Link building is essential for proving to the search engines that your site is worthy and deserving of a top SERPs slot. But it’s important to understand the various types of links, what they represent, and how to use them.
Link building is an ongoing process, meaning you can’t get to the top and retire, at least not if you’re expecting to stay in that top slot. In this post I figured I would give a full guide to the various methods of link building and types of links. REMEMBER to use hyperlinks with the keywords you’re targeting whenever possible in designing your links:
One Way Links – One way links are the most valuable in terms of link juice and there plenty of ways to get these kinds of links:
Creating Good Content – This is the most classic way to create links to your site. By creating plain good content without over thinking it, other webmasters will link back to you. I know it’s trite to say and you probably have heard it before, but there is no secret beyond creating good content with your visitors and readers in mind and the rest will take care of itself.
Link Bait – Link bait is content which is especially attractive to other webmasters so that they’ll want to link to your content. Examples of link bait are current news/informational/humor hooks, videos, helpful tools/widgets. Really it’s something unique which sets your site/page apart from others which webmasters can’t get anywhere else, even if just at that moment.
Article Directories – Article directories are easy ways to pick up quick and quality backlinks to your site along with some traffic. Be sure to use the keywords you’re targeting for your website in the anchor text. It goes without saying but make sure that the article directory is dofollow so that you can benefit from the link juice. Check out my article writing tips on how to write a great article as well as how to write a great title and how to write a great article resource box.
Forum Posting/Blog Commenting/Social Bookmarking – You can create valuable one way links back to your website on the above mentioned types of sites. Making insightful posts and comments on forums and blogs relevant to your niche can get a link to your site and other visitors to that site can take notice of your interesting comment and follow it back to your site. Make sure that you know what makes for good blog comments before you start posting.
Press Releases – Press release sites are just like off line press releases. They are places where you can list a bit about your website/online business to increase awareness about what you do while creating a valuable one way link back to it. Check out my 10 press release tips on how to write the best and get the most out of your press releases.
Trackbacks – These are special links in which one webmaster references a specific post in his or her blog from another webmaster’s blog. It creates traffic, link juice on one end, and build relationships between webmasters in a given field. I’ve written an entire post to address what are trackbacks and how you can benefit from them.
On Site Links – On site links or those in which you link from one page on your site to another can be very powerful. This doesn’t mean to link every page of your site to every other page of your site. Instead, the general rule of thumb is to do this whenever it makes sense like I just did with linking to my trackbacks post. Whenever there is something you’ve previously written which is relevant and worth referencing, link to it to spread the juice around your own site.
Reciprocal/Two Way Links – Two way links occur when two webmasters post a link to each other’s website on their web page.
Note that these are some of the more dangerous types of links to use in today’s internet because they suggest very little value.
Though they’re not especially powerful in terms of link juice, they’re easy to get as you can approach other webmasters in your niche about a link exchange, link to their site while they link to yours, and you’re done. Don’t bother with sites outside of your niche as relevance is key in Google’s eyes.
Remember, links from high PR sites and .gov and .edu sites are more valuable than normal links so you might convince a webmaster of one of these sites to link to you by offering to link to their site in a higher volume/profile way. This means that you’ll link to their site sitewide (on every page of your site) on your site or at least on your home page. This is in contrast to doing the antiquated “designated link page”. Search engines aren’t fans of it anymore and it’s awkward to have. I mean think about it, who is going to check out your links page and visit sites which are arbitrarily clustered together? Links should look natural in their placement and never appeared forced for everyone’s sake.
Three/Four/Etc. Way Links – Three way links are used as a loophole to circumvent the shortcomings associated with reciprocal links involving three websites where no one website directly links to another. Instead you have Site A linking to Site B which links to Site C which finally links back to Site A. Four way linking which works in the same way has finally been “discovered”, as well, as an additional measure for fooling search engines but it obviously requires a fourth relevant site.
Similar to two way straight up link exchanges, three, four, and beyond exchanges are also some of the most dangerous types of links to avoid using on your site as they’re easy to spot by Google and other sites.
Buying Links – You can buy links which basically means someone creates links to your site from (ideally) relevant high profile and PR sites.
Link Packages – There are link packages which mean you get links from all of the sites listed in the package in exchange for the asking price. This saves you time and potentially gets you links which could be difficult to get yourself on your own.
Sitewide Links – This typically means paying to have your site listed on every single page of another website which is a higher profile link.
Directory Links – Some directories are free, others charge to have you listed. Go for the major or relevant to your niche directories.
One final note: Don’t be stingy with DISPENSING links from your site when there is an obvious, relevant, and helpful page to link to off of your site. Some webmasters are overly concerned about losing a bit of traffic or link juice because of an outbound link which takes their visitors to another page. Outbound linking is an important step in building your site and establishing it as an authority site not only to visitors but other webmasters who are deciding whether or not to link to you. No webmaster wants to give a link to a greedy hermit site who is unwilling to share the love, so remember that natural outbound linking is another necessary part of growing your site.