Search Engine 101: Link Building

Posted on February 16, 2012

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Now that we’ve looked at how important links are with search engines, online journalists, reporters and bloggers can take advantage of links in order to optimize their content.

From the reading I’ve been doing about the value of links, I’ve compiled a quick list of tips content-producing journalists should consider when it comes to building links.

  • If you operate your own site, submit it to the many online directories available in the Internet, including the Yahoo! Directory  and DMOZ.
  • Encourage readers to comment on your site and content. Go to articles that discuss similar content as yours and comment on theirs, dropping a link to your site as well. The interactivity can only help. Also, if you make interactive content a priority by engaging your readers and continuing a dialogue with them, your SEO will strengthen.
  • Follow up when others link to your content. It can be as simple as acknowledging the link on social media or even sending the person a personal note of gratitude. That site could be a valuable ally when it comes to linking again to you in the future.
  • Recruit others to guest write a blog post or column for your site. They’ll most likely end up linking to it, which will help your SEO. Additionally, make an effort to go and guest write for other sites, and then link back to yours.
  • Having a presence on social media is tremendously important as the majority of people get your news and Internet content from social media networks like Facebook and Twitter.
  • Aggregation sites like digg.com, delicious.com and reddit.com not only have huge followings that are full of potential readers, getting your content to be shared on these sites will send your link out to the masses, boosting your SEO.

Most importantly, the content you are producing needs to be interesting, new and noteworthy enough for people to want to link to. So when we are producing content, it’s important to not only try to get people to click and read it, but also share when finished.

As we learned, PageRank likes links from other pages that have good PageRank rankings. So how can you tell? Easy. Just search on Google for keywords associated with a site and see how high it appears in the search results. This isn’t completely telling, as PageRank isn’t the only factor in the search results, but it will be a strong indicator. On the flipside, search Google for keywords associated with your content and see which sites appear first. Those will be the top targets that you’ll want linking to you.

A final Google trick to use when building links is to check to see who is linking to you. Just go on Google and search “link:YOURSITE.com,” and all the sites that are linking to you will come up.

Further reading: The Knight Digital Media Center has even more great points to consider when pursuing external links. 

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