When it comes to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), there are two key elements that search engines such as Google use to determine the quality and relevance of a site: content and on-page optimisation, and links from other good websites pointing towards it. Gaining links from big, established or authoritative websites sends a signal of trust and value towards your site. There’s an arsenal of different techniques you can use to do this, though you will always need time and perseverance to build a strong back link network.

The following are some of the strategies that Avatar uses when performing ongoing link building for its clients.

Resource Pages. Many websites compile lists of resources to provide value for their visitors. This is a natural place to gain quality back links, as they are already keen to link to external websites. A good way to search for them is (keyword) “resources”. Once you find a likely looking candidate, you need to find a way to contact owner, and politely request to be added while also explaining what your website offers them. Ideally you want situations where you can provide something that isn’t currently in their resource page, or you can offer it better. Pick relevant sites to contact, and don’t underestimate the importance of politeness.

Profile Links. Community websites where you have a user profile can be a place to put a link. However be careful, as sometimes they disallow linking or only give no follow links. Do some research and look up other profiles before spending time signing up. Ideally look for communities such as forums that are relevant to your industry.

Research Competitors. Using various online tools, you can perform an analysis on your competitor’s websites and export their back links into a CSV file. From there, you can sort by PR and other link metrics to find the most valuable opportunities for you to take. This provides a list of websites that have been proven to accept submitted links – however in some cases of course it will be a matter of a partnership or connection between your competitor and the website, so not all of them will be effective.

Link Out. Reciprocal link trades with low quality sites are a no-no, but that doesn’t mean you should never link out. Linking to a website because it offers something valuable and interesting is a natural thing to do, and frequently the natural response is to get a “thank you” link back. Things like “best posts of the week” are a casual but effective way of nurturing natural link exchanges.

Interlinking. Don’t forget, your website contains lots of links also. And the great thing about them is that you have complete control over what they are and what they say. Mix up the different keyword terms you use to link – search engines are now wary of repetitive anchor text. Make sure the links and transitions are logical, not forced just to get links.

Directories. Directory linking used to be the mainstay of link building strategies – the aim was simply to grab as many links as possible, even from low quality websites. Nowadays, search engines such as Google devalue websites with a ton of cheap links pointing to them, but directory link building is far from dead. Instead, you need to be cautious and picky about where you get linked, and try to specialise as much as possible. Look for establish directories that have a professional appearance and seem to attract good quality website submissions. The more specific the directories the better – Apps, Widgets and web content directories are all good choices, as well as directories that focus entirely on your industry. Be more selective about directories that have a huge range of categories.

Paid Directories. Run as many metrics on them as you can before submitting, determining their quality, their PR and the traffic to the site. Paid directories are often very specific, so that adds value.

These are just a handful of the techniques that can be used to accrue back links to your website. There are many more, and Avatar offers a number of short and long-term link building packages. Get in touch to find out more.

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