These one-way unsolicited links are by far the most valuable kind. Search engines love them, and see them as genuine endorsement of one site by the another. As your site becomes more visible, the content will organically attract more links, which in turn will improve your visibility, attracting more links. When it works, this process is self-perpetuating, leaving you free to concentrate on quality content, while the links look after themselves.
People can only link to your site if they know it is there. Promote your site at every opportunity, especially in the places where you know there are other website owners. Use the medium to your advantage. Online communities, forums, social networking sites and email lists all offer great opportunities to get your URL out in front of the people who can link to it. Blogs are another source of potential links – some blogs are incredibly popular, and bloggers are noted for their affinity to linking. Try submitting a few poignant comments to high-ranking blogs in your sector (do this responsibly; aim to add real value to the discussion rather than simply promoting your site).1
Blog can be an incredibly powerful promotional and link-building tool, if used wisely. If you have strong opinions, or high level of knowledge in your industry, and you are happy to write regular posts, setting up a blog is easy and can be a great way to increase both visibility and incoming links.
Use your network of contacts both online and offline to promote your site and encourage people to link to it, and pass it on to their own network of contacts in turn. If people look at your site and like what they see, they may well link to it.
Use tools such as Moz Open Site Explorer, Search Metrics, Link Dex or Majestic SEO to find out who is linking to your main competition for your selected search keywords. Approach those sites and ask them if they would be willing to link to your site too. After all, if they link to your competitors, why wouldn’t they?
Links within content are preferable to links on a page that just lists links. Surrounding content helps to put a link in context, both for the user and for the search engines. You should also encourage descriptive anchor text that, if possible, includes one or two of your chosen keywords.
Getting your site listed on high quality, well-respected directories such as Open Directory Project and Yahoo Directory can be a great way to get your link-building started. These links will help both search engine spiders and that all-important human traffic to find your site. As leading directories are also considered ‘authority’ sites by major search engines, links from these sites will also help boost your ranking.
Bait is anything that will entice incoming natural links from other websites or users. Link bait can be an interesting or controversial article, a downloadable document or report, a plug-in that improves the functionality of a piece of software or useful widgets that other website owners can embed into the sidebar and content of their pages that include a link back to your landing page. Link bait is really anything that could entice someone else to link to your content. Be creative. Just stay within the search engines’ published guidelines.
There are called reciprocal links. Although they are less useful than they used to be in terms of SEO value, they can still be used effectively in moderation. While the power of reciprocal links to boost your rankings had been diluted, they do help to establish relevance and authority in your subject area – just be sure that you link to relevant, high quality sites, and only swap links with a few of them. As a rule of thumb, you should never link to a site that you wouldn’t recommend to your site visitor.
Ryan, D., 2016. Understanding digital marketing: marketing strategies for engaging the digital generation. Kogan Page Publishers.