This article is designed to help the newcomer with one of the most critical parts of Internet marketing: Website traffic generation. It covers techniques that are crucial for your understanding of the powerful options available to you with successful link building for generating free website traffic flow of interested visitors, thus boosting sales.
Let's Start With Backlinks
These are links from other websites directed back to your website. One of the ways that Google and other search engines learn to love your website is by how many other website owners consider a link to your site worthwhile. All of this is done, of course in the name of search engine optimization.
The key however is not the quantity of back links from other websites but the quality of the back links.
To have quality back links, the sites linking to yours need to be relevant. From Google's point of view it's all a game of relevancy and is essential for the success of your website and marketing efforts.
The way a search engine calculates keyword relevancy for any site is strictly based on the percentage of related content found at either end of the link. If this content is not related, it will not be considered important and you will lose page rank or be totally ignored by Google's army of spiders.
There are various ways to accomplish this balancing act with the search engines and stay out of SEO trouble while you're doing it. Many a webmaster has been banished to Google hell for manipulating links to get higher ranking.
Major Rule: Do Not Get Involved With Link Farms
According to Wikipedia, link farms are "a collection of intentionally interlinked pages designed to fool search engines that use page rank or similar algorithm, into believing that the pages are more important than they are. Google is known to employ a link farm detection algorithm, which penalizes those pages determined to be a link farm."
Believe me, there are plenty of ways to virtually shoot yourself in the foot on line without irritating Google so don't add that one to the list.
Major Rule: Stay Out Of Google's "Bad Neighborhoods."
Back links are great ways to get visitors to your website, that's for sure, and one good way to attract attention and the resulting free traffic, is with reciprocal link exchanges.
However once again those links need to be quality links from other sites with content or focus similar to yours. You must always check out your link partners and avoid any with pages full of unrelated links or links to what Google labels "Bad neighborhoods."
Google can and will devalue or completely ignore a site because of the bad company it keeps or the bad neighborhood it hangs out in, and if your site is linked to it, it can get devalued also and dropped in page rank, or worse ignored by the robots completely.
What Makes A "Bad Neighborhood?"
Well, sites that use black-hat techniques to drive traffic for one -thing. One of the most predominant black-hat techniques in use is commonly referred to as cloaking. This is essentially presenting different content to the search engine than is displayed to users. Avoid those kinds of tricks intended to improve search engine rankings.
A good litmus test of content is asking the question: "Does this help my users " or "Would I do this if search engines did not exist." Also sites with page after page of outbound links are not good link buddies.
Something else that really makes Google snort fire are those pages that you see with no content and are just storage sites for thousands of poor quality links.
Sites which employ sneaky Java Script redirects, large sets of poor quality doorway pages, hidden text or hidden links, and pages loaded with irrelevant keywords are all undesirable link companions that can result in your site being devalued or completely ignored.
Major Rule: Stay Vigilant
You must stay constantly vigilant to make sure you don't wind up linked to a bad neighborhood. You cannot control links to you but the search engines will punish you if you link out to a bad neighborhood.
There are several free tools available you can use to uncover any sites that might be harmful to your own link building efforts.
Just go to you-know-who and search with the term "bad neighborhood" (be sure to use the quotation marks) and you'll find them.
There are certain industries that are notorious for being involved with using spam and link-farming techniques that you need to be aware of before you start building your links.
Two major offenders in this field are the Pharmaceutical and Adult Industries. Unless your business is in some aspect of those two industries, you would do well to avoid them entirely.
While inbound links to your site are good to have quality outbound links to other high quality or authority sites definitely will help your rankings considerably.
Remember however that, in order for those outbound links to matter, they have to be within the subject field of your site.
There are a couple of things you have to consider while you are trying to get traffic and a decent Page Rank for your websites.
It is vital for you to check on your links and to keep good track of which sites are linking back to you. Remember, if all the links are outbound from your site and not reciprocated with a link back, the sites on the other end of your outbound links will get all the traffic and page rank, leaving you to be considered an unimportant website.
Search on "verifying reciprocal links," with quotes, and you will find a list of online tools you can use to check your site and those you've linked to for Backlinks.
Another major contributor to your marketing success is the content of the anchor text of the Backlink (what the link actually says on your site) and how it is using, or not using, the keywords relevant to your site.
A good example of this technique: "Click Here" is totally generic and does not relate in anyway to your website. However the phrase "For a great way to make money online, visit our site," uses your keyword phrase, "make money online" in the hyperlinked anchor text. Search engines love this.
Before you begin generating quality links for your sites you have to know whom your audience is and whom you want to attract. Once you target your audience, focus your link building efforts on sites within that audience.
When looking for link possibilities, build your directory of sites with themes that complement your site's focus. They do not have to be exactly identical to yours but they do have to be related in content.
For example if your site is all about collecting old fishing lures, a site that provides tips on pricing and preserving old fishing lures would be a valuable link for you and most of the keywords would probably be somewhat the same.
A highly beneficial way to find website possibilities for reciprocal linking is via search engines to find the top sites with the same keyword you use. And remember: Google is not the only search engine on the web. Use several engines and search using your own site's keywords.'
The sites that come up in the first few places are websites the search engines consider important and they have been ranked accordingly. Then visit those sites and contact the webmaster's and ask for a link.
You will find that some of the more competitive sites will decline, but don't take that personally. But some will accept especially when you offer a link back to their site. When that happens you have just added a quality back link to boost your value with the search engines.
There will be times when you get offers for a link trade with sites that say they've already placed your link on their page. Be sure you check that out. If they get a link from you and do not have one back to your site on their links page they are only harvesting your traffic and giving you nothing in return.
Also make sure they have a link on their home page to their link pages if they don't, decline the invitation, as Google does not spider the link page, and that link would be totally worthless to you.
Major Rule: Do Not Link To Pages With A Zero Page Rank.
Not only will that link do nothing for your own page rank, but you also could be linking to a bad neighborhood or to a website that has been banned by Google.
Also avoid linking to sites that have multiple link pages crammed full of links of all types. Remember the discussion about link farms and you'll recognize it for what it is.
Building A Link Page
Build a link page on your website that gives other webmasters permission to link to yours. Make it super easy for them to do it. Make everything they will need easy to find and right at their fingertips.
Offer several choices for links and make sure there is plenty of separation between them so it's easy to see where one ends and another begins. Also make sure there is a link on the homepage to the links page.
Provide HTML code for your link so they can just copy and paste it on their link page. And before you post the code on your link page for the webmasters to access make sure the URL is correct.
Double-check everything! How would you feel if you published an incorrect link for your own website? I've done it before, and believe me; it's not pretty.
Make sure your keywords are in the linking HTML code. This gives your link extra punch. The search engines will pick up the keywords for people searching those phrases making your link appear more important to the spiders.
Some Webmasters prefer graphic links. Small colorful banners or buttons hyperlinked to your site are terrific attention-getters and just might make your links stand out in the crowd.
Make absolutely sure to add the HTML "Alt" tag to your graphic link, as search engine spiders do not recognize graphics. They only read tags, so information located in that tag will be enough for the spider to index it.
Do not go overboard with the graphics; be tasteful; a colorful button or small banner is all that's needed. Also be sure to put a description with each link on your links page. It's much more professional looking this way and your page will not look so much like a link farm to the spiders.
Those indexing spiders check your links to determine value and legitimacy and if you have links going out to link farms or "bad neighborhoods" you will be punished by the search engines with their "birds of a feather mentality."
Again, make sure you have a link to your link pages on your home page and any other pages you have on your website so your visitors and the search engines can find it easily.
Okay, now that we have a good-looking link page, lets examine how to ask for links on other Webmaster's pages.
Before any contacts are made or attempted, search on your keywords and find sites with decent page rank and similar contact not directly in competition with your page. Visit the page and consider how a link to your page would be a welcome resource for that page's visitors.
A Webmaster will be much more likely to be interested in adding your link when they discover you have actually visited their page and found the benefit your link would add to their site.
When at all possible use the telephone. A personal call from you to another Webmaster is much more likely to get consideration than impersonal "cold call" e-mail. Introduce yourself and let them know that you've been on their site and the things you liked and found interesting and that you would be interested in placing a link there and setting up a link exchange.
If a phone call is not possible to compose a polite e-mail and talk about some of the sites features that you liked and how a link from you could benefit his visitors.
This is far better than an e-mail that just asks for a link without providing any justification and as a direct indicator that you have not bothered to even visit their site.
Whenever contacting other Webmasters for whatever reasons, always treat them exactly as you would want to be treated yourself when they contact you. Give them the same respect and courtesy you would like to receive.
By now you should have some good techniques for successful link building which will help you to spread your reputation and news of your website across the web without spending a cent.
For you newcomers I hope this article has been helpful in steering you towards becoming successful at one of the many free methods available to you for driving quality traffic to your website.
The important thing to remember concerning Internet marketing is that free does not mean useless or without power.
If you liked this article and found it useful, please visit: http://WWW.EasyAutomaticMoney.com, where I have much more good information and resources for both the beginner and the old hand.
In the meantime, Thank You and may Good Fortune find us all.