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Link Building Strategies- we ask an expert

It's not often that we have guest writers on Taming the Beast.net, but I recently had the privilege of meeting Larry Sullivan, webmaster/site owner of Linking101.com, and wanted to share one of his great articles with Taming the Beast visitors.

Search engine optimization and effective web site promotion is a combination of art, science and educated guesswork.  It has become so broad a field that many are specializing in certain areas.  

Larry's expertise lies in link popularity and link building. It's a well known fact that the more sites that link to your web site; the higher your rankings can be in search engines such as Google - but not all links are created equal.  Larry's site, Linking101.com, is a fantastic place for webmasters and marketers to learn more about this subject.  His articles are written in plain English.  

Larry doesn't give his advice based on bleeding edge strategies, theories or hearsay; he provides information based on what he knows to be successful through his own  application.

How to Design a Site for Link Popularity

To get good traffic, your website needs to be popular, to be popular, your website needs links, to get links, your website needs to be popular....Before you groan in defeat, let me explain. Now everyone agrees that link popularity is critical for your website's visibility, traffic, and thus successfulness. It is something you need to have. As I pondered the ways of establishing and improving one's "popularity", eventually all come back to one central issue--your website must be designed to be popular.

Link popularity is a basically the measure of links pointing to your website and is meant to be a measure of the best websites. Theoretically those websites that have the most links pointing to them must be important and thus worth the visit. Unfortunately, there are a lot of folks out there that have created programs to "boost" your popularity artificially and all they have done is create spam and muddy the picture. The search engines and directories are keeping a close eye on these programs.

Having legitimate link programs or a company (such as LinkageXpress) help with your link building is fine, but each website needs to look at its design and content before seeking links.

Design

When getting a request or thinking about making one for a link exchange with a website, look thoroughly over the website first. The website's theme or topic and general layout is the first thing to look at. Sites with themes or topics that are related to or compliment yours should be your main link partners. You do this to get targeted traffic.

Just as you evaluated someone's website, others will be doing the same to yours. Make sure you know what your theme or topic is and that it clearly encompasses the whole website. Stay focused; do not try to cover everything.

Next, check out the links page or resource area. If they do have one, is it easy to find within the site? Does it seem to be part of the site or just a page off to the side? Are their linking rules available, clear, and easy to follow? Do they accept links from any website or are they choosy? Being part of someone's well constructed links program, no mater what size, can be a very beneficial

Again, the same goes for your website. You want to let webmasters know that you want to exchange links and which type of website you will accept requests from. Make it easy for others to link with you.

The last set of questions to ask yourself about any website is:

  • Is it easy to navigate?

  • Does it have too many graphics (slow loading)?

  • Is it pleasant to the eye?

  • Does the information seem to be organized in a logical fashion?

What has been covered so far deals with what the visitors see; if visiting the website is a pleasant experience then people will stay and look and possibly come back. The final area to cover is what the search engines see.

The underside (the source code) of the website is just as criteria when designing or linking with a website. The search engines are the ones that read this and if it is not done properly then the website can not succeed. I do not have time to explain or cover ever detail but the following are some you need to consider:

  • Does the website contain frames?
  • Does it use the headers, titles, meta-tags, and alt tags properly?
  • Is the keyword location(s) and density seem appropriate and "optimized"?

The latter two issues mentioned above are critical, for they are the backbone to traffic production. For more information, see the Linking101.com article area, plus any knowledgeable web designer should understand them and can give you counsel.

Content: 

The information you have is just as important as how you set it up on your website. The more popular websites or the ones with good link popularity are those that have valuable information or resource(s) for its audience--they fill a niche! People will visit, stay, return, and recommend a website if it has the content they want or need.

"Content is king." A well-designed and organized website might look good but if it does not deliver anything of value, it will not be successful. Whatever subject matter you have on your website, make sure you have something of interest and importance to add to the subject, if you do and you promote it well, you will be successful.

In addition to information, resources like mailing lists, surveys, polls, classified ads, forums, etc. are all things if used appropriately can add value and fresh content to your website… helping you interact with your visitors.

In conclusion:  

Take the time to design and optimize your website properly for the search engines. Make sure you have something of value or importance to add to whatever area your website is in. Provide resources and other tools, which your visitors could use and will make them come back. Be proactive and interact with your visitors. Websites that are dynamic and active are the best ones. All of this might take a little more time to get your website up and running, but it will be worth it.

For yours or any website to be popular, it needs the links and to get the links, it needs to show the other webmasters that it is worthy of a link. It seems everyone today has a website, but not everyone has put together a website that adds value to the Internet community. Take a critical look at your website and nay website you might link to and ask, would you bookmark it?


Larry is the owner and operator of LRSxpress Web Design and the webmaster behind Linking101.com. Building quality inbound links is an importance part of any website's promotional strategy. Linking101.com is a website dedicated to assisting webmasters find information, resources, and a better understanding on link popularity and link exchanges.

Further Learning Resources:

Internet Marketing Etiquette -  site promotion and reciprocal link requests

Exchanging links - the pitfalls, plus a link management software review

Linking to bad neighborhoods

Link exchange services - be wary


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