SEO is a long-term strategy and results often take months to mature.
  • Reciprocal links are not all bad. It is natural for complementary websites to link to one another, so the emphasis is on relevance. I will exchange links with relevant and complementary websites, but not with just any site. You want to make sure you are linking to reputable websites too. Using your “off-line” networks to create on-line link partners is a great way to build links from people and businesses you know.
  • Don’t Spam. Search engines (like Google) mostly update their algorithms to do one of two things: to increase the relevance of the search results and to battle spam in their index. If you keep things relevant and avoid spam tactics, your rankings should continue to increase as long as their isn’t a fundamental shift in how websites and pages are ranked.
  • Find ways to add value to your industry. If you are an expert on a topic, utilize Yahoo! Answers, DIY, or forums to give advice and answer questions – each time leaving a link to your website for more information. This not only builds credibility, but makes you an authority figure within your industry. You can set up Google Alerts for some phrases and questions you can answer, and get updates about new questions posted. You can also write a blog post to answer questions you find online to attract visitors looking for the same thing.
  • Give links to get links. Especially in your blog or content, write about newsworthy information and list a few sources. Giving out links to reputable websites tends to encourage other websites to link to you. Think about developing some lists of resources and industry best lists. People love getting mentioned online, and they will point their audience to it.
  • Hopefully this best practices list will help you understand the importance of link building. I originally posted this article at SEOmoz.org (here is the original post). The best practices have been updated and added to from the great discussion we had in the comments. SEOmoz is one of the top SEO blogs in the industry, and you can find a lot more information about link building there.

    About the Author: SEOTERIC is an Atlanta web design and SEO company specializing in building business websites and generating sales and leads through natural search results.

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