SEO Link Building With Web Content Secrets
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the timeless question: how do you get other sites
to link to you? The most commonly discussed ways
are reciprocal linking (swapping links) and buying
links. Yet there's another important tool for building
links that should be a part of your toolbox: distributing
content in exchange for one-way inbound links.
with Other Linking Methods
Reciprocal Linking: The big advantage
of content distribution over swapping links is
that the links built are one-way, and therefore
presumably more valuable. Of course, reciprocal
links still have value, but relying primarily
on them might hamper your SEO efforts.
Reciprocal Links: I link my site A to
your site, so you link your site to my site B.
The problems are that this can be a lot of work,
and also, Google can detect indirect links if
you do it more than once with the same group of
sites, which might make your linking arrangements
look like a link farm.
Paid Links: The problem with
paid links is 1) the costs add up; 2) search engines
are getting better and better at discounting paid
links. According to Matt Cutts' blog, "I
wouldn't be surprised if search engines begin
to take stronger action against link buying in
the near future...link-selling sites can lose
their ability to give reputation (e.g. PageRank
of Content to Distribute
Articles: This is the essential
kind of content distribution, to the point that
many people consider content distribution simply
as "article marketing." However, you're
missing out on a few other sources of links if
you only do articles.
News blurbs: A lot of news-style
sites will only reprint pieces of a couple of
paragraphs. The good news is that often enough
the whole point of these news blurbs is to include
links to other sites, in a sort of "look
what we've found" kind of way, a la Slashdot.org
Press Releases: There are some
sites that aggressively reprint press releases.
A press release is like an article, only in a
very specific press release format, and frankly
that's not that enjoyable to read. I don't know
why some sites are so head-over-heels over press
releases, but, hey, that's their business. The
good news is that even if you can't write and
don't want to hire a writer, press releases (at
least basic ones) are pretty easy to do.
Tools, games and other webware:
Sites with popular tools, software, Flash games
and other webware often let other sites use it
in exchange for a link. The big potential downside
is technical support.
Images: Images, especially charts
and photographs, are important forms of content
on the web. If you have great images on your site
and people ask you to use them on their sites,
require a backlink in exchange. The problem with
images is that they are so easily stolen. Stolen
words can be uncovered with a web search. You
could try to watermark images with a copyright
symbol, URL, and the link requirement. But in
the process you'd make the image much less desirable.
Web Design Templates: These have
been freely distributed for a long time. Yet they
are even more easily stolen than images. Also,
if you embed a link in the footer of a web template,
what you'll get back are sitewide links, which
are often thought to be filtered out in search
Effectiveness: Anchor Text
need optimized anchor text to rank high for any
competitive keyword. That means you need your target
keyword in the anchor text, and very importantly,
variants of the target keyword (too many links with
the exact same anchor text may be filtered). The
problem is that some sites by default don't let
you choose the anchor text of the link to your site.
So you need to: 1) look for sites that do reprint
content with optimized anchor text; 2) specifically
ask for your target anchor text to be used. Also,
do keep in mind that a true natural linking structure
will require you to have a number of links that
are not anchor-text-optimized, typically with the
URL as the anchor text.
How to Find Sites
sites to submit content is the biggest challenge.
You can start by asking around to any other webmasters
you already have a relationship with. Next, web-search.
The classic method is "submit article" + [keyword]. Most of the sites you find this way
won't be good candidates, which is why this can
be a bit labor-intensive. I use offshore labor for
this step, as well as a program that will sort and
store all the search results into a spreadsheet;
otherwise it might not be worth it. Then again,
the same would be true for finding reciprocal linking
Issues & Best Practices
rule: remember that there's a human being
who has to approve your article for submission.
Read and adhere to all submission guidelines.
Avoid automation. There's almost always some detail
of submission that requires a human eye: a multitude
of html formatting requirements, changing site
Don't submit by email unless specifically instructed.
Using a contact form prevents possible sp@m accusations.
Only approach websites that request content submissions.
Don't misrepresent reprint content as original.
Don't submit the same content too often. After
about two hundred reprints, a lot of people will
be seeing the same thing over and over again and
short, as SEO gets more competitive, having more
and more linking methods at your disposal gets more
and more important. Don't overlook this important
The Author: Joel Walsh is a professional
in the fields of copywriting and SEO who has recently
an SEO firm.