Links are the currency of the internet. Sites with the most quality links from trusted sources get the best rankings in Google. Links are the most important factor that Google considers when deciding who deserves to be on the first page of the search results.
The challenge is that getting links is difficult because it requires someone else to add a link on their site. Here are some of the top ways to get links.
1. Create Linkable Content
This almost goes with out saying. If you create interesting, remarkable, and useful content, people will want to share your article or site by linking to you. For instance you could write a how-to article that relates to your industry. This can be extremely useful to your target audience when they are searching Google for a solution to your problem. Another idea is to create lists like a top 10 list of books on your industry. I created the Best Marketing Books of 2009 and it climbed to the first page of Google when anyone searches for “Best Marketing Books”. People love lists. Think of David Letterman’s Top 10 or the Forbes 500. The same attraction to lists happens online.
2. Buy Expired Domains and 301 Redirect to Your Site
Often times expired domains have built up a reputation in Google by earning links when they were alive. By buying the domain, you can transfer the “link juice” to your site by setting up a permanent 301 redirect. You should only do this with domains that are related to your industry. Snapnames.com and Pool.com are sites where you can find expired domains. If your site runs on cpanel, just create a domain redirect. It is easy.
3. Send Link Requests
This is one of the most difficult ways to get links. The key is to conduct good research to find sites that will likely link to you. You can find out what sites are linking to your competitors using SEO Book’s SEO Toolbar. Also if the site has a blogroll or list of resources, they may be willing to add your site.
You could email request like:
I see you have a list of dentists in Seattle, we also provide dental care in Seattle. Here is our link. We would love it if you added us.
This can be a lot of work, but added links can be very helpful.
4. Create Internal Links
An underutilized tactic for link building is creating internal links on your site. This is where you link to another page on your site, often in the text of an article. Lots of internal links helps spread Page Rank through your site. It also helps Google’s spiders crawl your site more efficiently.
4. License Your Site with Creative Commons
By putting up a Creative Commons badge on your site, you are giving permission to other sites to republish your work. The key is to require that they link back to the original article. You can set up a Creative Commons license at http://creativecommons.org/choose/.
5. Link Directories
Link directories will include a link to your site, usually for a fee. Good directories to submit your site to are Yahoo Directory and DMOZ. Yahoo costs $299 per year, so it may not be worth it for small businesses. DMOZ is free, but requires a human volunteer editor to review your site and determine that it deserves a spot. The waiting list can be a year long, so don’t expect a response for a while. There are also free directories that you can submit your site to. If you can find a trusted directory for sites in your industry, that could be a good link. However, most free directories (and many paid directories) have questionable value since they will link to thousands of random sites.
6. Get a Link from Your Local Groups
Often local organizations like The Chamber of Commerce will have a website where they list members. You can also request links from industry organizations or other organizations.
7. Exchange Links with Related Sites
While Google doesn’t like when you have too many reciprocal links, often swapping links with trusted and related sites can be a good way to build links.
8. Give Testimonials to Other Businesses
Write a positive recommendation for another business with a link back to your site. Businesses love customer testimonials and will often put them on their home page, which means added link juice to your site.
For more on this see the SEO Moz post Headsmacking Tip #14: Offer Testimonials, Get Links.
9. Create something of value that someone receives when linking to you
This could be an informative chart, an award, or a badge. Almost every winner of the Webby Awards links to the Webby Awards site.
10. Find sites or blogs that already mention your company and ask them to add a link.