Monday, February 14, 2011

Backlinks - What Are They & How To Get Them

By now you've probably heard that backlinks are one of the vital cogs that make SEO (Search Engine Optimization) work, but that still doesn't explain what they are or how you get them. What they are is rather simple. Backlinks are links placed on other sites that lead back to your website or blog. Backlinks tell Google and Yahoo that other sites think you're worth linking too, and that gets you a higher page rank, which means more visitors and more sales. How to get them is not quite so simple.

There are, of course, programs you can purchase that will post your backlinks all over the Internet, but it's a good practice to learn how to do something yourself before you decide if it's worth paying to have it done for you. If you have the pioneer spirit or just can't afford to pay for it, below is a simple guide for getting backlinks to your website or blog.

Submit Your Site To Web Directories

Web Directories are like phone directories, only they list websites instead of phone numbers. Once your site is added to the directory, you'll have a backlink. Most web directories are free, even though they do have pay options that move your site up to the top of their list. Some directories claim that if you choose the free option that it'll take three months before it is reviewed, but in actuality it takes a couple of weeks on average.

There are lots of web directories, so if one only takes paid submissions, just skip it and move on to the next. Typically, you'll want to submit your site to 20 - 30 directories per week. Most directories will eventually drop websites from their listings after 60 - 90 days. It's a good idea to resubmit your website or blog every three months. Check to see if it's still there before resubmitting.

Sign Up With Popular Related Sites

Find websites in your niche, or closely related to it, that already rank high with Google and Yahoo, then become a member. Most sites have member profiles, which you can customize and add a link to your blog. Instant backlink! Remember, links from related sites are considered more valuable to search engines. If your blog is about gardening, you'll get more mileage by putting a backlink on a site about potting soil rather than one about electronics.

Join Related Internet Forums

Forums are everywhere and they cover just about every subject imaginable. If there is a topic that more than one person is interested in, you can bet there's a forum dedicated to it. Probably more than one. Just as with websites, forums give their members a profile, where you can post an instant backlink to your website or blog. However, forums also have a feature called a signature. Much like it sounds, a signature is added to the end of every post or comment a member makes within the forum. Signatures can be customized to include a link to your site.

By using a signature on a related forum, you are creating a new backlink each time you post. Warning: most forums will not tolerate blatant advertising, so be sure to keep your posts relevant and on topic. Staying on topic will also give you a good reputation within the community, which will encourage other members to check out your website or blog.

Respond To Related Blogs

Search for blogs related to your topic and post a comment. Most blogs allow you to include a link to your website, so once again you have an instant backlink on a related site. As with forums, it's important to keep your responses relevant. Don't just type "good article" and hit submit. Read the article first. Find something in it that you can elaborate on, so you can contribute something to the conversation. Even better, ask a question. That way you can start a dialogue and establish a relationship with that blogger, who in turn might visit and comment on your blog. It's important to become part of your niche community, so people in related fields get to know who you are and possibly help promote your website or blog for you.

Submitting Articles

Writing and submitting non-fiction articles can be a moneymaking prospect in and of itself, however they're also an excellent way to get backlinks. Most article submission sites allow you to add your link to your profile, to a resource box, and to the bottom of the article itself. That's a lot of relevant backlinks. Your articles might get the attention of other writers, who then might visit your blog and comment. All of this clicking and commenting equals quality traffic in the eyes of the search engines.

Backlinks, although simple to define, are a vital part of marketing a website or blog. The more links you have leading back to your site from other related websites, the higher the search engines will rank you. Getting quality backlinks can be time consuming, but if done correctly, it can establish and maintain your reputation in your niche community. And, that's time well spent.

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