Defining Link Building Best Practices

Link building is the process of building backlinks to your site. Backlinks are links from other sites to your site. The more backlinks a site has, the higher it ranks on the search engines. This also depends on the rank of the site that has linked to your site as well. Link building is the mission of all money-making webmasters.

Link building methods have changed over time and a specific method that worked yesterday may not work today. This is due to changes in the industry over time. In some cases, severe link-building abuse, such as spamming blogs, has caused search engines to change their ranking criteria to counter these deceptive practices.

It is therefore very important to know which link building method works today so that you can spend your time in the most productive way. Below are some of today's popular link building methods.

Article Submission

Beyond publishing articles on your own site or blog, you can also publish your own article in article directories. Not only do you gain backlinks to your site from your published articles, you will get some traffic as a bonus, including attracting new readers via article directory submissions. Article submission is a great way of building backlinks as it provides you with 100% appropriate contextual backlinks that Google loves.

Search engine optimization (SEO) has started turning submission to general directories and article listings to its advantage. You could have an excellent website, the latest ecommerce technology, and the best graphic design work, but does the SEO firm claiming to do article submission to directories and link building really understand how to target your specific market correctly?

Google has implemented LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) and has already started shunting out link farms, and pointless paid links. While it is beyond the scope of this article to discuss the mathematics behind LSI, its implications for search algorithms are simple. LSI can use statistical techniques to create a semantic examination for any given query topic. For instance, a page that is considered relevant for "laptop" can also be considered relevant for "notebook" even if it does not contain the work "notebook," if LSI determines that "notebook" is semantically related to "laptop."

Directory Submission

Directory submission used to have a lot higher level of effectiveness, but it is still a popular link building method that has positive benefits to your site's traffic if done properly. How many directories are out there as of this date is anyone's guess, but one thing is certain: that most of the directories aren't worth submitting to.

Any major search engine that actually catalogues and indexes a directory has to meet certain criteria. Google considers a Yahoo Directory link as a quality backlink so if you can afford and justify the cost, it is worth submitting to Yahoo Directory. Yahoo charges $300 for a yearly submission and there is no guarantee that your site will be approved. Another good directory to submit to would be the BOTW directory which costs $99 for a yearly submission and $299 for a permanent listing.

DMOZ is a further directory that is worth submitting to and which can come to great benefit in your SEO campaign. Keep in mind, however, that it may take months for your site to be reviewed by DMOZ and the probability of getting approved is pretty slim. While the outlook may seem daunting, submissions to DMOZ is free. Plus, since many small directories use DMOZ directory categories, getting listed with DMOZ would mean getting bonus listings on many other web directories.

Social Bookmarking

Social bookmarking worked like a charm to increase traffic and website rank a few months ago since it was newer and less often used, but it still has many benefits today. If bookmarked on quality bookmarking sites like Digg, Mixx, or Propeller, then you can still make superior use of social bookmarking. Other than backlinks, social bookmarking also offers you some bonus traffic depending on where you submit to. If you can manage to put together or collect a good bookmarking site list, then social bookmarking can still be a useful link building method.

Many great articles go unnoticed on social bookmarking sites because their headline is not catchy enough. Your headline is the first (and very often the only) thing users will see from your article, so if you don't make the effort to provide a catchy headline, your chances of getting to the front page are small.

The headline is very important to draw attention but if you want to keep that attention, a meaningful description is vital. The description must be slightly thought-provoking because this draws more attention but, keep in mind it is never a beneficial method to use lies and false facts to provoke interest. Case in point, if you write "This article will reveal to you the 10 sure behaviors to deal with stress once and forever and live like a king from now on," guests will hardly think that your story is true and facts-based.

Blog Commenting

This is a link method where lots of spamming has already been done so to make the most of it, you need to work a little harder here. It is best to find quality blogs related to your own category and to make on-topic relevant and informative comments. Not only will your comments add value to the blog post, you will have a greater chance of getting your comment approved and your comments have greater chance of staying on those blog posts.

If you're posting a comment with the hope of driving traffic to your own site, think carefully before you include a link in your comment. Of course you ought to include your link if the comment box has a place for it, but leaving a link in the body of your comment is a risky thing. Many people think it's great marketing, but a minority of people think it's obnoxious and pushy. If you decide to do it, make sure you've written a thoughtful comment that truly contributes to the conversation on the owner's site, not a useless comment that's just a transparent excuse to leave your link. It's also considered more acceptable if your link points to something you wrote that's relevant to the conservation, not just a link to your general landing page.

Press Releases

Submitting to press release sites can get you some backlinks as well. However, it is hard to put together a list of good press releases sites that's worth submitting to. If a good list can be obtained, then this method can offer some quality relevant backlinks as well.

We have discovered numerous quality press release websites that you can submit your "newsie" articles to, including PRLOG.org, WebWire, and PRWEB. One well-written press release can result in hundreds of backlinks due to the back-end syndication these press release sites have tied into.

Social Media and Web 2.0 Pages

Link building has changed, specifically around the concept of Web 2.0, which is a term that refers to a supposed second generation of Internet-based services. These usually include tools that let people collaborate and share information online, such as social networking sites, wikis, which is a website that allows easy creation and editing of any number of interlinked web pages via a web browser using a simplified markup language or a WYSIWYG editor, communication tools, and folksonomies, which is a system of classification derived from the practice and method of collaboratively constructing and managing tags to annotate and categorize content, also known as social tagging.

There are a lot of quality social media and Web 2.0 sites where you can publish your articles for backlinks. You should write articles that are relevant to your site and publish them on these social media and Web 2.0 sites with your keywords hyperlinked to your own site. Some of the authority sites are Squidoo, Hubpages, Blogger, and Wordpress.

Social media and Web 2.0 links are very popular these days as they work great in increasing website traffic. They offer quality relevant contextual backlinks that Google and other major search engines love. While there are tons of other link building methods out there, if you can utilize the above ones to their fullest potential, there is no need for any other method.