A link from somewhere else on the web to your site is called an inbound link or a backlink. If you didn’t have to ask for it, it is the best kind, because it is an indication that you are doing a good job placing quality content on your site. The number of quality inbound links to your website is what gives it “authority” on the web. An authoritative site is one that has information you can trust and rely upon. Now you see the goal: building quality backlinks to your site to gain authority. It’s not just the number of links that are important: it’s the quality and reputation of the websites that link to you that really counts.
Getting quality inbound links is time consuming, but worth it. Caution: don’t take shortcuts, pay someone for guarantees or expect to be an overnight success. Here are some practical ways to build strong inbound links that you can begin right now.
- Content, Content, Content – quality content attracts customers, search engines and media attention. Great content persuades other sites to link to you by stimulating word-of-mouth marketing online.
- Harvest the Low-Hanging Fruit (the obvious backlinks) – industry specific or location directories, established business relationships, your memberships at trade associations or organizations provide links that make sense.
- Become a Detective: Research Your Online Community – you are seeking a collection of linked websites that has built up naturally and forms an informal online community. You will find a lot of websites during this journey. Save your bookmarks to a web-based service like Delicious. Find out who links to your competitors. Analyze this data to find your link prospects.
- Identify Sites and Blogs that Accept Guest Content – once you find some blogs in your industry, start building a relationship with the people who write them. Make thoughtful comments or point out other resources. Send an email and offer something of value. Write reviews and link to their blog posts.
- Find a Lively Discuss Group or Forum and Participate – the key here is to participate and provide useful information. Look for specialist groups on social media sites and comment. Or consider starting your own group.
Remember that every inbound link is worth cash to your business!