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4 Top Link Building Strategies


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By André le Roux, author of the Search Engine Yearbook

This article assumes you already know that link building is crucial in SEO and looks at link building strategies that I have used to increase the link popularity of this site.

Content Was, Is And Will Always Be KING

Most of the inbound links to this site just "happened" - without any work on my part.

Well, that's a big, fat lie.

There was no direct link building effort from my side, but lots of work done to make this site the kind of resource people want to link to. When you build a quality resource, link building becomes unecessary. People want to (and do) link to quality sites.

There is a hard way and an easy way...

The hard way:

Pick a very broad topic - like e-commerce - and try to build a quality resource that tells visitors all about how e-commerce works. Then work your b*tt off for 5 years or more. Eventually people will start linking to your site.

Ok, we're not doing that. Here is...

The easy way.

Find a niche where you can be number one. I know you've heard this before, but listen closely. Everyone is talking about finding a niche because it really does work.


The last 100-or-so pages in my Search Engine Yearbook is a glossary of commonly used search engine terms. I kept adding words as I wrote the book and soon my glossary was more comprehensive than any other glossary of search engine terms on the Net. It hit me that this was a niche - and a good one at that - so I converted it to HTML and uploaded the whole thing to

Did it work?

Did it ever! Within one month of announcing the site on a couple of search engine discussion forums, I had four links from .edu domains (which generally have high PageRanks), one link from Yahoo (and I didn't even submit to Yahoo), one from the Web Search directory and many "smaller" links from other sites.

The bottom line is: We are all experts at something. Find a niche in your area of expertise and GO for it. If you are willing to do the work and give it away for free, your link building days will be over.

Reciprocal Links

Reciprocal linking or link swops is one of the oldest and most widely advocated of link building strategies, but - in my experience - not worth the effort.

For it to be effective, you should only swop links with on-topic sites that already have many inbound links.

The problem is that the people who run these high-popularity sites have been around the block. They know to limit outbound links and are not eager to swop links with anybody - especially small-timers like you and me ;-)

The thing is: When you have so few inbound links that you have to go ask people to swop links with you, you just don't have enough link popularity to make the offer appealing to them. When you have enough inbound links to make it appealing, they'll start coming to you... and you'll show them the door. No way you're passing your hard-earned link popularity on to them, right?

Besides, search engines - and notably Google - warn webmasters not to exchange links for the sole purpose of increasing link popularity.


There are many search engine "experts" out there who will tell you not to bother with awards.

They are all wrong.

If you do it right, giving awards can give your link popularity an enourmous boost.

How do you do it "right"?

1. Do it properly. If you hand out "cool site" awards to everyone who'll put your gold-cup award image on their sites, you'll just give yourself a bad name. Your award image has to really stand out and should be given ONLY to sites that really stand out.

2. Many people (I'm one of them) will put the award image up without linking to your site. That just wastes your time. If they're not linking to you there's no point. The solution is work the phrase "Click here to verify" right into the award image. That way they won't put it up without linking to your site.

3. The link should of course not be to your homepage. You have to have an awards page that lists the sites that received the award. On the bottom of the page you can place a JavaScript back button so people can return to the site they came from after "verifying the award. (Remember, the award is about getting the inbound link, not about getting visitors - not directly anyway).

4. When you find a site you want to give an award to, see if they already have awards up and how they're displayed. Match that format. If they, for example, paste a little review next to each award image, they won't add yours if you just send them the image.

Licensing Content

Although this could be a lot of work, the pay-off might be worth it. Be warned though, if your writing skills are only ok - like mine - this one might be a waste of your time.

I don't write articles for syndication. There are too many writers out there who are better at writing than I'll ever be.


Ok, so which of these do I actually use myself?

Glad you asked.

I choose to build content. Just that.

Oh, you wanted a qualified answer? Ok, I use strategy #1 exclusively because there are only so many hours in a lifetime and only so many of those hours that I'm willing to dedicate to link building. So I want the link building strategy with the highest return on investment. I'd rather spend the rest of my time on other marketing tasks - like monitoring and improving my ad campaigns.






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