|Explaining to Clients How to Get Links|
Without Turning Their Brains to Mush
After gaining so much from attending Pubcon, I was hoping I can give some things back to the community. I'm not sure how much this will help everyone, but I have been passing it along to clients to help defray some of the costs of an SEO campaign. My thought is that if you provide your client with exceptional value it builds the "permission" (ala Seth Godin) that is necessary to retain the types of clients that you WANT to have. So without further ado...Here is Link Dev. 101:
Link Popularity is one of the most important variables in current search engine algorithms. Without too much depth into technical details: YOUR SITE NEEDS LINKS. Basically, each link from another site serves as a vote for your site in the search engines. You WILL benefit from them. Buy, beg, borrow, and steal** for links to your site.
**Okay, don’t take this one too literally. I don’t advocate link theft
Below is a quick starter tutorial on how to increase your site’s link-popularity, and ultimately your search engine rankings. To get lots of links to your site, you need to be able to FIND where to get good links. We have broken link searching down to a few simple steps in order to allow any intelligent “Internet surfer” to become a link developer.
1. Understand what type of pages you are looking for.
This is important to the effectiveness of your search. This is a general tutorial, but the types of links you are looking for will be industry specific. If you are selling custom hot rod accessories, you will be looking in the automotive type areas in directories. If you are selling plumbing services, you will be looking for regional listings or business listings.
2. Find your starting points.
We are looking for quality links from relevant sites. Directories provide the best listings, but there are many other places that are potential link givers. There are several places to start looking for potential link givers. Some of the best places to start looking are the “top” directories. A list has been provided below of some “starting points” for finding your links. Each directory or site should have a category of other directories giving you even more possibilities.
3. Establish if a site is applicable.
There are BILLIONS of webpages on the Internet. This leaves you a lot of options for getting links. Don’t spend too long hemming and hawing over whether a site will give you a link. If it is a large directory or site that is in the same “theme” of your site, then go to the next step. If your site is about dog food, and the site you are surfing is about car parts, then keep moving to the next site. Don’t get slowed down reading, keep your mission of link building in mind. Open lots of windows and bounce around. If your site wouldn’t fit, keep moving!
4. Find the best category to be listed in.
Directories often have hundreds or thousands of categories. Start at the “top” of the site, and work your way through each relevant category. Commercial product selling sites should often look in the “shopping” or “business” categories. Service based sites should normally go for regional based listings. Each directory that you find may lead you to another directory, but you may also run into dead ends. This is why it is nice to have the above mentioned starting points to go back to when you hit a point where there are no more relevant options (and trust me, there is no “end to the Internet”)
5. Locate where to submit your site
Once you’ve established that your site fits on the site, and found where it should go, locate the method to submit your site. Oftentimes, there will be verbiage such as “add url”, “list your site”, “submit a site”, “add link”, or “add a resource”. These links are normally located close to the top or bottom of the page. Keep an eye out and scan or do a “page find” for these words. When none of these are available, find an e-mail address to contact the webmaster. DON’T contact the webmaster directly if there’s a submission form available.
6. Write a good description and document your submission
Each site will have specific submission guidelines. Some may allow long descriptions; some may allow no descriptions. Be prepared for a variety of different scenarios. Keep your descriptions in a word document so that you can re-use them on occasion. MAKE SURE that your descriptions fit within the guidelines of the site you are submitting to. After submitting, document your submission. This way you can go back and verify that your link was added without bugging the webmaster. You will also come across the same sites (if they are good) in lots of different places. You probably won’t remember every directory you submitted to, so it is important to keep your work well documented and organized. Be patient, and keep searching…there’s a lot more pages out there that your site could be listed on!
Another way of finding sites to link to yours is to find sites that accept site submissions. To find such sites, visit a search engine, such as Google, and search for:
"add url" "your keywords"
Include the quotation marks to ensure the search engine only return pages with the exact search phrases you enter. Also try replacing, "add url" with one of the following sets of search phrases:
add site, add link, submit url, submit site, submit link
In addition, you can also find site submission pages by searching for the actual page. So, try replacing the "add url" search phrase with one of the following page names:
addurl.html, addsite.html, addlink.html, submiturl.html, submitsite.html, submitlink.html, add-url.html, add-site.html, add-link.html, submit-url.html, submit-site.html, submit-link.html, add_url.html, add_site.html, add_link.html, submit_url.html, submit_site.html, submit_link.html
I will post my more "advanced" tutorial to pass on to clients if people find this useful.
Wow thank you so much.One of the best threads I have read on the site so far.If you have something more advanced or any other way to get my site out there please let me know.
None of my clients hunt links themselves, but they are sometimes presented with the opportunity to purchase ads that may, or may not, include links.
I've tried to train them in the difference between an unlinked web listing, a redirected link, and a clean HTML link. I've also tried to alert them to the existence of clean navigation (or lack thereof) to the page where their link is placed.
My most important piece of advice is that if they are spending the money mainly to get the link (as opposed to the other ad benefits), to let us vet the link situation first.
We also encourage them to ask their business partners - vendors, dealers, etc. - for links.
I dont want to spend any money on these links.I just want to go to the add your url sites and add my link there and thats all.I also dont have any links on my site so I dont want to trade links with anyone.Can I realistically think that if I put my link on all the free "add you url sites" my site will go higher in the search engines?
"add url" "your keywords" Fantastic stuntdubl! Never thought of it:)
Awesome! Some good ideas here, but perhaps more important, the basics explained well--which, face it, is a problem for us when talking to the real world.
Brilliant tips. Sometimes all of them are somewhere in our heads but only some of us use them.
If you have more advanced tips I would be very grateful if you could share them.
Regards from Poland
One of our clients has a large number of dealers. We are encouraging them to at least ask (if not require) that dealers include a prominent link to them on their own web sites.
It's also better to search for:
"add (url OR site OR link)" OR "submit (url OR site OR link)"
(add OR submit) (url OR site OR link)
That will show all the possibilities in one set of SERPs.
I tried to search for these terms on google.Most of the sites however expect a return link on your site.I have an ecommerce site and I dont want any links on mine.Whats the best way to find sites which you can just add you url without having to exchange?
|Whats the best way to find sites which you can just add you url without having to exchange? |
I would be very, very hesitant to devote any time to sites that offer "free URL submission" or some such thing. Among the world of major crawler-based search engines, you're just wasting your time. Crawlers will find your site more quickly if you have incoming links from other web sites, and they all state "Submitting your URL is not a guarantee your site will be spidered." I think at most SEs, the free submission is a red herring. Yahoo, being brand new, is an unknown at this point.
As far as other sites that offer free submission -- you have to know what you're considering before you do it. Many of these sites will be link farms, and links from those are useless. Links TO those on your own site are grounds for penalties.
Further, many sites that offer free URL submission will also require you to provide an email address and the reason is so that they can sell your email address to spammers (ahem ... direct marketers).
The most important thing about acquiring incoming links is to acquire them from relevant, quality web sites. Find out who are the authority or hub sites in your industry and see if there are opportunities to get a link from those sites. You may have to link to them, as well, and that's actually something that will benefit you in Google -- G likes to see sites that participate in the hub/authority structure of the web.
Best of all is when you produce such scintillating content on your web site that other sites want to link to your site without even asking. So brush up on your writing skills and plan, then deliver, an excellent series of articles and/or newsletter about your web site topic with the kind of information that other sites will want to refer their visitors to. Your time is best spent in this kind of pursuit, as opposed to the hunt for useless links from irrelevant sites that offer "free URL submission."
|I dont want any links on mine |
I think this policy may be a bit shortsighted, not to mention bad from an SEO standpoint.
I'm not a big fan of linking to your competition, although there have been some good arguments presented here. Nevetheless, there are undoubtedly some quality sites that your visitors would find useful.
But... consider directories and topical resource sites for one-way links. You may have to pay for some listings, but most will probably be free. If you have quality content, other sites will link to you without recips - consider a "link suggestion" campaign to topically related sites.
Yes, those wanting something for nothing (golden commodity of links) need to step into the shoes of others and ask "wiifm?!?"
If you don't want to invest in developing a quality set of link pages, and you still want links in, then your best option is quality content. So what topic are you an expert on that others would love to share in your wise-words? By generating articles and then posting them to the following sites to start with (there are others), you give yourself a great chance of being picked up by others looking for content - who in turn place a link on their site at the bottom of the article back to the original article on your site...
Of course you will have crafted a footer that requires reprinters to link back to your site (and describe you in favourable terms - but of course, why wouldn't you?!)
Stuntdbl - your approach appears to be highly manual and therefore time consuming. Have you come across progs like Arelis yet? Takes most of the grunt work out. No more keeping records, just let it do the hard parts. It still requires a significant amount of time, and of course the due diligence in checking the relevancy of a site and the many email addresses that are not picked up, plus amending the descriptions and posting to your pages.
Am assuming the "pubcon" you refer to was the recent public conference in the USA.
Lets keep this one going - Calum
[edited by: DaveAtIFG at 2:34 pm (utc) on Mar. 10, 2004]
[edit reason] DeLinked [/edit]
|I have an ecommerce site and I dont want any links on mine. |
A bad decision IMO. I have found that my well-selected link exchanges always result in my site receiving more targeted traffic than I send out.
1 - You'll get traffic via the inbound link.
2 - If you use good link anchor text in both your inbound and outbound links, it helps your rankings in the SERPS for your keywords, leading to even more traffic.
3 - Inbound links help build the page's PR, leading to even more traffic.
If you do it correctly, link exchanges always result in a net gain in targeted traffic. This has been my experience at least.
I even link to my direct competitors, and occasionally from the homepage. My targeted traffic and profits increase virtually every month.
ok so I see exchanging links is a good idea even for an ecommerce site like mine.
Can I put the link page on a rarely visited page on ym site though because I dont want customers who are thinking about buying to be redirected somewhere else.
You can put your links page anywhere you want, but your best quality link partners will link to you in a like manner. They won't give you a good link if you bury theirs.
Hi there MusicClub
I understand your reluctance to add links to a commercial site - I struggled with it for a long time, but the fact is it's practically essential these days.
It doesn't need to be obtrusive though, or hit your visitors in the eye, but at the same time you want to provide your link partner with some benefit - visitors, PR, etc.
I use a 'resource directory' type setup that is linked from the bottom of every page on my site. It's clearly available to visitors who want to go there, and it's presented in such a way that it looks like it is for the visitors, but in honesty a very small percentage even look there. At the end of the day it is there for the search engines. But because it is set up based on topics, it is actually getting some direct search engine traffic itself.
As far as your concern about losing visitors through your outgoing links... if your site is not up to scratch to keep them, they will leave one way or another - back button, bookmark, searchbar or that nasty 'X'.. they will find a way out.
The point is that you can have a link system that is (1) attractive, (2) doesn't leak visitors and (3) provides real benefit to your link partners and to you.
It does take a change in attitude to get comfortable with the idea of linking out.. but it's a healthy change to make.
Thanks a lot.I think I needed to hear that from someone.What you say makes a lot of sense to me and I have changed my mind and will start having links on my site.
Thanks for the information.
Do you say that "deemed directory" is a good idea? I was thinking that we should link with related subject sites, if we have to link because of some reason. But if this is a directory, then it can be any topic site that we can link exchange.
Okay, if we agree with this
What do you say, if i have 6 sites. Putting the same link directory on all my sites is a good idea? Because then one does not have to do the link exchange separately for all of his site.
What do you say friend...?"
Happy to help, MusicClub :)
|Do you say that "deemed directory" is a good idea? I was thinking that we should link with related subject sites, if we have to link because of some reason. But if this is a directory, then it can be any topic site that we can link exchange. |
Yes and No. :) I do like directory style, but I think you can still keep it related.
Have you ever heard the old joke about the logic professor and the redneck?
|A redneck is thinking about enrolling in a college course or two, but can't figure out the course descriptions, so goes to speak to a professor. |
"What's 'Logic'?", he asks.
The professor answers by saying: "Let me give you an example. Do you own a weedeater"?
"Yup. Sure do".
"Then I can assume, using logic, that you have a yard", replied the professor.
"That's real good!" says the redneck.
The professor continues: "Logic will also tell me that since you have a yard, you also own a house."
Impressed, the redneck says: "Amazin'!"
"And, since you own a house, logic dictates that you probably have a wife".
"That's Betty-Mae! This is incredible!"
The redneck is obviously catching on.
"Finally, since you have a wife, I can logically conclude that you are heterosexual", said the professor.
"You're absolutely right! Why, that's the most fascinatin' thing I
ever did hear! I can't wait to take that there logic class!"
…. And from there it gets a bit rough, so I’ll leave out the punchline. J
The point is that you can use the same method to come up with your directory topics. Face it, you’re not trying to build another DMOZ – you don’t want 100 categories seven levels deep. You are trying to get links from sites whose visitors might have an interest in your site. Your site’s niche will dictate the topics you want to include in your directory.
So put on your logic professor hat. (Hard to widget-ise – mods forgive me). If your site is about floor rugs, then you can assume your customers might have a home and want to decorate the walls with some wall art, or light fittings. If their home has an inside, perhaps it has an outside too – maybe a garden section.
If your site is travel related, perhaps your customers would be interested in a camera to record their holiday – there’s a topic. If they can afford a nice holiday, they might have a reasonable disposable income and a jewelry section could be appropriate. Or perhaps they don’t and a credit section would fit.
Blah blah blah ad infinitum. Think about your visitors and try to get creative, but try to stay realistic at the same time.
What you are after is a targeted ‘broad niche’ directory. You’ll send your partners valuable customers. They’ll send you valuable customers. Everyone wins.
I’ll tell you the truth – it makes link hunting more of a challenge. But at the end of the day I believe you end up with something of much greater value than an ‘everything under the sun’ links page.
|What do you say, if i have 6 sites. Putting the same link directory on all my sites is a good idea? Because then one does not have to do the link exchange separately for all of his site. |
Again, yes and no. I have seen this done nicely… once. In that case the webmaster had a list of ten sites or so, on more or less related themes, and an option for you to tick the sites you wanted to exchange links with. It was well presented, the links were well organised and visitor-centric. If you can do it that way, then sure, yes.
I wouldn’t do it if the result were that you ended up with six sites with identical link directories though. The idea is to draw new visitors, and assuming you have some interlinking of your sites then this system seems like a lot of space taken up to attract the same visitors six times. Unless your sites are very closely related, then your topics should vary according to your ‘logic assumptions’, and an ‘apply for all’ form is likely to get you a lot of ill-considered link requests (not that you won’t get those anyway).
Of course, there’s also the risk of creating a closed system that Google or other SE’s will identify and penalise, duplicate penalties, etc.
So in the end… I guess I would tend to say no.
|I even link to my direct competitors, and occasionally from the homepage. |
birdstuff, if I may ask -- in what context are you linking to direct competitors? Is it to let your customers compare prices, knowing that yours are better ... or something like that?
I link to my competitors in several ways. At the top of my home page I give side-by-side comparisons of my main product up against 3 of my main competitors. I list the benefits of my version as well as theirs, our respective warranties, and of course prices.
I then provide links so the visitors can verify the info for themselves. They go, verify, then almost always return and buy.
In exchange for the "privilege" of having their link on my home page, they place mine on theirs.
I also have a section at the bottom titled "related resources" where I keep 8-10 links to competitor sites in exchange for a similar link back.
Works like a charm. It makes my site look like an authority on my widgets and demonstrates that I have enough confidence in my products and services to allow comparison shopping. Of course I wouldn't do this if i didn't have the other guys beat on price and quality.
Sure, my logs tell me that I permamently lose a small amount of traffic via these links, but I always receive a lot more than I lose.
Interesting, thanks for the quick reply. Good for you for offering the best prices, warranty, etc. -- I'm somewhat amazed that the competitors link to you in this situation. Nice job.
Even i think so. The one of the major concern i have is that , most of the people will not link me since i have a zero PR or may be 1. Do you think people still will link..
|The one of the major concern i have is that , most of the people will not link me since i have a zero PR or may be 1. Do you think people still will link.. |
We all started there.
Yes, you might have trouble getting links from high PR sites at first. So start with lower PR sites - but don't compromise on quality. They fit your theme or they don't. They use clean linking practices or they don't. Their site is at least of an equivalent standard to yours or it isn't.
You'll pick up a little PR soon enough, and then you can approach higher PR sites more easily.
I think mostly if people are leery of linking, it is usually to PR0's for fear of penalty. But it takes very little to at least get a little green on the bar.
what is pr that everyone keeps on talking about? What is it a measure of? Where can I check my sites PR and how do I make it go higher?
MusicClub, it's on the Google Toolbar - download it from Google.
PR (Page Rank) is a significant component of the way Google ranks your website. It is based on how many sites link to your site, and the PR of those sites.
It is NOT what dictates your ranking in the SERPs (search engine result pages), but it is a factor in the calculation.
It's just one factor of 100+, and probably the most overrated factor.
As GG has just said today in this thread [webmasterworld.com], it "isn't the end-all-be-all of rankings."
Nice post. (needs to be brought back to the top)
can someone let me know what all the factors are to come up on top in the SERP's.