Killer Link Building Strategies

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This article is a complete guide for webmasters interested in promoting their website on the Search Engines. The link building strategies explained here will be the backbone of the marketing and promotion campaign for your website. These strategies will help you achieve improved and higher rankings on the Search Engines.

The guide is especially intended for webmasters and site owners who are serious about their business and its promotion on the web. Reading the guide won’t be enough as it will require actual implementation and practice of all the tips and techniques mentioned. Remember, Link Building requires a lot of patience, and it’s a time-consuming process. So you’ll need to put in time, effort and energy on an on-going basis and wait, wait and wait before you see any fruitful results from your efforts.

I’ll start with a basic guide and Introduction to what Link Building and Link Popularity is, its importance and different aspects, then move on to techniques explaining how to find good link partners, what precautions should be followed when linking to websites, what should be done, what should be avoided and what you should be achieving if you follow all these steps. The guide also contains a list of tools that can be used to help you in your linking campaign, sample email templates for your linking campaign and ends with a glossary of some commonly used terms related to link building.

What is Link Building

Link Building is the process by which you get incoming links to a website. Link Building is initiated to get incoming links to a website from other websites. The whole purpose behind link building is to improve the link popularity of a website, or to improve the number of incoming links to a website.

Link Popularity Explained

Link Popularity is the number of links coming to a website from other websites. Different Search Engines have different algorithms and policies by which they count the number of incoming links to a website. Link Popularity has nothing to do with the quality of the incoming links. It is in simple terms, just the number of links pointing to a website, and known to the Search Engines.

Link popularity and incoming links have gained a lot of importance in the past few years as they play a very important role in the way Search Engines Rank Websites. The importance of link popularity is discussed next.

How to find a Websites Link Popularity

Each Search Engine has its own algorithms and policies for counting incoming links to a website. The Search Engines have their own commands or Search Queries that allow checking the back links for a website. They are as follows:

Google

For Google, you can use the [link:websiteURL] query to get a list of webpages pointing to the specified website. Remember, Google never shows all the links pointing to a website at any time. This is further discussed in the section for Google and Inbound Links further in the guide.

Yahoo

For Yahoo! you can use the new Yahoo! Search Site Explorer at http://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/

Type in the required URL and click on ‘Explore URL’. On the next Screen, click on ‘Inlinks’ to see all incoming links to the specified URL.

You can change the display options by choosing the different options for ‘Show Inlinks’

And choose ‘to’ options

AllTheWeb

AllTheWeb works similar to Google. You can use the [link:websiteURL] query to get a list of webpages pointing to the specified website on AllTheWeb.

AltaVista

For AltaVista, use the query [linkdomain:websiteURL] to get the list of incoming links to the specified URL.

Using a Free Tool

Alternately, you can simply use some free tool like that provided on the Link Popularity Check Website to check a website’s link popularity at any time.

The importance of links

Every website needs links for a number of reasons. No matter what the reason, the sole purpose of building link popularity is to increase your websites prominence on the Search Engines and to improve its popularity and presence over the Internet. The more popular the website is, the more users and traffic will come to it.

Links are specifically obtained for the following reasons:

To improve Search Engine Rankings

Links help in improving a websites ranking/placement on Search Engines. Search Engines consider incoming links to a website as a Vote to that website. The more incoming links a website has, the more votes it has in the eyes of Search Engines.

Each Search Engine has its own policies to the quality of links coming to a website, so different search engines will rank your website differently on their SERPs (Search Engine Ranking Pages). Also, Search Engines continuously update their ranking algorithms and link quality analysis algorithms to differentiate between good and bad links.

The whole idea behind giving more importance to websites with more links is that websites providing useful content will naturally attract links from other websites, whereas websites that are poorly designed or have inadequate information will have difficulty in attracting links to it.

The importance of Anchor Text of incoming links is also very important and directly related to Search Engine Rankings for that website on Search Engines. This is discussed further in the coming sections of the guide.

To get traffic

Links are also a direct way of improving traffic to your website. Other than improving Search Engine Rankings, a link on another website can bring traffic and users by click-throughs to your website. If your link is placed on a webpage highly related to your website theme, chances are that users browsing that webpage will find it useful to click on your link to find more related information. Your link could be placed on that link page in a number of different ways:

  1. To find more information about blue widgets, check this website here.
  2. Blue Widgets website gives more information related to Blue Widgets which you’ll find useful.

Where the highlighted blue text is the actual link to be clicked. Users looking for more information on Blue Widgets will be interested to click on the link and land on your website. This is a direct referral to your website.

The text used to link to your website is very important for both users as well as for the Search Engines. This is discussed in detail in the coming sections of this guide.

Often, links placed on very relevant sites can bring a constant and regular stream of users to your website. Moreover, if your link is placed on a high traffic website, you can get lots of regular and returning visitors to your site from a single link. Often, this strategy is adopted when buying links from other websites. More about link buying is discussed later in the guide.

Remember, the most crucial thing required for incoming links is a very useful website. Your website must contain useful and interesting content which is up-to-date at all times which will attract traffic as well as get quality inbound links to it.

Links from other websites, not only bring more exposure to your website, and hence more traffic, but the website sees an increase in traffic from the improved Search Engine Rankings also. The more links you have, the higher your search engine rankings and the more traffic you’ll get to your website from the Search Engines.

To improve Google PageRank

Getting inbound links is one method by which a website can improve its Google PageRank. The higher a websites PageRank, the more important that website is in the eyes of Google. PageRank is actually a measure of the importance of a website or webpage. The concept of links and Google PageRank is explained in the next part of this guide.

The concept of Google PageRank

To understand how links work in improving your Google PageRank, we’ll first look at what Google PageRank is, and how it is directly dependent on the number and quality of links coming to a website.

PageRank is a numeric value that represents how important a page is on the web. According to Google, PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page’s value. In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But, Google looks at more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves “important” weigh more heavily and help to make other pages “important.” Hence, Google calculates a page’s importance from the votes cast for it, and considers the importance for each of these votes when it calculates a page’s PageRank.

PageRank or PR is important as it is one of the factors that determine a page’s ranking in Google’s Search Results. Of course PR is not the only factor that Google uses to rank pages, but it is important.

How is Google PR Calculated?

To calculate the PageRank for a page, all the incoming or inbound links to that page are taken into account. These links could be from within the website or from other websites. The equation to calculate a page’s PR is given below.

PR(A) = (1-d) + d(PR(t1)/C(t1) + … + PR(tn)/C(tn))

A is the page whose PR is being calculated.

t1 – tn are the pages which are linking to the webpage A

C is the number of outbound links on that page

d is a damping factor and its default value is 0.85

The value for ‘d’ varies and Google also uses other variations of the formula given above.

A simpler version of the formula can be:

Page’s PR = 0.15 + 0.85 * (a share of the PageRank of every page that links to it)

Since Google PR is equally divided among the outbound links of a page, the share of PR passed to every site is

( PR of page t1 / Outbound links of page t1 ) *  ( % of the amount of PR to be passed)

Hence, the % value is taken as 0.85 since a page ‘votes’ an amount of PageRank onto each page that it links to, which is shared equally among all the pages that it links to.

From this formula, we can see that a link from a page with PR 5 with 10 outbound links is worth more than a link from a page with PR 8 with 100 outbound links.

5/10 = 0.5 whereas 8/100 = 0.08

When searching for link partners, the PageRank of a page of the linking site should be taken into consideration as well as the number of outbound links on that page. The more outbound links a webpage has, the less PR value will be passed to your webpage.

Find more information about Google Page Rank at Google Webmaster Resources.

Google and Inbound Links

Every Search Engine has its own policies and guidelines which it follows in order to determine the link popularity of a website. Google is stricter in its policy of counting incoming links to a website. Usually, Google will disregard any incoming links placed on pages with Duplicate content, pages in Supplemental Results, or pages with lots of unrelated links etc. Also, Google will disregard any links coming to a webpage from banned websites. These policies change over time, and the real algorithms and policies are never made public by the Search Engines.

Quality of Links

A number of factors affect the Quality of a link. Google also pays importance to quality of links and uses this in deciding the ranking for a website for a particular Search Term. The factors which need to be considered when evaluating the quality of a link are as follows:

Anchor Text of the Link

The Anchor Text of the Link Title is a very important factor in determining the quality of a link. Search Engines consider the Title text of links and see the Keywords used in the Anchor Texts. If these Anchor Texts match the Keywords being used on the webpage being linked by that link, Search Engines will rank the website or webpage higher in its SERPs (Search Engine Ranking Pages) for that particular Keyword or Key-phrase.

In extreme cases, such as Google Bombing, websites or web pages can rank high on Search Engines for a particular search term if it gets a lot of incoming links to it using a specific Keyword, even if the Keyword is not used on the webpage itself. The best example for this is when you try searching for ‘Miserable Failure’ on Google.

Theme of other links on that webpage

Search Engines also consider the kind of links on the same page, and see whether they are related to your theme or not. If a webpage has links related to the theme of your webpage, or your link text, more weight will be given to the Keywords used in the Anchor Texts of those links. Hence, Google will improve the Search Engine Rankings for your website if your link is placed on a page with the same themed links.

That’s whys it is important to get links from pages which are also linking to your competitors.

Theme of the surrounding text on that webpage

Similar to the concept of link texts, Search Engines also give weight to the surrounding text related to your link. If the surrounding text has relevancy to your website theme, the link will be of a good quality. That is why it is essential to use a relevant and Keyword rich Link Description with your link text in order to clarify the theme of the links to visitors as well as to the Search Engines.

While browsing a webpage, visitors to that site will be more likely to click on links and resources that match the theme or topic they are currently viewing. A completely unrelated link is highly unlikely to attract any attention by the visitors. That’s why Search Engines also give very less weight to links placed on unrelated themed webpages.

Title of the linking Page

If the title of a webpage is related to your website theme or Keywords, that link will be considered a quality link. Users will be more likely to find and click on links related to that particular topic and hence click and land on your website if the incoming link is from a much related webpage. Search Engines work like normal users in many cases; hence they also give importance to links coming from same themed webpages.

Number of Outbound links on that page

As discussed above in the Google PageRank section of this guide above, the Number of Outbound links on a webpage directly affect the proportion of Google PR that is passed to the linked websites. The more outbound links there are on a webpage, the lesser proportion of Google PR will be passed. So links from webpages that have too many outbound links on them are not considered high quality links.

Type of link

A clear link is considered a high quality link rather than a link which is a redirect link or is embedded in a flash file. Search Engines cannot read flash files; hence they won’t be able to track links coming to a webpage through some flash file. Clear, static and direct links are the friendliest links as far as Search Engines are concerned, and are hence given more importance than other kind of links.

Text VS Image

When collecting links for your website, it’s better to focus on Text Links rather than on Banners or Image Links, as images and banners are not indexable by Search Engines. Googlebot and other Search Engine Spiders pay importance to Link Texts, so special attention should be given on deciding Link Texts for your website before you start your links campaign. Keywords used in the Link Titles as Anchor Texts will improve your website Rankings on the Search Engines for those Keywords.

Images and Banner Links with Alternate Text are indexed by Search Engines, where the Alt Text serves as a description to what the site is about. However, preference should still be given to Text Bases links as much as possible.

Prominence of the link

The prominence of the link on the links page is another factor in determining the quality of that incoming link. Usually, if your link exists on a webpage which has several other links on it, links towards the top of the webpage will be more prominent and easily to click on. Similarly, a user will be more likely to click on the links which are highlighted or made prominent on the webpage, or which exist near the top of that links page, rather than on a link which is buried deep down in the footer of a webpage, or listed at the end of a long list of 50 other links.

The prominence and closeness towards the top of the page will make the link easily spidered and indexed by the Search Engines and hence it will have better quality.

Getting Ready for your Links Campaign

Before you start your links campaign, you need to go through a number of necessary steps, before actually sending your first email to any prospective link partners for an exchange. The steps involved include Keyword Search, Making Link Texts and Descriptions for your website which other webmasters and website owners will use to link to your website, creating your link pages and putting them online where you will be adding other link partners website links on your site. Most important of all, you need to have a fully functional and complete website which offers something useful to the visitors. If your website has a poor user interface or a broken web design, or has nothing unique to offer to the visitors, it is highly likely that your link building effort will go to waste. Each of these points is discussed in detail below:

Making a Functional Website

The most crucial part of your entire links campaign is to have a proper functional website ready to attract visitors and traffic to it. If your website is still in its development stages, or you need to put more content on your website, you should wait and complete the pending tasks before you start a links campaign for your website. Most webmasters think that putting together one or 2 pages is enough to start marketing a website. This is completely wrong!

The design and User Interface of a website are some of the important factors which should never be ignored if you are serious about your online presence. Usually, a slow loading website or a poorly designed site will loose its traffic to competitors.

So before you start sending any email or directory submissions for your website, make sure the website is complete and functioning properly.

Identifying your Website Theme

The next important step is to identify your Website theme for which you will be collecting links. This might seem unnecessary to some webmasters, but it’s a very important step and should not be avoided.

By identifying your website theme, you will be in a position to identify your competition and some broad keywords that describe your website. These will help you find good and related link partners easily once you start your link building campaign.

Competitor Analysis

Once you have identified your theme and identified some broad keywords after some brainstorming, you should find out who your competitors are. You can do this by searching for the keywords you chose in the last step on Search Engines including Google, Yahoo and MSN.

At this point, it is extremely necessary to use different Search Engines as different websites could be ranking high on different Search Engines. Once you check your keywords on all 3 search engines, and visit the top 10 websites for those keywords, you will exactly know the websites that are consistently showing on all the 3 Search Engines. These websites are actually your competitors.

Next, you should be analyzing their incoming links to see which websites link to your competition. You can use free online tools that can list the backward links for these websites, like Link Popularity Check (LPC) mentioned earlier in the guide, or simply use the Search Engine queries to find inbound links to these websites.

When you look for the incoming links to these websites, be sure to note down the Keywords other websites are using to link to them. You should add these Keywords to your list of Initial Keywords as they will help you come up with more related Keywords or Key phrases that could be related to your website theme.

Keyword Analysis

Once you have an expanded list of Keywords, you should use some Keyword Research Tool like WordTracker, Overture or the External Keyword Ideas Tool at Google Adwords. Search for Keywords that are highly searched and identify them. Try different combinations to get more highly searched keywords and key phrases that describe your business or website theme.

Link Texts and Descriptions

Once you have the list of highly searched Keywords and phrases, now you can move on to the step of making the Link Texts and Link Descriptions for your website which you will be submitting to web directories. These Link Texts and Descriptions are typically referred to as the ‘Link To Us’ or ‘Link To Me’ code, which can be used by other website owners to link to your site or blog.

You can add a completely new webpage to your website where you can add different variations of ‘Link To Us’ codes. This is necessary because you want webmasters to link to you using the most important Keywords. Also, the code given on the Link-To-Us page makes it easier for webmasters and other website owners to simply copy and paste the code to their website links page in order to give you a link.

Tips for making Link Texts and Descriptions

When making the Link-To-Us code, make sure the Link Titles and Link Descriptions are making sense. Most webmasters or newbies make the mistake of creating long link texts and descriptions simply stuffed with the important Keywords. Such Anchor Texts usually make little sense, and are not interesting enough to attract attention by visitors to click on it.

It is always a good idea to make variations of link texts. Initially you can make 5 to 6 different link texts for your home page of the website. You can make more for other important landing pages for your website. Also, avoid repeating a Keyword again and again in the Link Texts and Descriptions.

Links Directory or Pages

Since you will be managing and carrying out a link exchange campaign for your website, you will need to link to other industry related websites in exchange for a link. For this, you will need to get the link pages on your site ready before you actually start sending any link exchange emails.

You should spend some time on deciding the format for your link page(s).

These are some of the important questions you need to ask yourself before you make any final decisions about your link pages, also popularly referred to as ‘Link Partner Pages’, ‘Link Resources’, ‘Link Partners’ or simply ‘Friends’.

Most of the link pages and categories and sub-categories can be easily created using some link management tool like Arelis. For larger link directories, it is advisable to use some Free Link Management Program like PHP Links Directory, also known as PHPLD.

It is always a good idea to spend some time looking at other web directories and link pages of competitor and other industry related websites to get more ideas.

Once you have everything organized and in-place, you can now move on to the link building techniques outlined in the next part of this guide and start finding good link partners for your website to exchange links with.

Link Building Techniques

There are a number of techniques that can be followed to get inbound links for a website. If done correctly, proper link promotion can dramatically increase the number of quality websites that link to you. Additional incoming links will further provide your website with a consistent stream of targeted visitors, both from the websites as well as from the Search Engines.

Discussed below are the common methods which can be followed to increase the number of incoming links to a website. Some of these methods can be time-consuming and will require practice before results are achieved to the full potential of effort.

Emails

A common method of finding and contacting link partners is by sending emails. You can invite prospective link partners to do a link exchange by contacting the prospective website owner through email. The email can mention benefits of link building, or can be a simple request for a link exchange as the theme of the two websites is related to each other. Methods for finding good link partners and sample email templates that you can use to contact a site owner for link exchange are given in the coming sections of this guide.

Competitors Back Links

A good way to identify and find good link partners is to contact all those websites which are directly linking to your competitors. These linking websites can be easily identified using the search engine queries and commands for finding back links to a website as mentioned in the beginning of this guide.

The best way is to identify 10 or 15 big competitor websites and study the inbound links to those websites. This way you can identify hundreds of useful and quality link partners in a short amount of time. Then you can start contacting these link partners by email or by directly calling them for a link exchange.

Keyword Search

Another method used to find good link partners to exchange links with is to do a Keyword Search. This Keyword search can be carried out on any popular Search Engine like Google. Google offers a number of queries that can be used by webmasters to refine their search and find exactly what they are looking for. Examples of such useful queries are the intitle, allintitle, inurl and allinurl commands.

A combination of Search Terms like Add Link, Submit Link, Add URL, Link Submission, Resources, Link Partners etc. can be used along with a combination of your target Keywords and Key-phrases to find prospective link partners looking to exchange links with other related websites.

Taking the example of widgets, say you want to find websites related to the theme of widgets. You can search for the following terms on Google or any other Search Engine to find websites willing to exchange links and related to the theme you are looking for:

Widgets Add Link
Widgets Submit Link
Widgets Link Submission Form
Widgets Add URL
Widgets Link Submission
Free Widget Resources
Widget Link Partners
Widget Links

Similarly, the Google specific queries can be used:

intitle:widget links
This will fetch all indexed webpages which have widget appearing in the title or links appearing anywhere in the title of a webpage or both.

allintitle:widget links
This will fetch all indexed webpages which have both these KWs being used in the title.

inurl:widget links
This will fetch all indexed webpages which have widget appearing in the URL or links appearing anywhere in the URL of a webpage or both.

allinurl:widget links
This will fetch all indexed webpages which have both these KWs being used in the URL.

Directory Submissions

Directory Submissions should be one of the most important things that should be done especially for new websites. Submitting your site to directories is another way to get free incoming links targeting the most important Keywords. Many Web Directories are free to submit to and are also fast in approving the submitted links. Others will take 4 – 6 weeks to approve your link and include it in the listings.

Since all directories are divided into specific categories and sub-categories, it will always be easy to find a page in the directory where you can submit your link. Submission Policies for all the directories should be strictly followed in order to get fast approval of your submitted links.

Some large directories like DMOZ and Yahoo! Directory should be your first priority to submit a link. These directories are huge and get a lot of traffic and users everyday, and a listing in any of these popular directories can bring targeted traffic and users to your website on a regular basis. Moreover, directories like ODP are used by so many other web directories, and also by the Google Directory, so it will be highly beneficial to get a listing in DMOZ.

You can also look for ‘List of Search Engine Friendly Web Directories’ to submit your website links to. A big list of search engine friendly websites is also available on this website.

Forum Posts & Signatures

If your website is specifically related to a niche, you can promote your website on Forums that are specifically related to your website theme. Many forums allow you to use a signature in your posts, which can be very beneficial if your website is of interest to other posters and visitors to the forum. Similarly, mentioning your website inside the forum posts where possible can bring targeted links pointing to your website.

Actively participating on a high traffic forum can bring a steady stream of users to your website. If your website is specific to a region, promoting it in a regional community can also be extremely beneficial.

Blog Comments

Similar to Forum Posts, Blog Comments are another easy and convenient way to get free incoming links to your website. However, as with the case with Forum Posts, your blog comments should also be highly specific and useful for the readers of that Blog. Spammy Blog comments on unrelated sites will not be of much use. In fact, too many spammy Blog comments might harm your website and get it penalized by Search Engines.

Search Engines look for relevancy and themed links for a website. If your link is found on thousands of unrelated poor quality pages, it can be harmful for your website and Search Engines might end up showing a poor ranking for your website in the Search Results.

Link Baiting

Link Baiting is another very useful method of getting links to a website. This is a technique specifically used by Bloggers and website owners to a lesser extent. Link Baiting involves adding something really unique on your blog or website, which creates a buzz among the target audience. This content or new feature on the blog or website ‘baits’ the viewers which attracts them to link to or bookmark the interesting content. Link Baiting is a targeted technique, which falls under the task of link building, and attracts a lot of natural incoming links to a website or blog.

According to Matt Cutt “Link Baiting is anything interesting enough to catch people’s attention”

A properly created page can attract a huge amount of incoming links, with very little or no effort at all. These links can come from high traffic websites, like digg.com which can again bring a lot of targeted traffic to your website, and not to forget, lots and lots of natural links from other websites and blogs.

Unlike other link building techniques, where you contact webmasters to link to you, in link baiting you actually bring the links to you by offering something useful, unique or popular on your blog or website.

A well researched article or guide can also serve as a good link baiting technique, like this one.

Article Writing

Article Writing is one of the most effective ways of building links to your website. It involves writing an interesting article related to your niche, and submitting it to article submission websites like EzineArticles, GoArticles, ArticleAlley, ArticleBiz, ArticleCity, ArticleDashboard, EasyArticles and many more.

The submitted article(s) will have direct links pointing to your websites and its pages. Most of these Article Submission websites allow multiple links in the article body, which is a very convenient way of getting one way links to your website. The use of proper link texts and linking to internal pages can be the easiest way to get deep links to your website using appropriate anchor texts.

Press Releases

Similar to Article Writing, Press Releases are a very powerful method of getting hundreds of incoming links to your website. Properly Submitted Press Releases can get lots and lots of visitors to a website, especially if the press releases are submitted to popular news sites and syndicated to Google and Yahoo! News.

Type of Links

Over the years, different types of links have come up. It is essential for a link builder to know the difference between each kind of link to be able to judge its quality and importance.

One Way links/Non-reciprocal Links

One way links are the most precious links for a website, especially if the quality of incoming one way links is also good. Usually, sites providing useful content to visitors over a long period of time get a lot of natural one-way links to their websites. One way links are given the most importance as they are not manipulative in any manner. People link to a website with related Keywords and Anchor Texts as they find appropriate, according to the theme of the website they are linking to.

Two Way Links/Reciprocal Links

Two Way linking or Reciprocal Links are also called Link Exchange. The two websites come to an agreement of putting the other website’s link on their website in exchange of a link to their website. Search Engines have now started giving less importance to Two Way links, due to the exploitation they have received at the hands of spammers and other black hat SEO practicing individuals.

However, this does not mean that two-way linking or link exchange is no longer being used by Website owners and webmasters. Two Way links with related websites can be extremely beneficial for a websites presence over the Internet.

The biggest drawback of link exchange is the amount of time and effort that goes in the entire process. At times, it can be very time consuming to find good link partners, email them, add a link to your website, and then check back if they have linked to your website or not. In that case, you either end up sending them another reminder email, removing their link on your website, or simply forget about the link that was added by you in your links page, but never reciprocated.

Three Way Links

Over time, Search Engines started giving less importance to Two-Way links or Exchanged links. As a result, webmasters came up with another method of tricking the Search Engines in exchanging links with other website. In three-way links, 3 websites are involved in the exchange rather than 2 websites interlinking each other.

In three way linking, website A links to Website B, which links to Website C, which in turn links back to Website A. Hence, Search Engines consider that a Website A is linking to B, but B is not linking back to A; hence it could be a one-way, non-reciprocal or incoming link.

However, Search Engines like Google are able to detect three-way and four-way links also to some extent, and this practice is becoming unpopular among webmasters due to its over-complicated nature.

Deep Links

Deep Links are links pointing to internal pages of your website. These pages could be important landing pages covering other related and important Keywords of your site theme. It is equally important to get deep links to your webpages as it is to get links for the home page of your website.

Links from FFA Sites and Link Farms

Not all websites over the internet are good. So care must be taken when choosing link partners for your website. You should avoid websites that are banned on Search Engines. Similarly, you should avoid Free For All Sites, also known as FFA Sites.

FFA Sites and Link Farms are those websites which have hundreds and hundreds of unrelated links all on one page. These pages often have automated link submission forms, which they use to collect emails and other related information like name from you, which are later used to send email spam.

Good webmasters will always avoid submitting links to such farms, and will also NEVER link to any FFA Site. However, webmasters cannot completely control where their links are submitted or added, which is why extreme care must be taken in identifying these websites.

A good indication of FFA sites and Link Farms is that they have hundreds of unrelated and spam links, mostly going to adult or medical websites. These websites are also penalized by Search Engines and usually have PR 0 and are banned by Search Engines. Submitting to these should be avoided and linking to them should be avoided at all costs.

Sample Email Letter

Here is a sample email letter that can be used to email webmasters and other website owners for link exchange.

[SUBJECT: Exchanging links with your site]

Hello [Name of person],

After visiting your site [URL here], I believe it would be mutually beneficial to exchange links. Our site [Your site URL here] provides [give a description of your website theme, and information about your main product or service].

A link to your site has already been placed on our links page at [URL of the links page]. It would be appreciated if you would reciprocate with a link back to our site as well.

You can use the following details to link to our website:

URL: [Complete website URL here]
Title: [Anchor Text here using the important Keywords]
Description: [Link Description here with some more Keywords]

If you want the details for your link changed, do let me know.

Best Regards,

[Your Name]

[Your Designation]
[Website URL]
[Email]
[Phone, Fax and other Contact Details]

Link Building Tools

There are various link building tools available now for managing a links campaign. The most popular of those which I use is listed below:

Arelis

Arelis by Axandra is a Links Management Software which helps you find quality link partners, enables you to add their link to your website and then contact them for link exchange. Arelis allows you to use various methods by which you can find prospective link partners. The Program also has a built in browser, which can be used to view the website which you are considering exchanging links with. Other details like Alexa Rank, AllTheWeb Information for that website and Yahoo! Directory listing can also be checked for each website that you add to your Arelis Project.

Important Terms

Alt tag
The alternate text associated with a web page graphic that gets displayed when the Internet user hovers the mouse over the graphic. Alt tags should convey what the graphic is for or about and should contain good relevant keywords. Alt tags also make web pages more accessible to the disabled. For example, a vision-impaired user may have a web browser that reads aloud the text and alt tags on a page.

Alt text
The text that appears when you put your mouse on top of an image or a picture.

Anchor Text
The visible text for a hyperlink. Anchor texts are very important for Rankings and SEO.

Back Link
A link from one website to another. Good Back Links are believed to improve Google Page Rank and also improve Search Engine Rankings.

Black Hat SEO
SEO practices that involve unethical means of promoting a website are considered Black Hat. These techniques are employed to fool search engine spiders.

Broken Link
A link that produces a 404 error, page not found.

Cross Linking
The procress of multiple sites linking to each other in order to inflate link popularity and improve results. Many search engines have started penalizing cross-linking.

Dead Link
A link that produces a 404 error, page not found.

Deep Linking
Links pointing to a web page other than your index page.

Description
The description of a web site in a web directory or Search Engine. Human-edited web directories usually compose a description after reviewing the site. The description gives information about the website to users interested in the website.

Directory
A website that list other websites in their various categories.

DMOZ
A large directory of websites run by volunteers. Their database is used by many website across the internet. Also referred to as the ‘Open Directory Project’.

FFA
Free For All. This is a links page with nothing but lots of links added by visitors. Mostly, the links are unrelated.

Free For All
This is a links page with nothing but lots of links added by visitors. Mostly, the links are unrelated.

Hyperlink
Hyperlinks are the graphics, words, or phrases you click on in HTML documents that jump from page to page or site to site.

IBL
In Bound Link. Any link on another page that points to the subject page. Also called a back link.

Inbound Link
A link from another website to your website. Also known as an Incoming Link.

Incoming Link
A link from another website to your website. Also known as an Inbound Link.

Key phrase
A collection of words or terms that help identify the purpose of a website. Key phrases are also submitted to search engines to retrieve related web pages.

Keyword
A single word used to help identify the purpose of a website.

Keyword Research
The act of searching keywords related to your niche. This is often done to find the highest producing keywords.

Keyword Stuffing
Stuffing a page with numerous keywords for the sole purpose of confusing search engines. This technique is considered Black Hat SEO.

Link Farm
A series of websites linking to each other in order to increase rankings. Mostly, the sites are not related with each other.

Link popularity
A measure of the number and quality of links to a particular page.

Open Directory Project
A large directory of websites run by volunteers. Their database is used by many website across the internet. Also known as DMOZ.

Outbound Link
Linking from your website or webpage to another website or webpage.

Page Rank
Google’s system for ranking web pages. The higher the rank the better position your website or page will have in their results.

PR
Google’s Page Rank, a system for ranking web pages. The higher the rank the better position your website or page will have in their results.

Query
A search phrase or term submitted to search engines.

Rank
How well a particular web page or web site is listed in a search engine or advertising results.

Ranking Algorithm
A series of mathematical formulae which are used by search engines in order to rank websites and web pages.

Reciprocal Link
Where 2 sites exchange links in order to exchange traffic and users.

Referrer
The page from which a user has come.

Search Engine
A site which searches the web for sites which are relevant for a given search query.

Submission
The process of submitting a site to a search engine or directory.

Traffic
The visitors and page views on a website.

URL
Uniform Resource Locator. The address at which a specific resource can be found.

Weblog
Blogs. An online diary with posts or entries made on a regular basis. Blogs are maintained by real people and some popular blogs might be updated multiple times a day with new posts and content.

White Hat SEO
All SEO practices that use only ethical means of promoting a website are considered White Hat.

More SEO Terms can be found at the SEO Glossary.