SEO Explained Part 2 – Link!

LinksLast time we covered content, and this time LINK is the word.

— Aileen Hunter (@BothyBiz) March 19, 2013

Search engines, as you can imagine, have a limited amount of information available to help them find the best matches for any search terms.  When someone searches, one measure of how ‘useful’ a site is in relation to that search is to count how many other sites link to it.

Simply put – the more sites that link to your site, the better your search ranking will be.

Here are some ways you can maximise the number of external site pages linking to your pages.

  1. Get listed in as many free website directories as you can. Note the word free! You may decide there’s value in paying for a listing on a particular site, but for the purposes of link building this really isn’t necessary. Use search engines to find suitable directories and get listed. One excellent directory to use is Free Index.
  2. google-placesAdd your website/business to Google Places. This instantly puts you in line for being found on location based searches. You can ad lots of relevant information about your business and invite customers to review your business. From within your account you can also gather information about the number of people that are finding your business this way and the search terms they used.
  3. Comment on other blogs.  Most blogs invite you to include your website link when you comment.  Therefore the more you comment, the more links you are building. However it’s important that whilst commenting you also add value to the discussion!
  4. Build reciprocal links with other website owners you know.  Agree to scratch each others’ backs and give other businesses a link from your site in exchange for a link to your site from theirs.
  5. You can pay to advertise on other sites – and we will cover this in more depth in another article – but if you do, it’s vitally important that your advert links back to your own site.

How do I know how many sites/pages are linking to my site?

The best place to find out how many external sites link to yours is via Google Webmaster Tools. Once you’ve signed up and verified your site,  there’s a host of information at your fingertips, including a list of all external links to your own site.

Here’s a quick introduction video to webmaster tools.

To find out more, or to sign up visit the Google webmaster tools site.

One final note – whilst the quantity of links is important to your SEO activities, I can’t stress enough the importance of the quality of the links you build.  If you already run a blog, you will have been pestered by spammers commenting on posts purely for the chance to build a link. In moderation I spam any comments that don’t add value to the discussion, and I’m sure all legitimate website owners do the same.

So, go forth and get linking and enjoy more traffic to your site. Why not start by commenting on this post and sharing your own link building tips :)