SEO Tutorial: Quality Links – Where They Come From and How To Get Them

Getting quality links to a website is often the hardest thing to do in the field of search engine optimization. It is one of those things over which a webmaster has the least control. If you’re struggling with this yourself, keep reading for some strategies that will help you win those all-important links.

The webmaster can easily control the quality of the content shown in the website, as well as the web design layouts and the onsite search engine optimization aspect, but not the inbound links pointing to it.

Unfortunately, leading search engines like Google rely on the evaluation and analysis of backlinks more than the onsite aspects when assigning a ranking in the search engine results. So as a webmaster, you may often ask yourself: “Where do these quality inbound links come from, and how do I get them?”

This article will examine the link profile of numerous successful websites to find some usable clues as to how to make your website look attractive in terms of winning inbound links. It also examines easy-to-implement strategies which ordinary webmasters can put into place.

So if you are ready, let’s get started.

The very first step: getting noticed the humble way

Most SEO-related advice holds that, to get great rankings in Google, you need to have great content and great links from trusted/authoritative websites. But real life organic link building does not happen that way. After all, it is pretty hard to get links from a reputable/authoritative/trusted pointing to an unknown, new website.

The key is to start the humble way. Of course, you need GREAT content. Content will still be the king of SEO and link building. This is the most important component you need to get links in the long run.

So how do you start the humble way? If you do not have that many inbound links pointing to your website, but have great content:

Step 1. Start participating ACTIVELY in forums, and use your website as a signature. Of course, do not expect this signature link alone to drive you to the first page of Google’s rankings. The key is to show your expertise so it gets noticed. Then, once forum users (which have sites related to yours) acknowledge you are a very good contributor to the forums, they will check out your website and read some more content.

Some will be willing to exchange links with you (they may contact you), or link to you in silence. I find this technique to work very well, especially if you have strong expertise in your selected niche.

So how do you get started? First, choose a high traffic forum in your selected niche; most likely, this will be the most popular forum in your niche. For example, in the field of SEO, there is forums.seochat.com. For webmasters, there is www.webmasterworld.com .

Do not settle for a lower traffic forum which allows you to have a dofollow signature link. Go for the most popular forum, where it is crowded and you can help a lot of people. Having rel=nofollow in your signature links is OK, as long as you have a means to market your website.

It is even okay if the popular forum does not allow you to use signature links, as long as you can add at least a link to your website that is viewable in your profile.

Second, you need to have a fully mature website in terms of content, ready to be marketed, but with fewer links. Of course, do not expect to earn some organic backlinks if you have just written three to ten posts. Expect that readers from the forums you frequent who go to your website will be looking for much more detailed information, so make sure your website appears to be as complete as possible.

The higher the amount of content, the higher the chances you will earn a link.

A common mistake is to use a forum signature link pointing to a non-related website. For example, if the forum is about SEO, using a signature link pointing to jewelry websites. The theme of the website is important if you are planning to attract related links to your website.

Step 2. Start commenting in related blogs and blog portals. Now, try visiting the blogs and websites you like, which are similar to your niche. Read their articles and reflect deeply, then make some honest comments on what you have read.

Insightful, thoughtful, useful and complete comments can be appreciated by the owner of the website and author of the posts. And they will recognize your expertise; in return, they might visit your website and link to your site as well.

A common mistake is to spam comments, by leaving less useful comments like “Thank you, great posts!” You will not be appreciated much unless you elaborate more on why you are thankful for the author’s blog posts, with more insights to add.

As you are taking those humble first steps on a daily basis, you will notice your link profile start to improve; you will start to earn active links to your website – links earned because of your effort.

You might observe a little increase in traffic. It seems you are starting to gain some authority. So how do you keep it going?

Step 1. Write expert posts and link to highly related websites. I have tried this once, by writing a post about a certain process and then linking to a certain authority website because the content requires it.

What happened next is that I visited the website owner and then sent him an email that my website is now linking to his website, and is featured in a specific URL sent to him.

That made the webmaster happy because of the link earned in highly related/quality content. In return, the webmaster linked back to my website. It is a reciprocal link, but if you are earning it from a highly trusted website, it’s worth the price.

Step 2. Write content for other websites with a link pointing to your website. For example, I happen to write for SEO Chat, and sometimes because it requires a link to the backlink tool in some articles, the link is there — and it happens that, when I checked the URL in Yahoo Site Explorer: http://bit.ly/9lgmL6, the link also appears in other SEO-related websites, not only in SEO Chat/Developer Shed related websites.

Step 3. If you are highly regarded as expert in your community/niche, it can happen that other websites will come to you, asking you to review their new products or services.

In this case, you might reply to them that you are willing to review their products/services, and you will post them in your website — and ask them to link to your review post URL. In this case, your website earns a link.

Step 4. Do not stop writing great content. In the long run (two years or more), if you check your backlinks using Google Webmaster Tools, you might notice that you’ve earned a lot of organic links pointing to your inner pages (blog posts for example) coming from other blogs, forums, etc. The more you write the content, the higher will be the chances that people will interact with your website and link to it.

Some more tips for finding links

As a general rule, one of the best ways to find which websites to get links from is to study your competitor’s link profile.  By studying where your competitors are getting links, you too can use this information in getting related links to your website.

For example, if you are interested in which .edu websites are linking to seochat.com (maybe these websites accept external websites as additional resources), follow the steps below:

Step 1. Go to Google.com.

Step 2. Click “Advanced Search.”

Step 3. Under “Find web pages that have…” , enter seochat.com for “this exact wording or phrase.”

Step 4. In “Search within a site or domain,” enter .edu.

Step 5. Expand “Date, usage rights, numeric range, and more.”

Step 6. In “Where your keywords show up:” select “in links to the page.”

You can leave the rest of the settings at their default values, so it basically looks like the screen shot below:

Step 7. Finally, click “Advanced Search.”

A good example in the result is this page:

http://www.uc.edu/ucomm/web/seo.html

It offers outdated suggestions pertaining to SEO; it still recommends the use of keyword meta tags and meta tags in general.

You might want to contact the webmaster of this website and inform them that their SEO techniques are outdated; maybe recommend your highly resourceful and up-to-date SEO website as one of the resource websites to be listed in addition to SEO Chat.

If you are able to explain it well and help them understand the current trends in the SEO industry, they might revise their content, or you might offer to revise their content for them, in the hope of getting the link.

Another interesting result is this page: http://beadams.asp.radford.edu/links.htm. It actually list links pointing to SEO-related and web development websites. Of course, it is not a good strategy to contact the owner of that page and request to add your website to that list.

Instead, one technique is to look for outdated or broken links in his/her lists and ask the owner of that page to revise that link, and suggest your website be added as a reward for finding the broken links. Things like this will work at times; it depends on how you approach the webmaster and handle the situation.

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