A “backlink” or a “link in” is a reference to your site which can be found on some other site. This is also known as “link popularity.”
The more sites are linked up to yours, the more respect it will get from Google – and some other engines. Additionally, if the sites linking to your site have a high “page rank” (Google’s somewhat flawed “influence” or “importance” ranking system), then your site will benefit even more. Oh, and also, if the sites linking to you are RELATED to your site, that’s even better.
This is the official version. The reality is somewhat different. If you run some tests on this, you will discover quite quickly that the page rank (PR) of the site linking in doesn’t seem to matter all that much after all. You’ll still find many “gurus” who insist that it does. Test it for yourself, and you’ll see I’m right. As for the linked sites being related – well, this too doesn’t stand the test of… erm… TESTING. After quite extensive experimentation, I can tell you for sure that it doesn’t matter what the linked-in site is about. As long as it links to you.
There’s one more myth out there which is now generally acknowledged. Reciprocal links are NOT as valuable as ONE-WAY links. So, when you spend a lot of time on some of those link exchange sites, just be aware of that. A thousand reciprocal links are worth less than 50 ONE-WAY links. That’s just my estimate and it could be a bit more or less. Does this mean that you shouldn’t do link exchanges? No. Only when you make your work plan, don’t necessarily put link exchanges on top of your to-do list!
So How DO You Get Backlinks That Make a Difference?
- Have a superb site which people will LOVE to link to. Nothing beats this method. This said, even if you do have a superb site, you need to take some action on your own, to get the ball rolling.
- Exchange links with other webmasters. But, as I said, these links are worth less than ONE-WAY links…
- Get people to link to you. If all else fails… roll your own. Huh? What? Yes. That’s exactly what you’re up against. All SEO experts do this, and if you don’t – you won’t stand much chance in outranking their web properties.
- See also the section on link wheels. This is currently one of the most powerful, yet relatively simple, methods of boosting what LOOKS LIKE “one-way” links to the engine spiders.
How do you roll your own?
Again, there’s a few ways to do this.
- Create hub pages or Squidoo lenses (see the section on that o this site), and make sure they link back to your site.
- Buy a few domain names and set up separate sites – or minisites (see more on this one within these pages as well) – and direct traffic from those to your main site. A word of caution here, however: if all your new domains are hosted in the same place, you won’t get quite as much impact. Google scans IPs of linking sites and if 20 sites from the SAME IP point to your site, you can be they’ll smell a rat. If you want to do this in a foolproof way, you should have as many separate hosts as you have sites!
- But established, but discarded domains. GoDaddy.com auctions can turn up some gems. Even sites with high PR rank (although as I pointed out above, PR rank doesn’t SEEM to matter quite as much as they say it does).
What to keep in mind when setting up these link “feeder” sites:
- Pick a name which has a good keyword in it. Analyze that keyword using Google results and Google keyword tool. Your’re looking for 100-500 monthly searches and no more than 30,000 Google results.
- Once you have your ideal name, register as a .COM domain. You can insert hyphens into the name. For example if you can’t get www.myidealsite.com, then perhaps you can get www.my-ideal-site.com.
- .COM tends to be up to 10x more effective as the next-best thing which is .NET or .ORG, REALLY do try to get a .COM domain!
- Make a new website (see the appropriate section explaining ALL about that on this site).
- Add keyword descriptions and alt tags
- Ensure you have the EXACT keyword phase within body text at 2-3% density ie. 2-3 times used on a page with 100 words.
- Point your articles to this page to make indexing happen faster
- Alt tag any picturess – including page design elements such as check marks, etc.
- OK buttons may contain keyword, so don’t miss that opportunity!
- Title of page should contain you keyword. By the way, here’s a cool like search command you can use in Google: < intitle: “keyword” >
Find websites in your general niche and request a reciprocal link to your site (especially if you have a free service). Develop an out-of-the way page where you put links to other sites – so you don’t send people out the back door as fast as you bring them in the front door. Your best results will be from sites that generate a similar amount of traffic as your own site. High-traffic site webmasters are too busy to answer your requests for a link and don’t have anything to gain. Look for smaller sites that may have these special linking pages.
Check out Ken Evoy’s free SiteSell Value Exchange. It (1) registers your site as willing to exchange links with other sites that have a similar theme/topic content and (2) searches for sites with similar topical content. Additionally, three automated link building software programs stand out — Zeus, IBP Link Builder and LinkAssistant. All of these search the web for complementary sites, help you maintain a link directory, and manage reciprocal links. However, use these programs to identify the complementary sites, not to send impersonal automated e-mail spam to site owners.
When you locate sites, send a personal e-mail using the contact e-mail on the site or to the administrative contact listed in a Whois Directory. If e-mail doesn’t get a response, try a phone call. Warning: Ideally only link to complementary sites, no matter how often you are bombarded with requests to exchange links with a mortgage site that has nothing to do with your teddy bear store. It’s not just links, but quality links you seek. Reciprocal linking is hard, tedious work, but it doesn’t cost you a dime out of pocket! Keep working at this continuously, a little bit at a time. Patience and persistence will get you some good links, so keep at it.