Link building is the technique of gaining links to a website or webpage. As the number of links has such a powerful effect on search engine placement, link building is a key component of Search Engine Optimisation.
Ensure that the most valuable pages within a website are linked to the most (see the Key pages test). There is no point linking to every page equally highly, or the positive emphasis is lost.
Ensure that if you control many websites that they link to each other in an appropriate manner. For example, different country or region sites. This is usually good practice for end-users in any case.
Social & viral
These approaches are among the most powerful, but can be difficult to get right. They work best for material that people want to know about, and poorly for material where you typically need to interrupt users to pay attention:
- Create highly-attractive material which people will find interesting by itself.
- Link to your content using social platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. This makes your content available to people who want to know about it, via a platform which encourages it to be circulated by itself.
- Encourage blogs, forums and chatrooms to discuss and circulate your content.
- Add the facility for users to circulate your pages via a control on your page (e.g. ShareThis).
- Good websites with public appeal will obtain links automatically. Accelerating this process is usually an exercise in encouragement.
- Submit the website to directories (free and paid).
- Submitting desirable material to leading websites for your industry or sector. A link from these sites can be very valuable, and encourage more people to link to you.
- Submit Press Releases or other articles to other websites, ensuring that they contain a link back to your site.
- Engage in partnerships with other websites to link to yours (of limited value).
Many companies offer commercial link building services. Beware that some techniques for link building are frowned upon and some may even harm your website, or professional reputation.
In particular, anyone offering volume link buys (“5,000 links for only $100”) should be given a wide berth. The links will be, at best, worth nothing. Companies which will manually build links through reputable (‘white-hat’) means can be valuable.
Sitebeam tests the number of links pointing to a site with the Incoming links test.