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Guide to Link Building Pt.5

28 October 2006

Link Development Strategies 2
Article Syndication
Article syndication involves distributing article content to generate inlinks to your website. These articles are typically developed in-house or through paid outside contract writers. In order to be effective these articles should have minimal marketing/branding language included.

Strategy: To begin with this strategy, focus on developing 10-20 informative 300-500 word articles on topics relating to your industry. Avoid using promotional language in these articles; the goal is to gain inlinks by posting these articles on outside websites and few webmasters are interested in posting content that blatantly promotes another website. These articles should be rich in useful content and should have only very light branding so as to maximize their informational appeal.

Each article should have an “About the Author” section with a link back to your website, but you may often include up to a half-dozen internal keyword-type links in the article content itself which link back to related articles on your main website. This is typically dependent on the preferences of the publishing site, but try to negotiate for as many internal content links as possible.

Due to Google restrictions on duplicate content, each article needs to be published on only one website in order to be effective. This means that if an article has already been published on your own website it’s no longer suitable for publication on an outside website. Similarly, each outside website syndicating content will require unique articles in order to be effective with this strategy.

Once you have a number of articles completed, its time for evaluating websites that may be interested in hosting your content. Look for websites that are consumer or industry-professional focused and use the steps listed in the above “Evaluation of Potential Link Sources” section to determine suitability. When contacting webmasters of these sites outline the benefits this free content can provide them (i.e. additional CPM revenue, search rankings on article content, content for users) and negotiate to include as many links back to your website from the article content as possible (up to maximum of six links total).

Paid Link Advertising
Paid link advertising is a somewhat controversial way to generate inlinks, and while it can be very effective, it needs to be approached with caution to in order to eliminate chances of negative results. Paid link advertising is a strategy for purchasing links on topically related websites as a way to improve results for link-based search engine ranking algorithms.

Strategy: Evaluation of your potential link sources is essential for effective paid link advertising. The situation is a bit of a catch 22, you’re looking for sites that will accept payment in return for a link to your site, however you only want links from sites that are very selective about who they link to. Sites that accept paid link ads from any website willing to pay a fee will inevitably end up linking to bad seed websites and will eventually have their ability to pass PageRank revoked by Google.

The ideal paid link source is a website that is specific to your industry but does not actively solicit paid advertising. These websites need to be approached with tact since a direct request for a paid link will typically not be successful with them. Best results typically come from building a relationship with the website first and only broaching the subject of advertising once rapport has been established. Clearly this adds considerably to the time and effort involved in obtaining these links, but this strategy is as much about building connections within your industry as it is improving search results.

When arranging a paid link advertisement several conditions much be met in order to obtain full benefits. The link to your website must be a direct link – it can’t be passed through any type of redirects or tracking scripts. This typically necessitates some form of flat rate pricing for the ad since the publishing website won’t be able to accurately verify the number of impressions needed for CPM type pricing. In order to be effective the ad will also need to be delivered every time the page is loaded – no ad rotation allowed.

The ad will need to be in place for at least six months in order to be effective and additional benefits will be seen the longer it remains in place – so you may consider negotiating a 6-12 month contract for each paid link ad.

As discussed in the ‘Directory Submissions’ section, you will want to include your target keywords in the anchor text of your inlinks wherever possible, but you must avoid repeating the same target phrases every time to avoid penalties. Develop at least six different anchor text sets for each paid link landing page URL and try to rotate between these when negotiating your paid link ads.

Summary
As you now probably recognize, link development is complex and the volume of knowledge required to excel at it is substantial. The information discussed above is just the tip of the iceberg – a basic summary of the main ranking algorithms and core optimization strategies. For a more complete understanding of the field you’ll need to familiarize yourself with some of the published articles and discussion forums posts on the subject. I’ve included a list of what I believe are the most accurate and valuable resources below. In my opinion these are the most advanced current opinions on link development available at the time this document was written (10/2006). Link development strategies change rapidly and old information rapidly loses value as search engine ranking algorithms continually update. When it comes time to branch out from these resources and begin your own research, always consider the source and the age of documents to insure you are getting accurate and timely information.

Basics
Link Building 101
Does This Link Pass PageRank?
Why That Site With 50 Backlinks Beats Your Site With 1000 Backlinks
Site Wide Links: Do They Help or Hurt?
Effectiveness of Link Popularity Decreasing?

Evaluation
A Technique For Selecting Sites For Link Requests
Tips for finding the best pages to get links from (Pt 1)
Tips for finding the best pages to get links from (Pt 2)
What’s Your Link Worth? Link Calculator from Text Link Ads

Strategy
How to Build One-Way Links
What Makes a Site Link-Worthy?
Proper Link Requests
101 Ways to Build Link Popularity in 2006
Writing Articles for Link Popularity
Link Building through Blogs
Link Baiting
Donating to Charities for Link Building

Tools
Yahoo SiteExplorer
SEO For Firefox
Page Strength Tool
Link Harvester Tool
Hub Finder Tool
TouchGraph Link Visualization Tool


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