In our previous post in this Surpass series, we discussed how to structure your site to be visible by the search engines for a particular term. Off page optimization is similar to this, but instead of making things visible, we are proving to search engines that our content is useful. This allows our website to rank a little higher each day that we work on this. You see, to the search engines, a link to a page is a vote up for its content which increases the authority of the site and the particular page it is linking to.
The Links you Want
You don’t just want links to your site, you want links of strong value. For instance, it is much better to get a link from the New York Times than it is from some underground blog. The authority of NYT is a lot higher and would boost your sites authority much more. Also, if we want to link to Surpass http://www.surpasshosting.com/, we would want the anchor text to be what our keyword is (in this case “Surpass” is our keyword). This is a way of telling the search engines what this page is about. That is why the title is so important. Many people use it as their anchor text when they are linking to you. Text near the link is also considered.
Diversify your Links
You don’t want all of your links to be from the same place. For instance, if you had 100 links to your site, it would be much better if they were from multiple places such as social media sites, media websites, social bookmarking sites, educational sites, blogs, directories…or even Surpass Hosting! This shows the search engines that you are popular on multiple places throughout the web. The reason why search engines think this is important is because they don’t just want any website with 100 links to come along and rank ahead of everyone else. The website should actually be popular. This is one of many things search engines do to deter spam.
Avoiding being marked as spam
The experts at Surpass know that it can be exciting getting your site popular fast, but there are several things to watch out for to make sure you don’t get marked as spam:
- Don’t obtain links too quickly. It does not look natural.
- Get links from multiple places.
- Make sure your links come from good places. If you get links just from spam websites, you will likely be marked as spam.
- Don’t do anything that you think wouldn’t look natural to the search engines.
Actually Obtaining Links
There are many places to get started. Many are free and many are expensive. There is a list of ideas below to get started, but remember that sometimes creativeness is the best way to obtain links. For instance, starting a contest or free giveaway can create a lot of buzz on the web and in turn, give you a lot of links.
- Article submission.
- Guest posts on blogs.
- Interacting on social media and sharing links though their system.
- Submitting your site to free online directories (such as DMOZ).
- Request a link by contacting a webmaster.
- Commenting on other blogs (usually lets you leave a website).
- Look at where your competitors are getting links (best place to start).
- Get in a paid directory such as Yahoo Directory dir.yahoo.com/ (very expensive, but can be worth it sometimes to get a business started online).
- Sponsoring an event.
- Creating a giveaway.
- Creating an event yourself.
One last note about Obtaining links – The Dreaded Nofollow Tag
Nofollow tags are not known by too many people, but it is the act of adding rel=”nofollow” to a link to take off the link juice value it has (essentially passing no authority though). Many people use this on blog comments, social media links, and other links on membership sites. Does this make things like commenting on blogs useless? Well, yes and no. It is probably not a good idea to obsess on social media, commenting, and other nofollow links. The best thing you can really do is provide value! If you leave the best comment on a blog post, you could potentially get hundreds of links with several being nofollow. That’s why it’s usually best doing a little bit of everything and letting the people take it from there. If you have created good quality content, then your rank will continue to grow. You are simply starting the fire that is your website’s authority and popularity.
In our final post discussing SEO, we will talk about useful tools that may help you in your search engine optimization venture. Until then, please leave a comment of what you thought about obtaining links. We would love to hear some of your own methods on obtaining links as well.
The image used in this post was provided by Rami http://www.flickr.com/photos/rhk313/4818268606/
– David P.