Posts Tagged ‘link building’

When one thinks of building links to their website to increase Google PageRank and visibility in the search engines a lot of ideas come to mind, such as blogging, submitting links to directory sites, social bookmarking, etc. However, one of the oldest and easiest ways to build links to your website is through online press releases. Yes, press releases may not sound as cool as many of the social media marketing opportunities available on the internet today, but they work.

After you have decided upon the topic for your press release, you will need to define what the primary keyword phase is that you want your press release to target. Take the time to research to find a popular two-word keyword phase to optimize for with a keyword tool such as Google’s Keyword Tool. Also, make sure the keyword phrase you choose is both the primary focus of your press release and relevant to your site.

Once you have settled on a topic for your press release, and you have done your keyword research, it’s time to write. When writing your press release, make sure to use your primary two-word keyword phrase in the title of your press release and a few times within the body content.

Keep in mind that no matter how well your press release is optimized from a keyword perspective, it is of no use in your SEO efforts without links pointing to your site. When using press release services that allow you to place links within the copy, make sure you are using optimized keyword text links related to your product or service offerings, opposed to generic words such as “click here”. If a press release service doesn’t allow you to link within the content of the release, make sure that you link back to your site in the “contact box” or “about section” of the release.

After you have written your press release submit it to a variety of press release services. Although, there are some very good paid press release services such as PRWeb.com, there are also a lot of free services that you should consider. Ultimately, the more services you submit your press release to, the more links you will build to your website to increase your Google PageRank and link popularity.

If you’re serious about improving your search engine rankings, online press releases are one of the fastest and easiest ways go gain quality inbound links to increase the visibility to your site.

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When some people first hear of the college paper “The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine”, written by Google’s founders Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page, they often yawn or laugh it off as being outdated. Well let’s step back and think again, this famous paper starts off with these exact words, “In this paper, we present Google, a prototype of a large-scale search engine which makes heavy use of the structure present in hypertext.” Note the words, heavy use of the structure present in hypertext, which translates to mean ‘the words used in text links that point to a web site’.

If you read this paper, pay close attention to section ‘2.2 Anchor Text’, which states: “The text of links is treated in a special way in our search engine. Most search engines associate the text of a link with the page that the link is on. In addition, we associate it with the page the link points to. This has several advantages. First, anchors often provide more accurate descriptions of web pages than the pages themselves…”

With the above said, do a search for the keyword of ‘Cheeseburger’ on Google, and you will find the site icanhascheezburger.com among the top few search results. Note that nowhere on the site’s web page (or source code) is the term ‘Cheeseburger’. However, the ‘Cheeseburger’ term is use on tons of links pointing to the site, which increases the site’s relevance for the term in Google.

If the icanhascheezburger.com example isn’t enough, try a search on the mighty Google for the keyword phrase of ‘Click Here’, which will display adobe.com among the top 10 results. As with the icanhascheezburger.com example, the adobe.com home page doesn’t contain the keyword phrase searched for anywhere on the page or in the page’s source code.

Don’t read into this information and start believing this is the one and only secret to high search engine rankings – it’s not. For most successful web sites, on-site SEO is of the utmost importance. However, the point here is of the additional value of building highly targeted keyword text links pointing to your site. In other words, instead of requesting and submitting links using your proper business name such as ‘Bobs Widgets’, think of your important keywords and use them in your links, i.e., ‘Custom Widget Manufacturing’, ‘Custom Widgets Seattle’, etc. You get the idea…

Now get out there and build some nice keyworded text links to your site.

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The idea of social media marketing is often embraced with mixed perceptions. Maybe this is due in part the “marketing” word, which conjurors up a lot of wrong ideas as to what social media is really all about. So from now on, think of your social media marketing efforts as “social media optimization”. Taking this view will not only make the time and effort required to be successful in social media more enjoyable, you’ll ultimately gain better results. Now put on your social media thinking cap and approach all of your future efforts with a big picture view of building an awareness of your brand.

One of the most powerful brand building opportunities participating in social media offers is link building. As we’ve discussed before, quality links lead to higher search engine rankings. Keep in mind that many social media sites are given a lot of weight by the search engines. As you’ve probably noticed, social media sites such as Digg, Propeller and YouTube regularly show up within Google’s top ten search results. Now imagine if these high ranking pages linked to your website or blog. Overtime this can become a lot of “link juice” to help push your own site up in Google’s rankings.

If you don’t already have a blog – get one. Anyone can have a blog for free by visiting WordPress.com. Regardless of the topic of your site, there are tons of things you can blog about ranging from new product introductions to news related to your industry. Like any online effort, it will take time to see significant results, but you have to keep at it. Even if you only do one quality blog post a week, these valuable posts will add up over time, and before you know it your following and traffic will increase. Also, make sure you’re active on other blogs within your industry and leave “relevant comments” with a link back to your own website or blog.

Social media is like any other activity; you have to work at it in order to be successful. In other words, you have to be active. Like the famous sales trainer Zig Zigler once said, “You have to circulate in order to percolate”. This is the same for your social media efforts. You have to be continuously active or you will never see results. If you’re not going to commit the time and effort, you’ll never gain any ground in the social media arena.

Focus your efforts. With all of the social media sites available it is impossible to participate on them all. So you want to limit your efforts to a few key sites and regularly put effort into them. Ultimately, you have to decide where you want to participate. However, here are some suggested sites to check out.

  1. Delicious
  2. Digg
  3. FaceBook
  4. LinkedIn
  5. MySpace
  6. Pownce
  7. Propeller
  8. Reddit
  9. Squidoo
  10. StumbleUpon
  11. Twitter
  12. Yahoo! Answers
  13. YouTube

Although the above list isn’t all inclusive, it should help you get going in the right direction. Whatever sites you decide to participate in, make sure they’re worth your time as far as being sites that actually attract traffic. There’s no point in participating in social media sites no one visits. To get an idea of whether or not a site receives enough traffic to make it worthwhile for you to participate, use a traffic ranking tool such as Quantcast or Compete. Keep in mind these tools only provide some idea of traffic volumes and they are not truly accurate.

Think like a virus. Make your social media efforts easy for visitors to pass on to others by adding social bookmarking buttons such as those from AddThis or ShareThis. The easier you make it for people to share your efforts, the more exposure your will gain and the more links you will build to your website or blog.

In a nutshell, being successful in social media is really as easy as described above. The hard part is making the commitment to stick to working at it day after day, week after week, even if immediate results aren’t seen. Other than that, it’s a matter of quality. Every comment you post on someone else’s blog must be relevant, every Tweet on Twitter must add to the conversation. You’ll find that over time, you will develop more traffic to your site and build awareness of your products and brand by simply being out there. Think of it as socializing. After all, that’s why it’s called social media.

Have thoughts on this post? Additional tips? Leave a comment and share!

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In the good old days, it was enough to simply have a website. After all, Kevin Costner told us that, “If you build it they will come”. Today, any online retailer will tell you that Kevin’s old saying is just that; an old saying.

An online business consultant will tell you that great website design will make a big difference in your online success, and that is 100% true. But regardless of how well your site is designed and built, online success begins with driving traffic to your site.

With this said, here are three key factors to get the wheels rolling in your quest to become an online all-star.

  1. Use sound on-site search engine optimization (SEO) strategies.
    89% of internet users begin their experience with a search engine. Turning up high on those search results is a key part of driving quality traffic. Sound SEO strategies will get you there and keep you there. Sound strategies include basics such as keyword rich headlines and copy, in addition to carefully researched keywords in your Meta tags. Without a solid footing in your on-site SEO, it will be virtually impossible to gain any level of significant level of success online.
  2. Create compelling web page content.
    Look at your web pages. Is your layout attractive or jarring? Are you using strong calls to action, or assuming the visitor will ‘just know’ what to do? The right mix of words, graphics and informational content is all it takes to raise your rate of conversion as high as 10%. Don’t be mistaken; writing compelling content isn’t easy. It’s generally not intuitive, and doesn’t follow the conventions that your English professor taught you. However, the more you study what other sites are doing right (and wrong), put great methods into practice, and practice applying them throughout your site, the more your conversion rates will increase.
  3. Leverage off-site search engine optimization strategies.
    Remember the fairy tale about Rapunzel imprisoned in her lonely tower? I’m sure Rapunzel was a beautiful, sweet, and intelligent girl, but it was a long time before Prince Charming stumbled over her in the forest.Much like Rapunzel in her tower, your website will be a very lonely place unless people can find it. This means developing quality inbound links.

    Great inbound links not only help search engines find you, it also puts you in the path of more human visitors. When looking for links, look for directory sites where you can add your URL such as dmoz.org, Jayde.com, and ThomasNet.com. Look for blogs about your industry, or a related industry, and develop a relationship with them. Also, submit relevant content from your own website or blog to social bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon, Digg, and Delicious. And don’t forget – regular online press releases can generate quality inbound links by the thousands, all in one go.

Don’t be distracted by every new marketing tip that’s screaming for your attention. By focusing on these Three Keys, attaining a higher level of success online will be much easier. All you have to do is improve your on-site SEO, improve your on-page content, and constantly develop your stable of quality inbound links.

It’s that simple – and it works.

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Last week we talked about building inbound links to augment your SEO. This week, we’ll talk more about the details of link creation, including keywords and content.

As with anything related to SEO, it is imperative to use the right keywords in when building links. Using the same wedding photographer example that we used last week, your first step would be to find out the keywords that fit your business. Then aim build those into the text of, and around, your link. Good text links for our photographer might be ‘wedding pictures’, ‘wedding photography’, ‘wedding photographer’, etc.

Whatever you do, don’t guess. Refer to a keyword research tool like WordTracker or Google’s Keyword Tool. Find out which words are the most popular among search engine visitors and use those.

Once you’ve carefully built your keyworded link, it is also important that the page you’re linking to contains the same keywords. If you focus on building links with terms that aren’t found on your web page, it is unlikely your site will ever show up in the search results. Remember, relevance is key, and content is king.

And this leads us to the next step. Quality one way inbound links should lead visitors to valuable content. Always optimize your content for your human visitors first, and then tune it up with keywords for the search engines. This should be done before you begin building inbound text links. After all, what good is a path if it leads to nowhere?

Consider the relationship between the content of a site you’re trying to acquire a link on, and the content of your website. Google looks at this relationship for signs of relevance, and assigns your votes accordingly. For our wedding photographer, links from sites about weddings or photography will hold more weight with Google than links from sites about, say, pet food.

Link building mistakes to avoid:

  • Don’t waste your time getting links from sites with no PageRank. One or two links from relevant PageRank 5+ sites can be worth more than 100 links from sites with no PR. (To determine a page’s rank you will need to go to download the Google Tool Bar and chose to view PageRank.)
  • Be careful about buying links. This can lead to a blacklisting by Google. If your website only has a few back links one day and the next day you have hundreds, Google may penalize you. It can take as much as a year for your site to recover.
  • Don’t spend too much time building URL links. Look for anchor text links that use your keywords in the text of the link.
  • Make sure the links you get are worth something. Look for value in terms of benefiting your SEO, or putting you in smack dab in front of your target audience.

Remember, links count as votes, and the more quality votes your site receives, the higher it will rank in search engines.

Now that you know how to build quality links with effective keywords, you’re ready to get started. Get out there and get some positive link juice flowing your way.

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It’s a known fact that search engines (read: Google) place a weighty importance on one-way inbound links when determining your placement in search results. Unfortunately, successfully link building takes a lot of time and energy, so it’s often put on the back burner. This isn’t only costly – it’s plain foolish.

Inbound links are one of the ways the search engine determines the quality and relevancy of your site. Every link that points to your website is a vote for your relevance. The more votes your site has, the higher it will rank in the search engines.

The web is ultimately nothing but links, pathways for navigation for both humans and search engine spiders (also known as robots, crawlers, and bots). Search engines crawl through links they find on one website to visit other websites, adding them to their index of sites and reviewing them for search relevance. Even within your site, spiders follow links from one page to another.

Some links have more value than others. To be successful at link building, you must learn to recognize each of these links. In the world of link building, there are four general types of links:

  • URL Link – This is simply a website’s URL, written in such a way that clicking on it will take you to the site.
  • Text Links (or static links) – This is the most common type of link, where you click on a word to follow the link.
  • Image Links – Click on the image to follow the link.
  • Dynamic Links – These links are in JavaScript. They work like any other link, except they have extra code behind the scenes. The code performs special functions, such as affiliate commission tracking or automatic feeds. Search engines cannot follow dynamic links.

You must also consider the nofollow attribute.

The nofollow attribute (or just ‘nofollow’) is HTML code used to instruct search engines to not count a link as a vote for relevance. This is very common on websites that allow comments, especially blogs, and is intended to reduce the effectiveness of search engine spam.

It’s important to keep in mind that search engines do not follow links that have the nofollow attribute applied. (Hence the name…)

To determine whether or not a page uses nofollow links, look at the site’s code. Right click on the web site and choose ‘View Source’ (From Internet Explorer, choose Page > View Source. From Firefox choose View > Page Source). If the nofollow attribute is applied it will be clearly visible within the page code as ‘nofollow’. You will find it either in the Meta tag section or within the code surrounding the actual link.

Some hardball SEO folks avoid nofollow links like the plague. The mentality behind this is that a link is useless if a search engine spider can’t follow it. Remember, human visitors can still use the links to find you. Don’t shun a web page using the nofollow attribute if the audience is a good fit with your site.

When you are ready to build links to your site, your links can go two ways:

  1. One way links – A link from another website to yours with no returning link to theirs.
  2. Reciprocal links – Another website links to your site, and you link back to theirs.

One way links have always been more valuable in the eyes of the search engines, much like a politician who gets a vote without giving a favor. However, each link has its own value based upon how relevant it is to your site, the text in and around the link, and how much authority the linking website has with the search engines.

In order for your inbound links to have any significant value, you need to focus on getting high quality links. As a rule, the more websites that link to your site the better. However, there is no question that 20 quality links can be much more valuable from an SEO perspective than thousands of low quality links.

So what makes up a high quality link? Imagine if Google had a link to your website on their home page. That would obviously be a quality link – A highly relevant, highly trafficked, highly linked page with tons of authority with the search engines.

Of course this analogy is a bit extreme, but the point is that value is usually pretty easy to spot. For a more realistic example, let’s say you’re a photographer specializing in wedding photos. If this were the case, links from informational sites or blogs related to weddings and photography would be quality links.

Now that you understand the basics of quality link building, the next step is keyword research, finding the key words and phrases to build into the text in and around your link.  Next week, we’ll talk about keyword research that gets your link juice flowing.

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