A long-standing rule of search engine friendliness is web site owners need to create inbound links … links from other sites pointing to your site…. Ten-ish years ago, when Google started the shift away from code to content (including inbound links) as the preferred way of determining ‘relevance’, the world changed…. Immediately, businesses owners started scrambling, and begging, for every link they could get…. Thank goodness things have changed!… This doesn’t, however, mean that inbound links are no longer important…. In many ways they’re more important than ever before.
How then, does one go about getting those precious nuggets of hypertext anchor tagging?… Here are a few strategies;
- Blog Comments …€” Go out of your way to read other people’s blogs…. Your Mother always told you that reading is good for you … she was right! But, when you do so, be sure to productively interact with those bloggers…. It makes them feel good. It validates what they’re writing about. It starts up a relationship between the two of you. AND, here’s the good part, it gives you an inbound link to your site.
- Blog Trackbacks …€” Start your own blog and refer to all of those blogs you’re reading in the form of a “trackback” in your posts…. Learning what this means exactly will have to wait for a future post or tutorial, however, suffice it to say, you need to know what this is if you’re blogging and it gives you an inbound link.
- Pay Per Click Advertising is indeed an added marketing expense, however, it is a controllable, predictable means to build ROI and is a great way to build inbound links where you have control over the text used in the link tag.
- Participate on Forums …€” Similar to blog comments and trackbacks, participating on industry forums will get you hooked up with other like minded professionals, will keep you abreast of current trends and you get to build your own inbound links in the signature line of the posts.
- Build Other Pages …€” Some new social networking sites on the web allow you to create content and post it in their domain as new pages. One great example of this is Seth Godin’s Squidoo…. By creating “lenses” that focus readers on a particular topic of interest, you get to engage readers and create more inbound links to your main site.
- Wikis …€” The concept of a wiki (like www.wikipedia.com) is where readers also become content contributors…. Anyone who is registered can log in and change content…. Understand other readers of this information rich content have zero tolerance for salesy/advertising tactics … so, be careful with this one…. Be purely informative and helpful with your newly posted content…. If the content survives peer scrutiny, you’ll have a nice little inbound link that’s potentially seen by millions.
- Social Networking …€” MySpace and FaceBook for sure, but there’s an explosion of social networking web sites out there…. Dive in and start participating…. Doing so allows you to interact with other professionals and, you guessed it, builds up inbound links.
- Social Bookmarking …€” Different than social networking, social bookmarking is similar to how you used to bookmark sites in your browser but, instead, you bookmark your favorite sites publically in sites like de.licio.us, ma.gnolia.com, spurl.com, rojo.com, Google bookmarks … the list goes on and on…. The goal is to have people discover these bookmarks, and then your site…. An added benefit to social bookmarking (and blog posts) is you get to “tag” your content with words and phrases that are relevant to the content…. These tags are used to identify the content in the search process.
- Organized surfing sites …€” This is a variation of social bookmarking…. There are sites that organize how people surf the web in an effort to make the process of finding the right content faster and more focused…. StumbleUpon (available as a Firefox plugin) is one of my favorites but others like Technorati (blog content), Digg (blogs, articles and news stories) and newcomer Trailfire (another Firefox plugin) allow users to power-surf … finding your site via inbound links.
- Link Begging …€” Don’t discount it just yet. Asking another site owner for a link sometimes still works…. However, with all of the other options listed above, you’ll quickly learn that this tactic is largely time consuming and unproductive.
Any good car salesman will recite the old adage, “plan your work and work your plan.” This especially holds true for your inbound link strategy.