Inbound Links – 8 Ways to Build Visibility

By now, you’ve probably heard that inbound links are critical to helping your site show up at the top of the search engine results. So what exactly are inbound links? Inbound links are one-way links that point to your site from another “site” on the web; however, not all inbound links are created equal. The inbound links that will help you the most are those that come from authority web sites, industry and/or expert blogs, social networking sites, and other quality sites that provide solid, one-way inbound links to your web site (see the section on inbound links in the previous article, above, for additional details).

So what exactly are inbound links? Inbound links are one-way links that point to your site from another “site” on the web; however, not all inbound links are created equal

But how do you actually get those quality, one-way inbound links that point to your web site?Here are eight techniques you can use to build the types of inbound links that will not only help your site perform better in the search engines, but can also help improve your web visibility and drive new traffic to your site at the same time!1. Social Networking: This web phenomenon is just too important to ignore. The major search engines have already announced that they now include social networking information in their search results, and the number of people using these sites continues to grow exponentially. This is where your customers are “hanging out” online (the fastest-growing demographic in Facebook is users over the age of 35). This is also where the search engines have told you they are looking for information. If you are truly interested in building links and getting noticed, it’s time to get serious about a social marketing strategy. (And do consider using an Integrated Social Marketing (ISM)® approach!)2. Press Releases: Sending out press releases is one of the fastest ways to build quality inbound links, as well as promote news about your business.

If you are truly interested in building links and getting noticed, it’s time to get serious about a social marketing strategy

Just be sure to use your keywords as links in the body of your press release, since these then become the inbound links to your site once the release is picked up.3. E-Newsletters: Publishing a monthly (or weekly) e-newsletter is a great way to stay in touch with your customers and prospects, as well as keep your business name “top of mind” with your readers. But when you publish useful, quality information, people will naturally pass it on to their own network of contacts, which has the potential to plant multiple inbound links to your web site each time an article is shared on the web.4. Article Syndication: Re-use the articles from your e-newsletters by syndicating them on article marketing sites.

The inbound links that will help you the most are those that come from authority web sites, industry and/or expert blogs, social networking sites, and other quality sites that provide solid, one-way inbound links to your web site (see the section on inbound links in the previous article, above, for additional details)

Include a keyword-rich author resource box (your contact information and bio), with links back to your web site. Your links will be visible not only on the article marketing site, but also each time someone else re-publishes your article as content elsewhere on the web (blogs, web sites, e-newsletters, etc.).5. Blogging: If you don’t already have a blog for your business, you may want to consider adding one just for the boost it can give your web site in the search engines! Most search engines index blog posts almost instantly, and you have complete freedom to use your keywords in the content of your posts as well as using them as link text, both of which will help you gain points with the search engines.6. Google Alerts: You can use the free Google Alerts service to help identify other quality blogs and web sites where you can plant inbound links. For instance, if you set up your Google Alerts service to monitor the keywords “office supplies”, Google will alert you when it finds web sites and blogs containing those keywords. You can then go visit those pages and leave a comment and add your link, (depending on the content of the page, of course). Just be sure to leave valuable information in your comments, and not just your link. You want your comment to not only be approved, but to also flow naturally as part of the discussion.7. Web Videos: Research shows that using video on a web site improves user engagement and retention, and today’s video sharing sites like YouTube make it easy to publish and share videos on the web. Video files can also be “optimized” with keyword tags, and can be linked back to your web site. Video sharing sites also let you share videos through your social channels as well, giving you even more opportunity to plant inbound links to your site in various places around the web.8. Viral Marketing: If you have a whitepaper, e-book, or presentation just sitting around gathering virtual dust on your computer, consider taking it viral. Give it away for free, and encourage people to pass it around to their network of contacts as well. Make sure the piece has plenty of links back to your web site, since the piece may end up being posted in lots of different channels on the web.By using these techniques, you can help build the quality, one-way links that your site needs in order to improve in the search engine rankings. You may not be able to use all of these suggestions, but you can use as many different techniques as makes sense for your particular small business. Since many SEO professionals estimate that about 60% of your web site’s ranking in Google comes from the number of quality inbound links, it makes sense to give some serious attention to building inbound links to your site.

Lauren Hobson, President of Five Sparrows, LLC, has more than 16 years of experience in small business technology writing, marketing, and web site design and development. Five Sparrows provides professional website, marketing, and social networking services to small businesses and non-profits at affordable prices, giving clients access to customized services that meet both their needs and their budgets. More at http://www.fivesparrows.com.Copyright 2009, Five Sparrows. All Rights Reserved.