It’s only natural that you’ll want your website to appear high on Google searches or even in first position for a relevant search term. You might think that this is a seemingly impossible task, as a search for almost any term will usually show the top positions to be dominated by the websites of established companies with large marketing budgets. However, there’s no reason why you can’t have great search engine results too, especially if you make use of effective SEO techniques.
Inbound links to your website can work wonders when it comes to improving positions. However, it’s important to remember that link building should be ethical. There are plenty of link building techniques that are frowned upon by search engines such as Google so it’s best to avoid them, particularly as using them could result in position penalties being levied against your site.
Here we’ve outlined some of the best ethical ways to build links to your site without incurring the wrath of Google.
Firstly, linking out from the websites of your clients is an excellent way to secure yourself some high quality links. Customers will often give testimonials and referrals of companies they’ve dealt with, so it’s worth asking a client who’s been particularly satisfied with the service you’ve provided if they’d place a link to your website on theirs. This can be beneficial in two ways, as not only will the link help towards improving your search engine ranking, but it also serves as a testimonial of that customer’s satisfaction with your service to anyone who sees it. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to be an effective way of targeting individual keyphrases and not everyone will have hundreds of cooperating customers.
Article distribution is a great way of establishing some inbound links to your site. This method will require you to regularly compose articles on a topic relevant to your business. These articles will then be distributed through various article directories where they can be read by people who have a specific interest in the topic you’ve written about. You can place links in these articles which will bring additional traffic to your site.
Commenting on blogs is a very popular link building technique, although your comments are unlikely to last long unless you bother to take the time to make their contents worthwhile. You will often see very generic blog comments such as “Very interesting article, thank you” with links placed in them, but many blog administrators will delete these out of hand. If you want your blog comment links to stay put then make sure you say something relevant and valuable, although due to the low quality of these links you will need to place thousands to have a measurable effect.
Entering your links into business directories is also common practice for the link builder. There are a number of different business directories all over the internet, many of which allow free submissions. You’re better off submitting your link to the more selective of these sites, as the links are likely to be of a higher value to your rankings than one placed on a directory that simply accepts any submission without editorial review. As before, the links this method produces are numerous but largely ineffective, and you should be wary of third party SEO firms offering these directory links as quality inbound links of their own.
Social networking sites such as Myspace and Facebook offer continually changing opportunities for digital marketing due to their own constant evolution. Their easy integration of blogging, discussion groups, private messaging and pay per click advertising combined with a user base numbered in the hundreds of millions encourages constant experimentation with new SEO methods and internet marketing in general. Your focus with social networking, however, should be on driving direct traffic rather than link building, as all the major internet players are keen to avoid MySpace, Facebook et al degenerating in to massive link farms and have taken steps to that end.
Ultimately, there is no shortcut to effective link building. Unscrupulous SEO firms and “consultants” will offer all manner of link building solutions to you but they will almost all boil down to link directory submissions or blog comments, techniques that can’t justify their price tag either through their effectiveness nor in the level of expertise or experience required to create them. When looking in to ethical link building options, please make sure that either your links are coming from established, page-ranked websites with plenty of relevant content (read more on latent semantics on Google), or that the firm you’re dealing with has the experience required to generate quality links from blog and article submission services.