Beginners Guide to Link Building – Part 3

Link building is critical for ranking well in the major search engines.  Building quality backlinks to a site is critical to driving organic traffic from search engines.  In the Beginners Guide to LInk Building – Part 1, I examined why links are important to a website.  In the Beginners Guide to Link Building – Part 2, I talked about reciprocal link building and how it could be used to obtain backlinks to a website.

Now in the Beginners Guide to Link Building, Part 3, I am examining a few proven techniques to obtain quality backlinks to a website.

Once a website has been launched, many novice webmasters assume traffic will mysteriously start arriving.  However, the size of the internet and the enormous numbers of sites make this practically impossible and highly unlikely.  Obtaining a steady stream of traffic will take time unless an organization has a major advertising budget and actively promotes its website.  However, advertising campaigns tend to be expensive and will often result in initial increases in traffic, but poor conversions for the products and services being offered.  Traffic coming from search engines or external links costs the organization very little in capital expenditures, and shows an interest in the product and services offered.  Users have either searched for a keyword term or clicked on a link in a related site.  This is the type of traffic that will have higher conversion rates for a business.

Driving traffic to a website and developing quality one-way links from relevant sites is not automatic.  Webmasters must devote time and energy to this if they expect any results.  There are several recognized strategies that will result in traffic and over time, relevant one-way links.

The strategies and techniques outlined are proven, and are available for free, requiring nothing more than hard work, creativity and dedication of a webmaster.  Many traffic building and link building techniques are focused on the long term.  There are relatively few mechanisms that provide a quick boost to both traffic and inbound links other than large-scale advertising.

CONTENT, CONTENT, CONTENT – Content is king

Having fresh, unique, relevant and engaging content is the most important strategy a webmaster can employ to develop sustained traffic from search engines.

Once a website has been launched and added for indexing in the major search engines, it is important webmasters publish content on a regular basis.  It is also important webmasters resist the urge to publish duplicate content copied from other websites.  Doing this will result in duplicate content penalties and do nothing to improve the ranking of a site.

Fresh content feeds the monster and content definitely is king!

If content is fresh, engaging, offering value to those people who find and visit a site, traffic will continue to flow as more and more content is published.  Additionally, other webmasters and websites will find this content useful, eventually linking to it.  It is these natural links that improve the ranking of the site, which means more visitors from the search engines.

Building upon this cycle is repetitive, but is crucial for the success of any website.

Keep in mind content should be written and optimized for the keywords and keyword phrases selected.  It must not only be compelling for human visitors, but has to be search engine friendly to convince the search engines to rank the content well.  Researching a topic and writing content will require time, especially in the early stages of website development.  However, the long term rewards realized will far outweigh the effort.

UTILIZING LINK BAITING TECHNIQUES TO GENERATE LINKS

Link baiting starts with the creation of content that either has major entertainment value or provides a remarkable piece of information.  This type of content creates a “buzz” throughout an online community and has potential to attract an enormous number of links and traffic to a site.

The goal of link bait is to have other websites create links to the article in question.  As the number of links increase, search engines see these links as a vote as to the importance of the content.  These results in higher search engine ranking and multiple paths of traffic from many relevant sites linking back.

Link bait can occur in a variety of ways.  As a website, offering something useful such as a free software application, free tool or some benefit to the visitor will attract visitors who see benefit from what is offered.  Such items are often linked to from other sites in the same or related niche, resulting in not an increase one-way links and traffic as users want to use the tools or make use of the information published.

Another type of link bait can result when published content incites discussion or causes controversy.  If other websites like or hate the article, they may elect to write about it, and post a link back.  This has the ability to become a never-ending source of links but also has a danger of creating negative feedback about the site, especially if the information is deemed inaccurate or becomes highly controversial.

The main type of link bait techniques that a webmaster can utilize include:

  1. Informational:  providing information that educates and informs the readership, prompting them to utilize the site as a resource;
  2. News:  providing breaking news from a particular subject area, keeping the readership informed as to what is taking place within a particular niche;
  3. Humour:  publishing funny stories, strange occurrences, bizarre pictures and video are proven traffic generators.  These also tend to be passed around to other internet users and can quickly attract a massive amount of traffic;
  4. Controversy:  discussing a topic in a controversial way will cause people with opposing views to visit and dispute the viewpoint.  If done correctly, this can quickly raise the profile of a site and increase traffic, but does have dangers associated with it.  Controversy will incite passion, passion drives links; and
  5. Resource:  perhaps one of the best forms of link bait comes from providing resources or tools that add credibility to the website that occupies a particular niche.

There is a thin line that is sometimes followed utilizing some link bait techniques.  Some sites have been penalized for fabricating link bait to attract links.

One of the most publicized incidents occurred when a news site published an article about a 13-year old using a credit card to hire a prostitute.   The story in question was titled “13 Year Old Steals Dad’s Credit Card to Buy Hookers”.  The story resulted in massive media coverage throughout the internet and traditional media outlets.

The website in question received a tonne of links and an enormous amount of traffic as people flocked to read the article.  In fact, the controversy surrounding this is still driving traffic to the site in question as internet marketers use it as examples of effective link bait. 

Unfortunately, the article was fabricated.  The major search engines viewed the fabrication of the story as “unethical” and discredited the links from other sites, penalized the news site, and lowered the ranking of the site in question.

The link bait did exactly what it was designed for.  It drew a massive amount of traffic, resulted in a considerable number of links. The ethics of fabricating the story is a completely different matter, but the effectiveness of this technique should not be overshadowed.

That concludes the Beginners Guide to Link Building – Part 3 in which I examined the role of content and link baiting as techniques to increase traffic and obtain quality backlinks to a website.  Watch for the continuing series of link building technique as I explore more basic link building practices for obtaining links.

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About Barry Wheeler

Barry Wheeler is a blogger, novice SEO, geek and passionate Newfoundlander. Operating several successful websites and online communities, Barry has started exploring the social internet and its impact on all facets of society including personal life and business relationships. Find Barry on Twitter @barrywheeler and FaceBook or on his website Barry Wheeler - Blogging for Success.
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