Published On: August 25, 2009
This post is a follow up to my June post about backlinks (inbound links) and their importance to your website’s overall Search Engine Optimization. If you missed that post or you want to catch up, read here.
One of the central questions that arises, time and again, about backlinks is “HOW?” How does a web developer obtain quality backlinks to his/her website without engaging in reciprocity (i.e. “I’ll link to you if you link to me”). Reciprocal links do not carry as much SEO weight as outright inbound links (one-way traffic). And the more “one-way” inbound links you have, the stronger your site’s relevance to the search engines.
First, cull your own database of contacts. Think about your friends, relatives or business associates who support your company’s work and who have websites. Make a list. Ask these folks, individually, if they would be willing to place a link to your site from theirs. Some might ask you to place a link to their site, and some might not. Although this seems like a no-brainer, some business owners never take the time to go after the “low-hanging fruit” for backlinks. These are the easiest backlinks a site owner can get.
Second, research. “Google” keywords related to your industry and be “community-specific.” For example, if I’m looking for legitimate links from a web community to validate the services my company offers, I would search “graphic design blog franklin, tn.” The SERPs return an array of directory-type listings, many of which allow for free business listing submissions. If it’s free, sign up, get your business listed and be sure to include a link back to your site.
Third, reach out to the blog community. This requires another layer of research and more deliberate thought. Now it’s time to go after backlinks from folks who blog regularly about your industry. These backlinks, if obtained, are stronger than the links mentioned above because they will likely come from sites that are more heavily trafficked and that have keywords relevant to your website’s (company’s) services / products.
Fourth (and last for this article), contribute. Get your name out there by writing content for newsy, bloggy or otherwise informational websites. Choose sites that produce content related to the services / products that your company offers. Submit articles or blog posts or similar text for posting. Like the blog backlinks mentioned above, these are strong inbound links to have pointing toward your site.
Is there an art to obtaining such links? Yes. Are there tools that can help assess inbound links to your site, and help you evaluate how to obtain more? Yes.
There is a nuance and subtlety to obtaining solid backlinks, one that is learned through experience. Yes, there is a learning curve — it’s part of the reason that there are companies like JLB that offer professional SEO services — but you don’t have to be completely dependent on an SEO professional to at least start down the road of securing solid (and beneficial) backlinks. So get to it!