SEO Gold: Backlinks

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In the first post in this series we talked about links — internal, outbound, and inbound — as the Secret SEO Sauce. In this post we’ll cover how and where to build good backlinks that will give your site a boost in organic search optimization.

Getting Started with Backlinking

Backlinks, also called inbound links, are links from other web properties to your web property. For a backlink to pass along some of it’s authority to your website, the site it comes from should ideally have lots of good inbound links as well.

Alexa, which provides ranking and other information about websites, can show you precisely what kind of authority a site has:

So, if you run a site that sells dog training tools and techniques, a link to your site from CNN — where your revolutionary dog-training practices were just featured — will be extremely valuable, and should give you a major boost in search engine page results (SERPS).

Of course, getting a link from a site like CNN will take some serious effort on your part, but it may very well be worth the time and energy you put into it.

1. Site Directories

Directories are a good place to begin building backlinks. You could start with Yahoo or DMOZ, or you might simply begin by doing a Google search for directories in your industry. Getting listed in directories is generally free, but may take some time before your listing appears.

2. Forums

You may already know of several forums that are prominent and respected within your industry. A search on “dog training forums” brings up over 8 million results! Do your research and find out if any of the forums on the first page of SERPS is well-ranked by Alexa. You also want to make sure the forum allows backlinking. Once you are registered for that forum, participate actively in the discussions — make yourself useful so that your posts (with their valuable backlinks!) are not considered spam.

3. Press Releases

Every time your business sends out a press release online, you are creating valuable backlinks to your site. Make sure your anchor text includes your site name (or is otherwise relevant) and send out press releases about your products and services on a regular basis.

4. Related Websites

If your business or service is closely aligned with another website, you might approach the webmaster about including your site in their blogroll, or placing your web ad on their page. Obviously, you might be paying for this kind of inbound link to your site, but it can still be quite valuable.

Depending on whether or not a particular site allows comments with links, you might also comment on other related sites where your expertise or offering adds value to the article or post where you are commenting. Be aware, however, that many sites have “nofollow” links, which mean you won’t benefit from that site’s ranking.

5. Article Directories

Article marketing is a standard method of creating backlinks to your website. Find a good article directory where you’re comfortable publishing your content, and regularly post your articles there. Every time you post, include a backlink to your site so that people can find you easily and your site will receive the benefit of a well-considered outpost link.

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