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Link Building Tutorial

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Navigation on the internet is based around links, as they save users having to type website URLs into the browser address bar, and as a result links are the primary means of navigation on the internet. Therefore it’s little surprise that search engines pay extra attention to the quantity and quality of links that a website has when assessing where it should be ranked.

When it comes to link building there are three main types of links:

  • Reciprocal Links – when two websites link to each other.
  • Outgoing Links – placing a link to a site on your website, with no link received back.
  • Incoming Links – when an external website places a link on their site to yours, but you don’t link back to them.

The main purpose of building links is to improve your search engine rankings, although it can also bring in highly targeted traffic.

Link exchange is the practice of exchanging links with other websites, leading to reciprocal links. It’s not so important now although Yahoo! and Windows Live still give some importance to reciprocal links. Google focuses on incoming quality links, meaning that any link building strategy should be based around obtaining these.

Reciprocal links can still be sought but only ever exchange links with sites that are relevant to your target market. Search engines will ignore links coming from irrelevant sources and in a worst case scenario your website will actually be penalised for it.

As a general rule only exchange links with a site if it will bring in visitors. Ask yourself whether you would exchange a particular link if search engines did not exist. If you wouldn’t then don’t swap links. You may also want to check the page rank of the web page where your link will be placed – this page rank tool is useful for doing that.

PageRank – a system used by Google to rank web pages (0-10). The higher the PageRank the higher the deemed credibility and importance of the website. A website’s PageRank is primarily influenced by the quantity and quality of its incoming links.

Incoming links can be obtained in a number of ways. The best way is to provide quality content on your site, known as ‘link bait’. This will result in people naturally linking to you. You can also join a number of directories.

Some web sites now offer the ability to purchase links on their site. These tend to be high quality links, having the double effect of improving search engine rankings and generating click-though traffic – one such site for purchasing these links is Text Link Ads. Always look for sites which have a high Google PageRank. For other link building strategies see our 50 link building ideas.

The disadvantage of link building is that it is time consuming. Signing up to various directories, developing good content, submitting articles online, and requesting links from other sites all take up considerable time. It’s best to see it as a long term process and set aside a few hours aside each week to focus on bringing in more links.

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