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Monday, September 12, 2005

How to get Good Quality Incoming Links

Posted by @ 7:10 pm

Linking is an important part of search engine optimization.

I have promised on two occasions to document how I believe you should go about getting good quality links. Basically there are two ways to go about getting links:

  1. Actively seeking and acquiring links; and
  2. Passively seeking links

Active Methods
I consider active sourcing as any method where you are pro-actively going out to acquire incoming links. Some of these methods do involve paying but not all:

  1. Tier 1 Directory submission – has to be done and be prepared to pay for it. Yahoo! Directory, DMOZ and are the three that I always recommend straight away.
  2. Tier 2 Directory submission – all the rest and what I consider generic directories. Worth getting in as many of these as you can.
  3. Tier 3 Directory submission (niche) - do a search on your favourite search engine for “[Keywords] directory“. Try searching for a couple of different keywords to find different directories.
  4. Resource sites – taking a similar approach to above, do a search for your top performing keywords and identify any industry resource sites.
  5. Press releases – issue a press release and pay for it to be submitted to press release search engines. Also a great way to build up general awareness of your business, assuming you have something positive to crow about.
  6. Sponsor a conference – most conferences provide exhibitor information on their home page. Of course, you should get further benefits from being at the conference and your sponsorship.
  7. Testimonials – provide a testimonial to your suppliers regarding the great service they are providing your business. Don’t forget to include your URL.

Passive Methods
This is all about working on your site so that other people want to link to you, because you have something to offer. These types of links just happen over time as you build up a regular customer base. Becoming an authorative site in your area of expertise is the key to this passive method.

  1. Content – build top quality, unique content that provides value to people. They will then naturally provide links into your site.
  2. Start a forum – though very time consuming and resource intensive, a forum where people can talk about ideas related to your area of expertise is an effective method of building content.
  3. Blog – similar concept to a forum but less resource intensive. A great way for people to link to your site and provides a great customer retention tool.
  4. Free Tools – provide some sort of free tool on your site. This is a very effective way for the resource sites that are out there, to link to your site. Everyone loves something for free and will link to it.
  5. Newsletter – start a newsletter that you can email to your clients. Put up a newsletter archive on your site allowing anyone to view these. Again, a derivative of point 1 which is about content.
  6. Affiliate program – start your own affiliate program. Not only should it drive some sales but also will provide a few links in.

You will notice at no point have I talked about sending out mass emails or buying links through text adverts. These are other options but not something that I felt worthy of talking about here.

Again, I stress that you need to exercise some element of caution in obtaining too many inbound links too quickly. This can set off alarm bells for search engines and potentially (if you subscribe to the theory) get your site into the Google Sandbox.

The safest way is to be slow and steady in the way you obtain links. If you are going to go the effort of obtaining links, than be prepared to be in it for the long haul

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Discussion (8 - comments)

Good stuff, Warren. Thanks for posting.
~Jeanne :-)

By Jeanne - September 14, 2005

This is a great short list of how to start… very helpful. I will use this with my clients. I find that most people get caught up in link farms and shaddy paid inclusion services that do more harm than good. Good to see a profession aproach.

Thanks for the quick read!


By Paul Hepworth - September 14, 2005

Do you have any recommendations of good Tier 2 Directories to submit to?

By Mike Allen - September 16, 2005

What do I do? Just ask the company I work for if I can send them a testimonial.What if they dont need one? I have an affiliate site: .

By Sheryl - September 16, 2005

Mike: I have a list of directories that I use that I have built up over time. I suggest using your favorite search engine to get a list of current ones and go from there.

If you don’t have time, then you can consider one of ineedhits’ directory submission products.

Sheryl: Actually when I say send a testimonial, I meant to some of your suppliers, saying how good thier products/services are. This will only give you a few links because if you have more than about 20 suppliers, you probably have too many.

By Warren Duff - September 18, 2005

very good article, but i just wondering , how to keep the link keep linking to our site. Because sometimes we could got 100 incoming link, but in next month, it could be reduce to only 50. Any tips on this matter?

By aussier - June 11, 2006

Hi Aussier

Backlinks can naturally change from month to month for a number of reaons, such as links being removed, site down at last crawl or even sites being banned (and their back links being discounted).

Whilst you should be aiming to increase your backlinks, you shouldn’t stress due to minor changes. Just continue working away at getting quality backlinks in and look at the true measure – the traffic you are getting!

By Warren Duff - July 12, 2006

I’ve been trying a few combinations of active and passive such as you’ve suggested.

Seems like it does take quite a bit of time but progress does follow.

Online Courses

By Essence Of Joy - January 26, 2007

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