We’ve discussed the importance of ‘link building’, or off page SEO, previoulsy and in this post I’m going to give you the definitive list of approaches to finding as many link targets as you need.
Remember, the on-page SEO will only take you so far, but its the systematic link building which will drive you up the rankings into the positions you want.
What makes a good link?
Before I show you how to find your link targets let me describe to you how best to create a link. I think a lot of you will already be aware of the importance of keyphrase rich ‘anchor text’ in the link. Here’s an example of one which links through to my website….
Follow the link for a comprehensive overview of our SEO training
As you can see from this the link takes you to an overview of our SEO training course on my website. Importantly, the item of text which defines the hyperlink is the term ‘seo training’, which is of course the keyphrase the target page is optimised for. So, two important points about this:-
1. Ensure the link text (or ‘anchor text’ as its often referred to) is the keyphrase the target page is optimised for.
2. Ensure the link goes directly to the target page (as opposed to the homepage) – sometimes referred to as ‘deep linking’
The line of code which delivered this link is…
You can clearly see from this where the anchor text goes in the line of code. So, when asking others – be they directories or other sites – to link to you, be sure to ask them to use a line of code similar to this. This will make all the difference to the effectiveness of the link. Quality links, like this, from quality sources will win every time over quantity.
A List of approaches, tools and techniques for finding link targets
Hopefully you will already have your ‘Link Target Spreadsheet’ set up from the previous lesson on link building; what follows is a list of all the ways we use to build this list when doing this work for our clients:-
1. Examine your current links
You will probably already have some backlinks. Is the anchor text keyphrase rich as discussed above? Are they directed to the correct pages of your site?
It will be worth checking this as quite often just getting links reformed in this way is the easiset way to improved rankings.
You can use the Yahoo tool I showed you previously, or a better one, which lists out the anchor text as well is Backlinkwatch.
2. Study the links of top ranking competitors
Carry out a search using one of you important keyphrases. Look at the top three sites and identify their links using the Yahoo tool. Record which ones you could go for.
3. Study the first three pages of ranking results
Similar to 2 – carry out a search and run down the list of results. Chances are if you can get the top 3 to link to you you’ll be number 1! Chances are you cant do this because they are competitors. However as you move down the list you’ll eventually find some good link targets. Probably this will lose value after the first three results pages.
4. Identifying common links of top ranking sites
Here’s the theory – if you can get all the links which the top 5 ranked sites have in common with each other, but which you dont have, then you’ll be in the top 5.
To do this analysis of course might take a long time, since you’ll need to list all the links the top five have then manually identify which ones thay have in common. Its certainly worth doing though. We have a tool which can do this a lot quicker – its a paid for service (£95 plus vat) so let us know if you may be interested as it could save you a lot of time.
5. Using Social Bookmarking Sites
I produced a detailed post on this before – Social Bookmarking and backlinking. Scroll down the post and you’ll see how to identify the best social bookmarking sites which dont use ‘nofollow’ (nofollow tells the search engine spider not to pass on equity so such links are not useful for our purposes.).
Identify these and get your content – on your site or your blog – linked to.
An adjunct to this is to ensure you give your site visitors the opportunity of bookmarking your pages by giving a list of social media sites at the bottom of your page – or use Add This as I do….
6. Article and PR sites
I include this for completeness but we find producing articles and distributing them to article sites is generally not of great value – unless you are producing articles anyway. What is useful though if you use a PR company is to ensure when they distribute releases for you they ensure you have appropriate anchor text based hyperlinks in the content, and of course they submit to online as well as offline sources.
Theres are thousand of directories out there from which you can gain links. Point 8 will show you some useful ways of finding them. Here’s an additional site ISEDB.COM where you can find free directiories.
Also – in exchange for a link to my site I can give you a database full of directories we use when we do this work for our clients. Drop me an email if you want to do this – firstname.lastname@example.org.
8. Use the SEOMOZ approach
Finally, here’s an approach we quite often use to find relevant directories and other sources using Google advanced operators – its included in a blog posting at the SEOMoz blog which we use quite often…
Once you’ve read through it – here’s a useful tool which automates the process outlined for you….
So, hopefully with this post and the previous one on link building, you can find as many good quality and relevant sites as you need – there really are no shortages. The task now of course is to go through the process of getting these links. There will be easy ones to get – like directories – and more difficult ones where you’ll need to use your charm and diplomatic skills via email and telephone. There’s no rush – your web business is forever not just for Christmas. Just build the activity into your work schedule (say one day a week, two days per month or whatever) it really will pay enormous dividends in the end – and if you need help please call – we could even do some for you if you wish.