After explaining what PageRank is and finishing with the on-page optimization factors, now it’s time to move on to off-page optimization. And that’s all about links and how to “get” them.
There are many ways to plan an effective Link Strategy and in this post we will try to understand how each method works. Soon we will analyze each one individually and in depth, explaining how to use each method correctly.
The main categories of link acquisition are the following three.
Organic links are the ones we gain automatically when someone likes our content and decides to share it with others by posting it on their own site or blog, tweeting it, leaving it as a comment etc.
Paid links are the ones we buy, not only to strengthen our brand value and better our position in the search engines, but also to increase awareness of our products.
The final category is the mutual exchange of links between two or more sites.
To be more specific, the Top 26 Methods to get people to link to you with no particular order, are:
1. Press Releases – It’s a great way to inform the world that you have released a new service, competition or product. Along with your press release, you should provide direct links to your website. This way they can be easily picked up by a journalist or a blogger interested in your site, who can then re-post them, thus popularizing your site that bit more.
2. Directory Submission – Directory submissions worked much better in the past but are still a strong ally in your link building efforts. Most of the directories will just bring incoming links but some can bring a lot of traffic too. Consider adding your site to the top general directories and the top directories in your niche.
3. Article Directory Submission – Article directories can not only give you more links but, if the article is good, it might even be used by other bloggers or website owners, giving you even more links back to your site. It’s a very effective way to show your expertise and get some links and traffic in the process.
4. Link Exchange Requests – Link exchange is not easily scalable but it’s been proven to be one of the steadier and most valuable methods of link building. Getting relevant links from other websites that are similar to yours is a great bonus for your site’s search engine reputation.
5. Embedded content – If you’re the creator of a feature that analyzes data or displays information about people’s pages or social profiles, creation of a widget is a must have! This useful tool, which your visitors can add to their website, will give a link back to your site, automatically increasing its value.
6. Social Networks / Viral Campaigns – Social networks are the most powerful way to attract new visitors and links to your site. We will devote many articles on the ethics of social networks and how to best use them in order to strengthen your site’s branding and visibility.
7. Buy Links from Web Sites – This one is a bit of a shady technique. Buying links from other webmasters might seem perfectly logical to you and me but Google hates it. And for good reasons. There are people who just buy 1000’s of links just to promote their services (Viagra etc.) giving Google a bad name. Therefore we should be attentive when buying a link because, instead of giving us value, it might do exactly the opposite.
8. Forum Participation – Using your signature space to provide links to your own site, is a great way to get more exposure. Rule of thumb: Don’t just register for a forum, make a comment like “awesome post” and put your link. Try doing this with forums you’re already an active member of.
9. Blog Commenting – Commenting on posts is a good way to increase the awareness and popularity of your site.When we comment on another blog or website, we also leave our website’s URL. There’s one thing we have to remember: It’s not beneficial to comment just for the heck of getting one link. It might do more damage than “good”. Always comment when you have something useful to add to the conversation. This will give us both a backlink and added value.
10. RSS Feeds and RSS Directories – There are places we can “ping” (=notify) when we update our website. Pinging notifies our followers and services when we post new information. There are also many directories where we can submit our RSS feed to, so that other people will be able to find it and engines will be able to crawl it.
11. Guest Posting – I am becoming a huge fan of guest posting and the reason is that it does many simultaneous things. It brings targeted traffic from relevant websites, helps new people discover you (since you provide information they want or need) and gives value to your site for the search engines.
12. Product Reviews – When you buy a product and are satisfied with it, it’s a great thing to review it. Not only do you give value back to its creator but you also get links by doing so.
13. Buy Relative Sites – Instead of buying a link from a site, you could buy the whole site itself! It might seem crazy but think about it. Links back to our site would be free for life, repetitive revenue streams would increase and our user-base would grow at the same time, helping our business expand. It’s an amazing long term investment!
14. Hold Contests – Contests can attract many visitors, since there is usually a prize to be won! It can give us many backlinks from forums and sites that post internet contests, plus it also raises our visitor’s engagement. Contests can easily become viral because the visitors themselves promote them.
15. Off-Line Promotion(Eg. Conferences, Wear T-shirt) – Since we love what we do and what we offer, it’s not a bad practice to advertise it both on-line and off-line! Wear your site’s t-shirt, add your URL to your business card and make your domain a part of your brand.
16. Create mini-sites – There are many sites that can help us create small pages that talk about our niche and give a link back to our domain. HubPages and Squidoo are the most popular examples and they can help bring both visitors and quality links.
17. Dropped Domains / Dead Links – There are domains that have many quality links but their owners let them expire because they are no longer interested. If we spot a domain like that we can buy it and then redirect the traffic back to our site, giving us more visitors and more search engine value.
18. Create Good Categorization – As we mentioned before in the ideal site structure article, it is crucial to create good internal site structure because it will help your internal links pass value from one to another.
19. Post Often – No matter how many promotional methods we use and how much time we spend on promoting our website, we can’t accomplish many things if we don’t update our site with new, fresh and helpful content. My rule of thumb now is: 90% of my time devoted to Content creation and 10% to Promotion. The opposite can benefit us faster, but in the long run it’s the worst thing to do.
20. Create a Theme – This way can be applied to many other things too. For example, you can create a WordPress theme and distribute it for free. People who like it, can use it but have to leave the footer link back to our main domain, intact. With this method we can get many links back to our site without any effort, except the theme creation.
21. Offer Free Hosting – Many hosts offer special prices or even free hosting to clients with powerful sites, as long as they include a link back to them. Why not do the same if you have the know-how and server resources? :)
22. Offer Something Free – We live in the era of free! And the faster we realize what it means, the faster we can make this work to our benefit. Giving something away for free, creates a lot of value for your brand and generates great word of mouth.
23. Distribute Creative Commons Images – If you are a photographer or an illustrator you can publish photographs or images for others to use for free with a Creative Commons License. When people use your photographs on their websites, they have to add a link back to you. The better the images are, the more backlinks you will get.
24. Link to Others – When you help others by mentioning them, you create a bond. By helping them, they will most probably help you back. There is a saying “aggression comes back to you” but the opposite is also true! :)
25. Pay for a Sponsored Post – Sponsored posts are similar to paid links. The main difference is that the author who mentions your services, decides what to write, not you. Most of the times the article will be positive but whatever the case, Google knows it’s a paid link. The best links are organic links, but some paid mentioning never killed anyone!
26. Give Your Product for Free in Exchange for Reviews – This is a much better approach than sponsored posts because all you have to do is give away the product or service. Then, it is up to the blogger to decide what to write. You’re may not be paying for the review, you just give the product away, but still, it’s somewhat considered a paid link.
Here above are only the most popular methods of link acquisition. It goes without saying that for each method there are dozens, if not hundreds, of sites and/or services that can help you further. For example, within social networks there are numerous ways to get, give and exchange links: Facebook, StumbleUpon and Digg, just to name a few.
This article serves as a gateway and entry point for more articles; each one explaining a category in depth.
Bookmark this page or Subscribe to my RSS Feed for upcoming articles on how to correctly use each of the methods explained above.
Thank you for your good article, it must have used like years to construct with cool info.
Thanks my friend
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Thanks for the post, I regularly do about 75% of the things on this list, it was nice to see some things I have forgotten about.
Great article. I have known only a few in your lists. Thanks again :)
Thanks for the useful ideas I will share a few of them and link your blog!
Really goo info, thanks. Do you know a good resource where one can buy sponsored links?
Hello Jeff, thank you for the comment!
What I have to say is that link building by BUYING links is considered as a shady technique by Google.
This means that it might hurt your ranks in the long run. The most possible scenario is that the one that sells you the links will be penalized, but you never know!
The most effective way to build links is by creating a blog or corporate blog if the site you want to promote is a company site, and then share helpful information for your niche enthusiasts. By that and by using social media you will be able to gather many more links and build relationships.
If you also want to check the paid link method, there are many sites selling links and some of them are:
Those are the most popular sites that you can buy links from that pass “juice”.
Once again i wouldn’t recommend it.
If you need anything, please do not hesitate to contact me in the email for further discussion. :)
Ps. What the heck… I wrote a post inside a comment!!!! :P Hope it helped :)
This is a nice list… More in depth than other link building lists out there. I was surprised you had press releases as number one. Any good free or very cheap press release sites you can recommend??
Thank you for the comment, adding the press release method as first, was not intentional but surely is a very good way to gather links and interest for your website or startup.
If you could spend some money for the press release I would suggest to go to prweb since it’s one of the leading websites for press release distribution. If you are on a tight budget, you can submit to the following:
Adding your press release on all of them should cost 20-40 dollars as far as I can remember.
Try to have a good title and something useful and valuable to write so that the pr will get picked by more people and journalists.
If you need anything else, contact me :)
Thanks for the list of free PR sites. We just started and have a tight budget on our new site but we have many great features to share to the public.
I think that organic links are the best. :)
Can’t agree with you more Tilen :)
Do you have a ‘like’ button for this article so can give it an ad on FB.
The Irish Inspirational Blogger
Thanks for wanting to share the post on Facebook Sean :)
There’s a share love button for facebook right under the post. It’s a heart shaped icon.
Send me a msg if you have any problems with sharing :)
Great ideas here. I’ll be looking at my own pet blog to see how I can put your advice into practice. Thanks for sharing this. Impressive!
Thank you Cherie for the comment and i’m really glad you liked the post!
If you need any help with any method, don’t hesitate to contact me through my contact form and I’m sure I can help you more :)
Ps. Would love to see the blog when it’s ready! Love dogs like crazy :)
Awesome information Angel.
Will definitely apply these in my coming blog links building. :D
I’m mainly focus on organic links, and grows naturally from the process. :)
Thank you for the good words Jia!
Organic links are the best but with a little bit better awareness and some more work we can achieve much better results!
Nice post with a lot of useful link building methods in. my particular favourite is number 12 guest posting because as you said it can do several things at once
Hey John, thank you for the comment!
Yeap guest posting is so important that I’m thinking of writing a series about it.
Thank you for your thoughts :)
Thank you for an awesome list of link-building methods. I am using many of them but not all of them.
Thank you for the comment Thomas!
The truth is that we don’t need to use all of them at least not at the same time!
When I discover a new method, I test it extensively on more than one domains so I’m sure that it won’t backfire under any circumstances on an important project.
I have to say that the most important of all (at least for a personal business blog) is guest posting.
Informative. I keep reading about quality content—this is it right here.
Thank you very much for your good words Ramiro!
I thinks these are the only right way to generate right amount of link for website.
Really really great info!!! Got me totally inspired for next weeks writing.
This is a great list, I use quite a few of these myself but you definitely gave me a few new ideas as well. Thanks!
I had tried most of these but I like your take on some of them. For offline I found stickers to be the most affective. You can get 200 or so printed up for like $40 online and then stick them places that are unlikely to have them removed. The back of bus seats or the walls in bathrooms worked out great for me although obviously it will depend on the type of product as to where suits best. My site is only new but my big problem is consistency. I will go from having 200 or so hits in a day to getting 3, and I’m fairly sure that the 3 were me cecking the site.
Hey Hank, thank you for the comment ;)
Stickers could be a good way to promote a site but since it’s untargeted, it should be a very general site that can interest anyone.
If you need more information for any of the points mentioned here, do a site search because i’ve written for most of them, if you don’t find something you need, do contact me! ;)
Great article on backlinks. I think a whole structured program is the best way to get links. A combo of blogs/articles and providing great content is the #1 method for obtaining links in my opinion.
Angel, thanks for a great post! Love #24 and completely agree. Linking to other spreads things faster. As for link exchanges, I though the mutual linking negates the link value.
Yes, a mutual link exchange is not that powerful but still gives some value to eachother’s websites.
The excessive use of mutual link exchange can even harm a website, that’s why I tried to give as many options so people will start exploring each one and don’t overdo a specific one.
To tell you the truth, except 2-3 methods, all can harm a website if done extensively.
Thank you for your comment and the additional input!
Thank you for your response, Angel! Anything is good in moderation, indeed.
Another very well written article Angelos!!! thanks for sharing with us.
Thank you for your kind words Tonny!
25 ways to do to boost SEO rankings. I would like to add as well Google +
True, now Google+ is part of the SEO efforts we need to do in order to rank so it will be added soon! Thank you for mentioning it ;)
Great article Angelos. Thank you.
Thank you for the comment Teresa! Glad you liked it :)
Glad you liked the post :)
Thanks for the post. A very thorough list of link-building methods. In regard to “2. Directory Submission”, please try our free web directory: http://websqurl.com/ The only hard part is the CAPTCHA ;-)
Great post Angelos to remind us of the many ways that are available to us.
Thank you very much Nicholas, appreciate it! :)
I like your blog graphic – is it custom made, or maybe some public template? Where can I download it from?
Hello Clara, glad you liked the theme!
We used Fast blog from ThemeForest and did quite many customizations.
Hope you’ll like it too :)
Well gathered list! Yes articles still work & are great. Let me add one more – buy high PR links on fiverr.com for $5 – incredible value.
Thank you for the input Sandor but high pr links are expensive and if a person is giving them for $5 this means that either, that person got a good pagerank on a page that on the next update it will disappear, or that this person will sell 100 (some exaggeration here) links to other pages from this page, giving you little to no value.
Buying links is something that Google does not want and someone should be very careful before buying a link.
A sincerely appreciated article. I’ll be referring back to it throughout my promotion efforts… a great list.
A sincerely appreciated article.I used to seo my Herve Leger website in this way!
I am new to Blogging and am hoping to grow my Blog so that I start to grow the numbers of visitors. It would be interesting to understand how trading links works and where to place the link for best results.
its a very good idea to post free theme. thanks for sharing.
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