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Home » Link Building

Quality Link Building

Great quality links take time and effort.

Last Updated: March 06, 2014

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Link building is essential; even though Google would have you believe that links will grow organically when publishing great content. This is in fact very true, but your content needs those first few links so others can find it, share it and like it. It's very important that the first few links into your site are good, healthy links.

So it makes perfect sense to build a few strong links into the page you just published, these authoritative links can be acquired in a number of different ways. Just be sure to not chase 'targeted anchor text' links. Those days are gone, so I recommend using naked URL, brand name or generic name. Once you aquire the link then you can use internal linking to control how that juice is shared out to the rest of your site. Internal linking will be the basis of my next article. Anyway, how to get those quality links...

Colleges & Universities

Educational links provide authority.

These can be difficult to attain but are worth the extra effort. Try exploring some of the university websites and review the content. Is there an opportunity for you to provide some research on a particular article? Is there something wrong with a section of the site? You are looking for an opportunity to provide them with some useful content that they would be likely to link to, based on what they already do link to.

Once you find an area that you can improve upon then reach out to the webmaster and ask if it is indeed something they would be interested in. The time taken to do the research and provide a quality piece of content will be worth it. A high authority educational link is a joy to behold. Here are some of the Universities and Colleges in Ireland that I have successfuly reached out to in the past:

Trinity College | Dublin City University | University College of Dublin | Queen's University Belfast | University of Ulster | University of Limerick | University College of Cork

Are you, or someone in your company, a past pupil of one of these universities? If so, you should consider creating a special discount for that college's alumni. Alumni discount offers can be a great way to drive quality traffic, juicy conversions and a coveted one-way link back to your site. For example, here is Trinity's Alumni discount page. Going down this road is a win for everyone; the user, the host site and you all benefit from this sort of relationship. Exactly the sort of link Google wants to reward.


Government & Councils

The ‘Holy Grail’ of links.

Scientific facts, statistical figures and lots of research. That’s what is required if you are to have any chance of getting the coveted government link. Sometimes you might be able to acquire a linking opportunity if you are involved in any government initiatives, or through a social PR event whereby a government official was involved.

Government sites do not want to link to any commercial site so getting a link is very difficult, you need to provide the highest quality content to stand a chance. It is probably therefore worth mentioning, that the more difficult a link is to attain, the less likely it is that a competitor will also get it. Here is a definitive list of local Irish government websites, it will take substantial research to find the most appropriate site and provide them with the sort of content they are likely to publish or link out to. However, the dividends far outweigh the effort.


Relevant Directories

Not all directories are a poison chalice.

With the arrival of the Penguin update, directory links were the first links webmasters started to remove from their profiles. In many cases this was probably the right decision, having an optimized link with targeted anchor text sitting in a completely unrelated directory; is exactly the type of link Penguin wants to get rid of.

However, with that said, the internet was borne out of directories. Quality, human-edited directories still provide great opportunity for strong, clean links to your site; albeit for a nominal price. Yahoo Directory and Business.com are good examples of directories that can provide a healthy link. A safe rule of thumb I use is; 'if it looks cheap and nasty, then it probably is cheap and nasty'. Stick to the higher quality, human-edited directories that are relevant to your niche/industry. Here are some of the lesser known general directories that are worth considering submitting to:

SPLUT | Joe Ant | Gimpsy | Best of the Web | Search Sight | Awesome Library | Boing Boing


Forums are fun

And a good way to generate traffic.

I am in no way condoning comment spam. It serves no purpose but to annoy the online community and threaten a site with a penalty. With that said, providing quality responses to genuine queries within your niche community can be a great way to start building relationships. The more helpful and useful your responses are, the better the effect this will have.

Genuine interaction with like minded individuals can reap rich rewards. Always have a link to your site in your signature but use a ‘naked URL’, www.example.com. Never add targeted anchor text to your signature. If you do this then you will be considered a spammer, not just to Google but to the online community you are trying to serve.

The more you get involved with the forum the better the benefit will be. You’ll create a positive persona for your business and find plenty of new relationship opportunities.


Social Signals

The future of Search?

Matt Cutts has already spoken of Social signals becoming more important to search in the near future and it makes a lot of sense. It is no easy task creating and maintaining a Facebook account, Google+ profile, Twitter account, LinkedIn profile...well, the list goes on. You are building your brand with these social sites. They bring dedicated groups of followers who are loyal to your products/services. The marketing value of a well maintained social programme far outweighs any search benefit.

They also provide a manageable online reputation profile. If setup well, the top 20 listings under your site name will be social sites that you control. Here are some of the more popular social sites, really you should look to create and maintain a profile on each of them:

  1. Facebook
  2. Google+
  3. Twitter
  4. LinkedIn
  5. CrunchBase
  6. About.me
  7. Pinterest


Guest Blogging

Put quality out, get quality back

This can be a great way to get links. Seek out quality industry related blogs and approach them with regard to posting on their blog as a guest. Write a compelling piece on a relevant subject; put plenty of research into this. You may even want to reference the research you did using an infographics or video.

High quality, definitive articles provide the user with a rich experience, the site owner with great content and you the author, a link back to your site. Seems like a great deal all round. Try joining My Blog Guest, here you can join an online guest blogging community. Search for great articles you may want to publish on your own site or find sites that you would like to guest blog on.

Avoid writing poor content and using targeted anchor text links within the main body of the content, or anywhere on the page for that matter. This sort of link manipulation brings a penalty.

Matt Cutts declares Guest Blogging Dead for SEO. And who could blame him? So many piss poor quality posts, spamming the hell out of the online community, created for the sole purpose of improving rankings. I still believe there is a place for quality Guest Posting, it creates great PR and can supply an exchange of targetted traffic, but the overall value has now diminished. As Matt Cutts says, "this is why we can't have nice things!".


CSS Templates

Great designs reap great rewards.

If your site uses a CSS template which you have designed, or paid someone to design and it is free from any CSS errors or warnings (test your site for validation errors here), then you can create lots of links by submitting your CSS template to any number of high quality CSS Template sites. A nice reward for some good work.

  1. CSS Templates Web
  3. Free CSS


Publish Video

Harness YouTube & Google+ for video rankings.

This is a partnership that is going to grow and grow. Video already enjoys being top of the class for many search terms. Create your Google+ profile and link it to your YouTube account. Start to create engaging videos about what matters most to you. Video's can be submitted to various streaming sites to generate more views and juicy links. Claim ownership of your video’s and get them shared.

There are lots of opportunities with video such as viral marketing, mass streaming and good old fashioned promotion. Any of these methods are capable of creating great links back to your site.


PDF’s & Word Docs

Turn plain paper into authoritative links.

Most companies have PDF documents and lots of word documents flying around the office. Assemble these valuable pieces of content and create a stream of PDF’s. Learn how to ‘define properties’ within the document. Always leave a link back to your site in the correct format. Google will read each document as new content, when structured and defined correctly, these can have an impact on search results and improve traffic. They can also be used to create links – quality content attracts quality links.

Also try submitting your PDF’s to these sites:

  1. SlideShare.net
  2. ISSUU
  3. Yudu
  4. Sribd
  5. 4Shared
  6. DocStoc
  7. BOX


Turning Logo's into Links

This is a real quick way to get extra links in a fast and natural manner.

Does your client have a big or recognized brand? If so, their logo could provide you with tons of extra linking opportunities. Simply go to Google Image search and search for the brands logo. You will soon see a very long page of thumbnail images of the logo. Each image represents a site that the logo was published on. By holding the mouse over the image, you can quickly see the URL of the host site. You know where I'm going with this right?

If the image appears on a site that is not owned by your client, then it may well be worth your while sending that webmaster a quick email whereby you thank them for the mention and request that they make the logo link back to your site. Most webmasters will be only too happy to do this for you as it makes the page more relevant to the user, the host site benefits from linking out to an authority site and you get the all important link. Simples.


Reaching Out

Offer something for nothing.

If I find a site that I feel would make a great fit for a link then I analyse that site. See if I can find anything wrong with it technically or otherwise. I might even run a link checker to see if they have any broken links I can report to them. I am studying their site to see how I can improve upon it, and then I am reaching out to the webmaster with this valuable, free information.

Bam, that’s the start of a decent relationship. Now, if I can find a content section of that site that also needs improvement then I am in a good position to offer him/her an alternative. Now they can have my new, unique content on their site and all I ask for in return is some form of acknowledgement. Good business all round. Remember though, Link Building is only one small element of Search Engine Marketing.


Steven Forsyth
SEO Product Manager
Groupon International

Tallaght, D24, Ireland.
(086) 122-8514 sforsyth@tinet.ie
Steven's home page:

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