131 (Legitimate) Link Building Strategies . . .
"The Definitive Source of Link Building Strategies
on the Internet"
Co-authored by Robin Nobles, Eric Ward, and John Alexander
In search engine optimization, "off page" factors have become
more and more important as they relate to rankings. In
particular, solid link popularity can literally make or break a
site with the search engines.
Before we go any further, what is "link popularity"? In very
simplistic terms, link popularity refers to the number and
quality of the incoming links that are pointing to your site.
These other sites consider your site important enough to link to.
So, in the engine's view, your site is considered important as
well. What is meant by "link popularity" can get much more
complex, which is discussed further in this article.
However, one of the most difficult areas of SEO is building link
popularity. Why? Because the engines don't want "artificially
created" (or useless) links, so there are no easy ways to build
link popularity. The days of link farms and huge link exchange
programs are over. Try those strategies now and you can easily
find yourself booted out of an engine.
Rather, the engines want links from authoritative sites, or links
from sites that share the same focus as your site.
But besides the link popularity you gain by getting an
authoritative site to link to you, you also gain additional
visibility for your Web site. So, when working on building link
popularity, don't forget those two basic reasons for requesting
The Purpose of this Article
Because building link popularity is one of the most difficult and
time consuming aspects of search engine marketing, we decided to
join forces with each other and with other search engine
optimizers to create a list of legitimate ways you can build link
popularity for your site.
When looking through this list, you may find strategies that are
subject to abuse. If you use them as recommended in this article,
you will have no problems. Abuse them, and you're treading in
potentially dangerous waters.
Stephen Baker with Fast said one of the most memorable statements
I've heard as it relates to what the engines like or don't like
to see. He said:
"Our position is pretty straight forward...it's not the technique
that we are concerned about, it's the intention."
So, always keep that statement in mind when you consider linking
or any other strategies for your Web site. Analyze your
intentions, and if you wouldn't mind an engine knowing what
you're doing, your intentions are okay.
Now that we've gotten the preliminaries out of the way, let's get
down to business: learning ways to increase the link popularity
of our sites. To write this article, we went to professional
search engine optimizers for their ideas. After each strategy, we
briefly attributed it to the SEO who sent it to us, and then we
provided a list of all contributors along with their companies
and URL's at the end of the article.
Keep in mind that these strategies aren't in any particular
order. Also, keep in mind that though it isn't always stated
explicitly, we're always referring to "related" and "important"
or "authoritative" sites as our targets.
Start with the Basics:
Before you begin link seeking, you might want to read the
article, "A Linking-Campaign Primer":
http://www.ericward.com/articles/primer.html. (Eric Ward,
President, NetPOST and URLwire) (http://www.ericward.com)
This is by far the oldest and best-known method of improving link
popularity. Basically you e-mail or contact the Webmaster of a
site that is complementary but generally not competitive to your
own. You ask them to link to your site while outlining the
benefits of doing so. You would generally offer to link back to
them in exchange for this courtesy. Be sure you have developed
genuine content on your Web site of interest to the trading
partner. Explain the advantages to them and to their visitors by
providing a link to your content. Tell them where the link on
your site will be or set the link up in advance with the
stipulation that you'll be glad to leave it there if they'll add
a link to you in kind. Take the time to look over their site and
then suggest where a link to you might be appropriate. Most
importantly, personalize your e-mails! You must distinguish
yourself from all the spam they receive daily. If the link is
particularly important to you, call them personally or write them
a letter or send a fax to show them you're serious. (Brent
Winters with First Place Software)(http://www.webposition.com)
(To view the rest of the article, which is over 12,000 words
you'd like to download the article in an ebook format, visit:
http://www.searchengineworkshops.com/131LinkPop.html The article
is also available in text format as an attachment to email by
writing to RobinN@acws.com.
This article was compiled by Robin Nobles, Eric Ward, and John
Alexander. The following people contributed tips to the article,
and we greatly thank them for their contributions and help. Their
companies and URL's are listed in the HTML, text, and ebook
versions of the article.
Mike Adams, John Alexander, Michael Campbell, Chris Churchill,
Terry Dean, Elbert Flores, Chris Genge, Bill Gentry, Ron Gotcher,
Don Hammond, Detlev Johnson, Dixon Jones, Jon Keel, Barbara Coll,
Stephen Mahaney, Nancy Nelson, Robin Nobles, David Notestine,
Susan O'Neil, Debra Paynter, Terry Plank, Rocky Rawstern, Gil
Sery, Chris Sherman, Judith Silver, Marshall Simmonds, Scott
Smith, Danny Sullivan, Becky Thompson, Eric Ward, Carl Watney,
Steve Wilson, Brent Winters, and Gary Woods.
A special thanks to Butch Pujol and Heather Colman of Digital
Page Author Software and Service (http://www.digital-page-author-
software.com) for creating the wonderful e-book for us.
Copyright 2002 Robin Nobles. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Robin Nobles, Director of Training, Academy of Web Specialists,
has trained several thousand people in her online search engine
marketing (http://www.academywebspecialists.com) training
programs. She also teaches 3-day hands-
on search engine marketing workshops in locations across the
globe with Search Engine Workshops