|My Link Building Plan|
I've been in business online for about 8 years. My website sells stuff. The only link I've ever tried to acquire is a DMOZ link and I received it years ago. Yahoo Explorer shows 525 inbound links and Google Webmasters shows 63. Probably very few if any of these are quality links. Every time I check my PR, it seems to be a 3. I rank well.
I'd like to rank better, so I've come up with the very beginning of a link-building plan and I'd love it if you guys would critique. Link building sounds like a very time-consuming task, so I will train an employee to do it.
1. It seems like the best way to get quality links is to match particular pages of mine with websites, and email them asking for a link.
2. Ask suppliers for links. Do they ever do this?
3. It seems like the best links I have come from question/answer sites like Amazon Askville, Yahoo Answers, and Google Answers (retired). Are there others? I could monitor these for relevant questions and include a link in the answer.
4. Same as above, but in forums. I should only bother with forums that don't use nofollow, right?
5. How about directories? I've read that the search engines don't want you to acquire links from "link farms" and I don't want to risk a penalty. Are directories more trouble than they're worth?
6. I was thinking I could start utilizing the Adwords content network or even banner advertising just to raise awareness of my site in the hopes of attracting links.
7. I've read that reciprocal links are worthless or nearly worthless. Should I avoid linking to websites which link to me?
8. Can social bookmarking, Facebook, and Twitter be used to increase inbound links to an ecommerce site?
Thanks for any advice you can offer.
I think you're unduly focussed on small, repeatable tasks, Tonearm.
The other approach is to come up with a creative idea with the potential to grow itself ("viral" is probably the most appropriate word, although it has some negative connotations these days).
Creating links one at a time is a hard slog. If your site was featured on TV news, would you expect links? Fortunately, the web is not a two tier system, so you just need to gain attention in the circles that parts of your target audience tend to visit.
To put that in a more succinct way, I think you should be more creative :)
|7. I've read that reciprocal links are worthless or nearly worthless. Should I avoid linking to websites which link to me? |
Not worthless. There is a distressing amount of bad information out there based on crap people read on someone's popular blog, sometimes authored by someone whose primary expertise is in reporting SEO news, not actually doing it for themselves.
Someone showed me a popular SEO plugin for WP that places a robots noindex meta on category hub pages that quote snippets of the articles that are posted in those categories. I understand the reasoning behind it, to prevent indexing of similar content within a site, but in the real world there is no penalty for that and putting a noindex (but with a follow) on the category hub is a bad practice based on hearsay and theorizing, definitely not on real-world experience. Category hubs are some of the best performing pages in the SERPs because they contain a little about everything related to the category/topic, more than the individual pages themselves, so they make great pages to rank for the two word top level keyword phrases that define the category. Duh, right? Not so duh if you plug and play this particular WP SEO plugin.
Same with reciprocals. A little light linking with a high quality site is beneficial, especially if the only way you'll get a link from that high quality website is to trade with it. It's a no-brainer to do it.
What could get you in trouble are the old school link pages tacked to the end of a website. Something like that might still work but will never pass a hand check if it got reported.
1 and two i like, the rest of the list have a tendency too slide towards low quality.
Ithink you're the best person to do link dev, not an ee.
Take your supplier idea for example. How are you going to get a supplier to give you a link? Well, one idea might be to call your rep and say "since we're doing such and such business I want a listing (not a link :)) on your site as your regional dealer". Or maybe it's a listing as their local warranty repair depot. You'll have a better idea how to approach an individual supplier than your ee. And I think your chances of success are higher coming from you than an ee. I always maintain that business owners tend to be the best link developers for their business. At the very least I think you should learn how to do it before you either train our outsource.
For number 6 be very careful. Start out slow with a small but steady budget for content network. And if you going to do Banner ads, only go with sites that are related to your business.
I like 1 best :-). However, I strongly recommend you try to put yourself in the shoes of the webmasters (who you're going to ask for a link) and ask yourself:
"If I was in his position, would I really link to that if someone asked me?"
I like Receptional Andy's approach in terms of viral marketing / link bait, the 'good' authority paid directories, and of course good old fashioned, quality aged reciprocals.
For the purpose of recips, I only link with them when they are of the utmost quality, and prefer to place a link to them in an article, or as a resource reference to an article. I have found very few high quality websites say no to that.
Which are the good authority paid directories? Do you mean ones relating to my specific industry?
How valuable are reciprocals, really? Can they make a huge difference in ranking?
Hi Tonearm. Lots of the very knowledgeable users here have created lots of threads about this at WBW. The consensus is that, in general, directories that do manual reviews, are aged, and have authority are the best ones to submit to. Besides those, it is definitely a good direct to investigate any in your specific genre to see if meet the same criteria, or some level of suitable criteria.
My personal opinion on reciprocal links is that the value that comes from those links is really about 'intention'. 20 inbound reciprocated links from ancient related websites with considerable pagerank, to the right pages in your website should definitely make a significant difference. Conversely, 100 mediocre, non authority links are just that, and will provide about as much impact.
A good idea, one that I have used for ages and still use today, is to write an article, or allow the website I am linking to, to write an article, and then link from that article to them. This provides value for the link to the user.