Part Six: Off Page Search Engine Optimisation
Last week you learnt about powerful content strategies that help convert visitors into customers . The final part of this course tackles the often confusing, but most influential factor for achieving high rankings, Off-Page Search Engine Optimisation.
Here's what you will learn:
✓ The 7 best link building methods
✓ How to implement them
Link building is arguably the most important factor to getting top rankings in the search engines. The only problem is figuring out just what you should do. With so many different link building strategies and camps out there it can start to get a little overwhelming. Luckily we're here to help and since we've tried nearly everything we have a pretty good idea of what works and what doesn't.
So without further ado here's a break down of the top ways we've found to get quality links back to your website.
7 Proven Link Building Strategies
- Reciprocal Linking
- Directory Listings
- Article Marketing
- Profile Links
- Forum & Blog Comments
- Paid Links
- Social Bookmarking
Reciprocal Link Building
Reciprocal link building is simply the process of two websites linking to each other. This used to be one of the best ways to obtain links and boost your sites rankings. Now due to link spam from sites abusing this method they don't hold as much value as they used to and too many low quality reciprocal links can actually hurt your rankings. However they should still be included as part of your overall link building strategy but there are strict criteria you need to follow.
- Only swap links with relevant sites - While a sites PageRank is important to consider when exchanging links, the relevancy of the sites content is more important. The search engines take into consideration the relevancy of links and there are rumors unrelated links could eventually have no impact at all. So if the site you want to exchange links with is relevant and will add value to your visitors then go ahead and link to it.
- Only get links from pages that have less that 50 links - If your link is on a page with another 50 or more links the benefit will be so diluted it won't even be worth it. The reason being every page gets one vote. The more links a page has the weaker that vote becomes as it has to be divided up between all those links. So the fewer the better!
Making sure your website is listed in top quality directories can have a huge impact on SEO. Two of the heavyweight directories are DMOZ and Yahoo which Google use to pull its own directory results from. Apart from these ones its important to get your business listed in local directories as well. Not only does this help potential customers find you, it also gives you the opportunity to create quality links back to your site.
3 local directories your business needs to be listed in:
- Google Places (Googles local business directory)
Writing articles is one of the oldest and most successful ways of building links to your site and generating targeted traffic. The only problem with it is the amount of time it takes. The best thing about it is having complete control over what you write and the link. All you have to do is submit your unique written articles (complete with an anchor link back to your site) to any of the "plethora" of article directories out there.
Often these articles rank extremely well in the search engines which can contribute to a nice little boost in site traffic. Another bonus is having the article re published by others, resulting in more quality one way links!
Not to be scoffed at profile links are easy to obtain and can often be all a website needs for a top 10 ranking in Google. Profile links are the ones you get when you sign up to social media sites, members boards and forums. In your profile section there is normally a spot where you can enter your website URL. Often these sites let you create anchor links in the about me sections using basic HTML (Check back with our article on Optimising Google Places for an example if you can't remember).
Don't forget to include links back to your site from your Facebook and Twitter pages. Apart from the SEO value this helps to create link diversity which is also important.
Forum & Blog Comments
This is another popular link building method, although nowadays many blogs don't allow comments due to problems with spam. When it comes to blog commenting you need to make sure your comment is adding value to the post. Most blog comments these days are monitored which means if it looks like spam it won't be getting approved.
By participating in relevant forums you are not only adding value to the community but you are also staying in touch with your market. If you are a cosmetic surgeon for example you could create a profile in a plastic surgery forum and setup a link back to your site in your forum signature. Then every time you make a comment your signature will appear beneath it providing a link back to your website.
Just to be clear these are two great ways of getting back links, but you need to make sure your comments are helpful and add value. The rule is only comment on blogs and forums that are relevant and of interest to you, this ensures you get high quality, relevant back links to your site and a nice little boost in traffic as people interested in what you have to say click on your link to find out more.
These are exactly what they sound like, paid links from other websites mainly for SEO value rather than direct clicks. Due to their popularity numerous auction sites have popped up solely for this purpose.
Just as with reciprocal links you need to do your research before purchasing a paid link. Purchase links from high quality sites that are relevant and don't contain too many other links. Another important point is where your link in located. If you're simply after link value then you might not be too worried about it being buried at the bottom of the page.
A smart way of looking at this arrangement is to consider both the link value and traffic value you will get. Since traffic is the ultimate goal with SEO it makes sense to have a link to your site on a high traffic site.
The best way to include this into your SEO arsenal is by adding social bookmarking buttons throughout your site to encourage your visitors or readers to bookmark and share your content. This is a simple and effective way of creating natural one way links.
Another option is to create accounts with several popular social bookmarking sites and submit your own sites there. Remember the reason these sites were built is to share relevant and resourceful content with others, so its always a good idea to contribute other sites of interest as well as your own.
This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the Off-Page SEO strategies out there. Its simply seven proven methods we know work and will continue to work. Combining these with the other strategies we have shown you over this course will give you the best chance of getting your site to #1.
See you at the top!
The Team at A+
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