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I’ve written articles that have gone viral around the world overnight and I’ve been featured in local and national media, yet the main question I get asked is “How do you do your SEO?”
I think most people asking are hoping there’s a magic bullet, a route to instant success but the truth is there isn’t. There are, however, things you can do to improve your chances of success. They just take a bit of creative thinking and a load of dedication.
Far and away link building is the key to success but that doesn’t mean that’s what you should concentrate on since gaining links for links sake won’t get you very far.
Google’s algo is very good at detecting sites that are just gaining links to improve PageRank. In the past, many believed they could beat it and many will continue to try, but it simply won’t work.
The only way to rank highly is to gain genuine links from genuine sources i.e. not spam. There are people that will tell you they can gain these for you and there are people that will claim they understand Google’s algo and can improve your position, but the truth is unless you’re the high priest at Google’s inner temple you are just guessing like the rest of us.
The algo is a closely guarded secret that no one truly understands but there’s one thing we know for sure that can help with our SEO. Google wants to drive traffic to the most relevant, high quality sites and the algo is designed to facilitate this. It sorts the wheat from the chaff and decides which sites are most worthy of the coveted number one spot.
Think of it in terms of the top 40. A song reaches the number one spot if it sells the most (for SEO purposes sales = links) but you can’t just take a collection of words, with no melody and try and get sales. In order to get to number one you have to start with a good song (for SEO purposes song = content). The song may not be to everyone’s liking but as long as a large enough number of people like it, then they will buy (or link to!) it.
So first and foremost you need great, original content that people want to link to. Without this you stand absolutely no chance, but once you have it, how do you go about creating links instead of just waiting for them to come to you. Hopefully, the list below will give you some tips.
Become an Authority and be Easy to Link to
1. Make your content grammatically correct and avoid spelling errors. This does depend on who you hope will link to your site and whether they will care, but in general, it’s good practice.
2. Ensure your content can be understood. This will help people to grasp what you’re trying to say and to spread the word.
4. Lists are easy to share, grab a reader’s attention and, if good enough, can build authority.
5. Create a ten myths list for your specialist area.
6. Write a ten easy tips list. People like to link to these.
7. Create a 101 post about the lists noted above. If it’s good enough, it can easily go viral and people with similar sites love to link to things like this.
8. Make your site an essential resource site where people can find all the information they need on a particular subject.
9. List the movers and shakers in your industry. If you’re lucky and drive enough traffic their way, they may link back to you. Who can resist the fact that they are on a list of important people!
Use News and Articles
10. People like to feel that they are ahead of the game so give them the opportunity to discover you through news and other channels.
11. Swap your articles with other bloggers and webmasters. They will usually link to you.
12. Send an article to your industry specific news site. If it’s good enough, it will be used and will drive traffic and gain you links.
13. Use article websites. If the article is good enough, you will gain readers very quickly and if people are interested, in what you have to say they will seek out your articles in the future.
14. Find relevant sites with “in the news” info. They will link to sites that are writing about subjects relevant to their traffic.
15. Carry out a study or survey that gives information to your target audience. People always want to know the results of these and are highly likely to link to it if it is authoritative and well done.
16. Write press releases and submit them to journalists, radio and bloggers. Get them talking about your release and they will link to it or their audience will.
17. Write reviews about products relevant to you on Amazon. If they are informative people will link to them.
18. Start to review everything you come across or products/services you use. Utilize shopping sites.
19. Writing testimonials are a great way to gain links. If you are complimentary about something, then the people behind it are highly likely to link to you.
20. Use site review websites. These will drive traffic which will in turn gain some links.
21. This comes with a caveat. Re-read the beginning of this article because trading links wholesale could be damaging to your SEO.
22. That being said, trading links with a select number of high quality sites will give you authority and help to drive traffic to your site.
23. The best way to think about link trading is to forget about search engines. If you believe that a link will genuinely help your relevant traffic and improve the other site, then go for it.
24. If you don’t have one already why not?? Start a blog straight away. Update regularly and make sure the content is truly great. Once you start to pick up regular readers, they will link to the posts they like.
25. List your blog on best blog sites – there are plenty of them out there.
26. Add links to other blogs your readers might like. Most good bloggers track where their traffic is coming from and when they start to notice your site they will probably want to link back to it.
27. Comment on other blogs. This is another way of getting noticed and can potentially drive more traffic your way.
28. Join Technorati. Instead of explaining it here, I’ll just tell you that it helps you rank well so join up and explore.
Quick Links for Free
29. Most free links will be No Follow so won’t necessarily help your SEO, but they will drive traffic which will in turn gain links.
30. If your company is established, then you should set up a Wikipedia page. Make it look as authoritative as possible and link to topic related pages.
31. Utilize question and answer services such as Yahoo and Google questions. If people like your answer, they could possibly end up on your site.
32. Craigslist offers free and easy advertising.
33. Gumtree is similar.
34. Set up a Squidoo page. It will help you to look like an industry expert and is relatively easy to set up.
35. Submit articles and stories to Digg. If they are popular enough, you will gain huge numbers of links.
36. Comment on forums using a link signature. People will follow the link if they like what you’re saying.
37. If you update your blog regularly, set up an RSS feed.
Use Community Support
38. There are loads of ways in your community to gain links to your site. All you have to do is go out and find them, but here are some ideas to start with:
39. Local libraries will often link to your site.
40. If your site is particularly authoritative, request council and government links.
41. Build relationships with businesses in your local area.
42. Speak to your Chamber of Commerce.
43. Speak to your business partners about linking to you.
44. There may be a business bureau in your area that will link to you.
Use Pay per Click
45. PPC will bring you traffic and, in turn, if people like your content, they will link to it. This is another example, however, of content gaining you the best links.
Undirectories and Bookmarking
46. The key here is quality. There are thousands of directories that will damage your SEO, but the good ones are like gold dust for your ranking. Spend time investigating which directories are actually providing a service and which are just a collection of links.
47. If one of your posts is really good (and you will know instinctively if that’s the case), start asking people to bookmark it on social sites such as Digg.
48. If you have the time set up your own directory, make it authoritative and use it to link to your own site. This could take on a life of its own if it really is directing people the way they want to go, gaining links all on its own and you could have a whole new business on your hands.
49. For this point, I would reiterate that it is all about quality, but some paid directories are worth using. Try a couple and run a test on the effect it has on your SEO.
50. Keep abreast of what is trending on the web so you can ensure what you’re providing is relevant. If you are operating a site that keeps abreast of current trends, then you will gain links.
So that’s 50 tips that may assist you. Are you already using them?
If not, don’t rush out and try and do them all straight away but spend a little time and over the next few months make sure you have all the bases covered. Above all, one thing is vital if you want to generate quality links -Be Creative!
Article by Mark Gatland. The Cambridge Counsellor Blog.