Thursday, March 20, 2008

Long-Term Link Growth, Part III

Let me begin by reminding you that there are lots of reasons why inbound links are beneficial to your site. First of all, links bring traffic. If there are a lot of fingers out there on the ‘net, pointing the way back to your site, there’s a much bigger chance that people will follow those and come to your site, especially if these links are from sites where your audience already gathers.

Second, the search engines will rank you higher if they see lots of inbound links. They equate inbound links with importance and popularity. And if they think you’re important and popular, you rank higher.

Finally, if a lot of other sites and pages are linking to yours, then there are more opportunities for the search engine “spider” programs to find you, and index you. You can’t be found on a search engine if the search engine doesn’t know you exist! One of the best ways to get indexed is to get lots of inbound links!

In the previous two articles in this series, I talked about quick ways to get inbound links, then other ways that took a bit more effort, and finally, in this article, we’ll talk about some of the slower, but most effective ways of getting inbound links. These methods take the most time, effort, and creativity, but in the long run, they draw the most traffic and the most search engine value.

  1. Submit to DMOZ is a directory of websites. It’s indexed and maintained by humans, rather than robots, as a free service to the users of the ‘net. One of the nice things about getting your site listed in DMOZ is that not only does it provide a very valuable inbound link to your site, but it also gets you listed in lots of other search engines (they often index the sites found here).

It’s quick and easy to sign up (you have to follow their specific instructions), but since it’s maintained and indexed by humans, it takes a long time to be included. Submit to this one early in your site’s life so as to maximize effectiveness.

  1. Get someone else to write about you

Some time ago, as I was starting up a website for a game I’ve been designing (notice that clever linkback right there?), I noticed in my traffic statistics some clickthroughs from a blog I’d never heard of before. I jumped to the blog and found out, to my surprise, that he’d found my game and reviewed it! And his blog review was drawing traffic to my site. More surprising was the fact that months later, I was still getting traffic from it, even though the review was buried in his archives.

If you can get someone else to write about you, that’s a really cool way to get a really great inbound link. In fact, it’s kind of the “holy grail” of website promotions. It has the most value because, since it’s written into the content of the other person’s article, the search engines give it more credibility. The search engines give it more weight still because it’s not reciprocal.

Add to that the fact that the other site’s readers become curious about your site through the “endorsement” of the site they visited (who might be one of their favorite and trusted sites). They click through to see what the fuss is about.

The challenge in getting someone else to write about you is, of course, having something at your site worth writing about. Sometimes it can take a while to think of that uniqueness, that angle. Be creative and think about it, and it will come to you.

  1. Write some really good stuff at your site

In his book, “Purple Cow”, Seth Godin talks about how to get people talking about your site. He says that if you want people to remark about you, your site needs to be “remarkable”. So, you want to have some content at your site that’s worth talking about. Think of your audience. What are they wanting to know? What are they searching for? What problem do your products solve? Write some information that people are looking for and people need. Don’t be afraid to even be a bit controversial. That can often draw attention and traffic.

These strategies, combined with the quicker ones in the previous articles will, over time, build up a catalog of inbound links that will draw the traffic to your site. This traffic will be targeted and qualified as your potential customers.

Mark is the co-director of, the search marketing consulting arm of Clickincome ( Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his MoBoy blog.

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