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Link BuildingLink building

The purpose of this article is to show you what link building is all about, how it's done in the industry and what to avoid. Although I don't agree with some link building practices, I'll also explain how they are done for reference.

Sections in this article



Introduction

Well, don't get me started on link building as I could have a rant for ever and a day, so I will refrain for as long as possible and continue with what I was meant to be talking about, which is, errrrr, ah yes - link building.

Anyway, link building is the process of getting links from 3rd party websites, back to your own, to promote your site and to lead people and potential customers back to you. Sounds simple and above board doesn't it?

Well, link building takes on many different forms. Some are valuable and others are just blatant spammy links that hold no value whatsoever, except for a search algorithm that thinks all links coming to your site must be a good thing!

There are many different link building techniques. I have covered the main, most popular ones below.

Google PageRank

PageRank is a number attributed to each page on the Internet that determines its relevance and authority on the web. The name PageRank comes from Google’s very own Larry Page, quite a convenient and relevant surname really. Do you think if he was called Larry Smith that we would have the term “SmithRank” now? Probably not, [cough], I’ll move on…

So how is PageRank achieved? Google looks at all the inbound links to your site and passes link juice from them to yours. Pages with a higher PageRank will in turn, pass more link juice to you as these sites will be considered an authority in their field and “must” be relevant to you as they are linking to your site [lol].

It’s nice to have a good PageRank as it shows that your page is popular and that people are linking to it. PageRank is part of Google’s ranking algorithm, but what effect it actually has on your rankings is unknown.

Please don’t go all out for bragging rites by getting the highest PageRank possible on your pages. If every page on your sites gets to PageRank 4, be happy with that.

Also, Google only update the visible PageRank metric a few times a year, so concentrate on other more important things in the meantime. In order to be able to see your PageRank, read the article on Browser plugins.

There is a great artilce below that talks about PageRank in a lot of detail. Sorry if it blows your mind:-)

 

Links needed for PageRank X

In the example below, it only takes 18 Page Rank 4 links to give your page a PageRank of 4.

PR For PR2 For PR3 For PR4 For PR5 For PR6 For PR7 For PR8
1 101 555 3,055 17,000 93,000 508,000 2,800,000
2 18 101 555 3,055 17,000 93,000 508,000
3 3 18 101 555 3,055 17,000 93,000
4 1 3 18 101 555 3,055 170,000
5 1 1 3 18 101 555 3,055
6 1 1 1 3 18 101 555
7 1 1 1 1 3 18 101
8 1 1 1 1 1 3 18
9 1 1 1 1 1 1 3
10 1 1 1 1 1 1 1


Business/Consumer directories

The small selection of directories mentioned below are all ideal places to “advertise” your business and get quality traffic and links coming back to your site. It's always good to “advertise” your business and not promote it through other underhand link building means which I'll delve into later.

Submission directories

You've heard of the saying “here today gone tomorrow”, well that's the risk you run with submission directory link building.

Some of them will be useful and stay around for the long run but others, well, let's just say that the internet is an over inflated space of nothing but temporary sites created for the purpose of providing links.

Be careful as some of these sites also charge you for links. Never pay anything to these sites, ever! Look for other free link building methods.


Blog post links

If you can find a “relevant” blog or forum, answer people's question or just leave relevant information, then leaving links back to your site here are worth creating. Please refrain from the underhand practice of leaving totally irrelevant comments, which just blatantly want a link back to their own site with no effort or comment relevance whatsoever.

Most blogs and forums are moderated and all comments have to be approved first. Do yourself a favour and the site owners and try to be a little more creative!

If you're interested in finding blogs to comment on then you can copy and paste the strings below into Google's search box and a list of relevant sites will come back.

You can change the keywords in red below to match the types of blogs that you are look for. The text in blue, change this for any Top Level Domain such as .com, .co.uk, .net etc.

  • inurl:keyword1 keyword2 "leave a comment" -"comments closed"
  • site:.co.uk inurl:keyword1 keyword2 "leave a comment" -"comments closed"

Forum post links

Another form of link building is to find relevant forums to promote your business or join a community to share information.The strings below will show you have to find such link building forums. Copy and paste the search strings into Google's search box.

You can change the keywords in red below to match the types of blogs that you are look for. The text in blue, change this for any Top Level Domain such as .com, .co.uk, .net etc.

  • "Powered by ExpressionEngine" + "bikes" site:.org.uk
  • "Powered by phpBB" + "bikes" site:.com
  • "Powered by smf" + "bikes" site:.co.uk
  • "Powered by  vBulletin " + "bikes" site:.org
  • "Powered by bbpress" + "bikes" site:.net

Forum profile links

Another popular form of link building is by creating forum profile links. These are just links in your profile on a forum, that you have just signed up with that nobody is ever going to see. These are totally spammy and the lowest form of back linking around.

Many forums have started to close their doors to people creating accounts now whilst others with vet your application first before allowing you to join. They are savy to the whole link building system and getting a little cheesed off with it.

As far as the back linking strategy goes though, when you look at backlinking tools, these links do get included on the total number of links coming to your site.

Even though they are pointless, they still count. Perhaps Google will give a proper scoring system one day based on the relevance of the link, not how many links you have in total and from root domains.

Did you know that there are link building individuals that will also sell you PDFs with high page rank forums listed on there with details on how to get a link off of them?

Article submissions

One effective way of promoting your website is through the use of article submission and press release sites. This will get you more exposure than links but “every little counts”, or in SEO terms, “every link counts”.

You can see a full list of article submission directories here:

Follow and NO follow back links

When link building on 3rd party sites, your back links will either be Follow or No Follow. What this means is mentioned below.

No Follow Links (rel=”nofollow”)
When search engines crawl the Internet, they encounter millions of back links. Some sites or pages don't want the link juice that every site receives from an inbound link, wasting on links that add no value to the page or go off to 3rd party sites. So the tag rel=”nofollow” is added to them.

Also, when you add the rel=”nofollow” tag, the anchor text from these links will not go towards ranking the destination page for that keyword term. At the end of the day, if your link is on a relevant site then your will get traffic from it but no other link love will come your way.


Follow links
When search engines encounter follow back links, they pass link juice to your pages, to help increase its Google PageRank. The alt/title tags coming from the back link also go towards helping you rank for that term.

These follow back links are preferred and many of these linking to different pages with different alt/title tags will start to get you ranking higher in the SERPs for those pages and terms.

Did you know if you want to visibly see no follow links on a webpage then there are many web browser plugins available to do this. Read the article on Browser plugins here.

Total links Vs root domain links

The number of links a website can receive can jump overnight by thousands if you get a link in the footer of a site that is included in every single page! Although it's good having lots of relevant links to your site, only 1 of the links is actually accredited with any link juice.

Root domain links are the ones you want to be increasing with links from relevant sites in your business' neighbourhood. A root domain link is 1 link from a website where you are not currently mentioned. It does not matter if you have 200 links on this site; it's still classed as 1 root domain link. 

The total number of links and root domain links will factor in Google's ranking algorithm, so make sure that you accommodate for both.

Summary

As you may have gathered, the more links coming to your site, the more popular that site is, right? Wrong? Many companies employ SEO agencies to formulate a link building strategy for them. Creating fake, Google +1 votes, Facebook likes, retweets and everything else mentioned above for the right price.

I recon one day when Google bring out their next major algorithm change, I'll coin it the back linking “Praying Mantis” update, all links that have no relevance whatsoever will be discredited. A worthwhile back link, in my opinion, should mention the anchor text in some form, on both the referring and recipient's site. These back links should then carry a lot of weight to make gaining credible links more of a desirable option.

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