Link Building Strategies
Link building strategies are critical to the creation of a successful SEO campaign for your site. Content is also crucial, but having great content, without anyone linking to it, will not get you very far. Like all aspects of SEO, there are many different ways to skin a cat, and link building is no exception.
The basic forms of link building include non-reciprocal link building, reciprocal link building, link building with articles and link building with link bait. There are others as well, such as comment posting and social media link campaigns as well. You don’t need to choose a single strategy, in fact, it is much better if you implement some of all of the above strategies as they each have their own individual benefits and drawbacks. Reciprocal links (common called link exchanges) can be very targeted since you are controlling the linking process, but they can also be very costly for high quality long-term links. Each and every approach serves particular needs, but each comes with its own set of limitations as well, which we will dive into in a bit more detail.
One of the oldest forms of link building has been non-reciprocal links. A few years ago directory submissions were all the rage and everyone would submit their site to hundreds of directory submission sites and services to quickly generate hundreds or even thousands of links. Directory submissions can still be powerful today, but you have to be very careful in how you do it or you may just get tossed into the preverbal Google sandbox (meaning your site may get either dropped from the index for a period of time, or even permanently or you may get pushed way back in your rankings). Google has, to a large extent, greatly depreciated the value of directory submissions and can even frown on you using them if you do it in an incorrect manner – it doesn’t work today like it did a couple of years ago. However, using a quality service that knows and understands the rules of the game, can still achieve good success for you via directory submissions.
Reciprocal link building is a little tricky and involves more one-on-one work, but can be very rewarding. Reciprocal link building is also known as link exchanges, because involves a trading of links between two sites. The preverbal you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours – only Internet style. Link exchanges can be very successful because you can target very good quality sites directly and make a deal with them. The problem is, like any of the SEO approaches, there are many out there who have take link exchanges into the realm of “blackhat” strategies and setup huge networks of interlinked exchanges – something that Google and other search engines prohibit. Another thing that you have to be aware of is that Google (and the other big search engines) maintain a list of “bad neighborhoods” (in essence, blacklisted sites) and if you link to one of these sites (typically via a link exchange) you will be penalized – maybe even delisted from the index. Again, SEO is not for the faint of heart and it is not trivial, that is why many make it their full time job in life to master and for that very reason, you might be very well served to work with a pro. One of the last problems about reciprocal links, is that you have to maintain a link on your site as well and if you remove it, you will likely lose the backlink pointing to you. This can make management a bit of an issue and can impose some design challenges for you as well when trying to integrate numerous outbound links in a way that doesn’t drain PageRank from your site.
Another form of non-reciprocal links is just good old fashioned quality content – which will always draw good attention. Content is still “king” on the Internet and while this is not as fast as many of the other methods, it is still the most powerful form of link building because of the quality of the links that are attracted and because if people are organically creating links to your content, then the content must be good. Good content will just continue to draw more and more links over time. Another form of content based non-reciprocal link building is via article marketing. There are two basic approaches for article marketing. One is to use some creative technologies to spin (generate) multiple unique versions of each article you write and submit them in mass to hundreds of sites via automated article submission software. In many ways this is like directory submissions used to be a few years ago. And likewise, if this is not done properly, you will make a mess of things in a hurry. This is a task better off left to the pros.
There are dozens of programs out there for spinning and article submission and most of them are very poor quality and may cause more harm than good – so beware. The second approach is just the opposite – rather than targeting large numbers of backlinks, it targets a few high quality and high PageRank sites. This gets you very few links, but the links it does get you are very powerful links. The other downside to this approach is that it is a manual process, as these high quality sites generally do not allow automated submission software access to them. The best approach for article marketing, when done correctly, is a combination of these two methods. Sending some articles out for mass submission to generate a lot of links and sending others out to key, high PR sites for quality links – the best of both worlds.
As you can see there are numerous link building strategies – each with their own set of benefits and unique challenges. If you plan to do this on your own, make sure and do thorough research into whichever linking strategy to intend to employ so that you don’t end up causing more harm than good. Or, alternatively, seek out the advice or services of a professional SEO expert.