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Building quality links to your website will improve its overall popularity in the eyes of the search engines and improve your search engine visibility. But you're probably thinking what most people are thinking at this point. How do I get links pointing back to my site when I don't have control over other websites out there? The good news is that links come in different forms and can be generated from different tactics. First, there are some easy ones. A very common way of generating links is to submit your website or business to different web directories. But keep in mind that you are going to want to be extremely selective about the directories you submit to.
What you don't want to do is click on one of those ads that says they'll submit your website to 4 billion search engines and directories for $1.99. There are lots of spamming directories out there, and there are very few that are actually trustworthy. A good guideline to follow is whether or not the directory conducts some form of editorial process that reviews each link, and only accepts relevant and trusted websites themselves. If a directory is willing to publish any link without any review, it's probably not a reliable directory. The Yahoo! Directory is a good place to start, and if you run a local business, you can submit your information to the different search engines' respective local business directories.
If you have industry-specific directories and listing services that are trusted and unique to your market, those are good places to go next. Another way of building links is to entice other websites to link to your content. And the key factor here is that you need to have quality content that people are willing to link to. In a search engine's perfect world, someone reads a piece of content and says, wow, that is so fantastic that I have to link to it. And sometimes great content attracts links naturally as a result of people discovering it and sharing it around.
But there are other times when you may have to do a little outreach to get people to discover your content in the first place. Leveraging your social connections to share the fact that you've posted new content can get the word out. And don't stop there, try to find other websites that you feel have the same audience. For example, there may be a professor at a university that's doing research in your field, and publishes their own blog about topics that are very relevant to yours. Reaching out to that professor and letting them know that you have content that their own readers would find interesting and useful might just earn you a very relevant and very trustworthy link.
And beyond generating links from other websites, these days it's crucial to gain links from social media sharing. People are social beings, and we're very eager to share content we find interesting with our friends, our families, and our colleagues. To search engines, this is a fantastic signal that tells them what content people actually like, and what real people are actually interested in. So use those sharing buttons on your content pages, and use your own social influence on the networks you participate in to get links to your content out there and passed around.
Keep in mind, there are some very bad ways to build links too, and you can be penalized for doing this the wrong way, so be careful. As a general rule, if it feels like you're trying to cheat the system, don't do it. Getting caught is something that will inevitably happen, and when it does, there are some very real consequences that are not easy to undo. Imagine trying to run your business without anyone ever finding you on a search engine. Another rule of thumb is that if it's too easy it's probably going to get you in trouble. Don't fall prey to the companies out there offering to sell you 1000 text links every single month, or post whatever you want them to on their blog for $20.
Don't trade links with perfect strangers that have absolutely no relevance to your business or your content, and don't put yourself on listings or directories that exist solely to get you more links. As with most things, common sense will keep you out of trouble. The web is constantly changing and evolving, and the search engines are too. While a lot has changed with the search engines over the years, the importance of links has remained intact, and that's because quality and insightful content will always attract readers willing to share your content.
As long as your link building tactics keep those key elements in mind, you'll always have an opportunity to build new, quality links.
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