Link Building – creating inbound links

To link or not to link, that is the question!  In general, the more the merrier, however some links can harm your site’s “reputation” if they are in a bad neighborhood.

Avoid questionable link building strategies
Be careful!  If you see a link building opportunity that appears suspicious, ignore it. You could be wasting your time or even risk having your site penalized for significant periods of time by search engines. It’s up to you to verify legitimacy and value of any agreements. 

“White Hat” SEO practices refer to safe, honest and trustworthy methods of obtaining links.  “Black Hat” practices are unscrupulous site design or link-building methods with the purpose of cheating or tricking search engines.  Examples of these “bad guys” are excessive use of keywords on a page or sites designed purely to list links.

Post links everywhere you can think of
Include your web address in any online information about yourself.  Your fraternal organization, church, college alumni association, civic association, sports or activity club, networking group, support circle, may allow you to post a personal profile where you can add a link or even brief advertisement.  Ask friends to link from their MySpace page!

Submit yourself to awards sites
Find sites that offer to post your link as a “site of the day” or any other reason.  One place to start is http://CoolSiteoftheDay.com, which ranks highly in search engines.

Use affiliate programs to get linked
If you have a product, start your own affiliate program and email related sites who’d like to add another stream of income.  Not only might you earn cash yourself, but each affiliate gladly provides another inbound link to help you climb higher in Google and Yahoo!  http://Clickbank.com is an easy way to use a system already in place (for digitally delivered products only).  Join for $50 and affiliates post a banner or text link to automatically receive credit for customers who purchase through their links.

Publish in other people’s newsletters
Offer to write articles for eZines or email newsletters of associates (and even competitors) in your industry.  Anyone publishing regular materials needs content, so your “payment” may be a link to your site, along with a one-sentence description.

Internal page links
Even internal links (within your site) can help.  This includes anchor links within a page to jump from one area to another.

From SEO-guy.com:  “Anchors are used to reference specific locations on a page from other locations on that same page. These “on page links” are yet another place to get your main keywords in and boost that “on page” density.

An example is “back to the top” at the end of a page. Except as smart optimizers, we use our keywords instead of phrases like “back to top”. Here is an example:
At top of page I place my anchor: a name=”seo”
Farther down,  I put SEO (instead of “TOP”)
I’ve now created a same page link containing my keyword and thus increased my density as well as received added weight by virtue of it being an anchor.”

Relative value of links
As with the entire “Google formula” for calculating rankings, the value of links has it’s own complicated formula.  Anchor text, relevancy of the other site, page rank of the other site, number of links per page and the other factors play a role.  Even the words [or search terms] in text surrounding a link affects it’s quality in the eyes of Google. 
Just remember that all links are not created equal!