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There are two sides to search engine optimization (SEO): on-page and off-page optimization. Off-page means getting links from other websites to point back to your site, which strengthens your site's position in search engine results. In this course, author Peter Kent dissects the anatomy of a link, explains how links affect page ranking, and reveals the properties that make an excellent inbound link. The course also evaluates reciprocal linking; link building via press releases, blogs, and articles; and the importance of using quality links that are search-engine friendly.
In the last few videos, we've looked at a variety of ways to get links to your site from directories to link baits, reciprocal linking, to working with bloggers. Some of these methods are better than others, of course, but there are some of the more common methods for creating links. However, you'll find that there's an almost limitless number of ways that people go about creating links. So in this video, I'm going to quickly run through a few more methods. You may find these directly useful or perhaps they'll simply spark ideas related to other things you can do to gather links. Let's start with classified-ad sites.
And in the U.S., that mainly means Craigslist followed by eBayClassifieds, backpage.com, and various smaller sites. In the U.K., the big classified site is gumtree.com. Most people have never even heard of Craigslist over there. There was a time when a concerted linking campaign based on Craigslist ads could really boost the site and the search engines, but Craigslist has provided nofollow links for a number of years now. And most other classified ad sites provide either nofollow links or redirect links, so they don't help much these days from an SEO perspective.
On the other hand, classified ads, in particular Craigslist ads, can generate a lot of traffic to a website. And there are now thousands of businesses, even businesses without their own websites whose entire existence depend on Craigslist. Forum linking can be very effective and I'm not talking about spamming forums. In fact, you might term this community marketing, though there can definitely be an SEO benefit. Here is the basic strategy. Let's say you have a website selling Star Trek memorabilia. You begin by finding all the web-based Star Trek discussion groups you can.
I'm sure there are few. You then keep an eye on the discussions and answer messages whenever you can. If someone is trying to find a place to buy a product you have, mention that you have it and link to your site. If someone asks a trivia question and you know the answer, then answer and include a signature line that holds a link to your site. You have to be careful not to be obnoxious about this process, but if you can spread these links around a variety of forums, it can be quite effective. Note that nofollow links are not as common in forums as in blog comments.
Perhaps half the time, your links will be follow links and half the time, they'll be nofollow links. Either way, there's value. People will read your posts and if they're helpful, the links will get clicked on now and then, even when they don't help boost search engine rank. A similar strategy to forum linking is Q&A site linking. You've probably seen these sites where people ask questions and others answer; Yahoo Answers, Wiki Answers, Askville, which is owned by Amazon, and a couple of dozen others. Many of these provide nofollow links.
There are some still giving follow links, but even the nofollow links can help your site if you're answering the right questions. If someone is asking where to buy a niche product that you sell, it's a good thing to have the answer include a link to your site, follow or nofollow. If there's any way you can get links to your website in newspaper and news sites. There are essentially two ways. The first is to get the papers to write about you, so you need an old-world PR campaign. It can be a lot of work, contacting journalists for the right pitch to get them to pay attention, but the payoff can be huge both in terms of SEO, links from newspaper sites are often regarded as very valuable by the search engines, and in direct traffic from people reading the articles.
Unfortunately, many news sites don't provide links to the websites they're talking about. Still, the coverage is a good thing either way. Another way to get into newspapers is to buy your way in. In the old days, companies often purchased what were known as advertorials. Back in the late-'90s when I was running a publishing company, I would write articles about the books that I was publishing then have them distributed to newspapers by an advertorial company. I would sometimes find these articles in newspapers with my name taken off and some lazy journalist's name put in its place.
Of course, these companies migrated online and these days, they send advertorials to all the nation's newspapers. You might be surprised at how much supposed editorial content is really advertising, especially so-called lifestyle stories. Many of these stories end up not only in newspaper sites, but also on blogs, general websites, and even pay-for-papers, if you remember those. Of course, the term advertorial, which means essentially an ad masquerading as editorial, is a bit of a dirty word in the business.
The more respectable terms are feature releases, or matte releases. And they're not cheap. They start in the thousands of dollars. However, one service I'm aware of allows three key worded links in each article and guarantees a total of 800 links pointing back to your website. Sometimes these articles are identified as sponsored articles by the sites carrying them, but often not. There are only a handful of companies doing this. You can see a few here or dig around a little to see what you can find.
One strategy that used to be popular was the creation of widgets of some kind that people could put on their sites. The widget, of course, would include links back to the owner's website. Many of those silly hit counters you used to see everywhere were in fact created for linking purposes. In fact, many were provided by companies that sold linking services. They would switch out the link that was attached to the counter depending on which client they were promoting at that moment. Of course, a widget can be almost anything. Some kind of calculator, a news or weather feed, and so on.
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