'Search Engines'

Good and Bad Link Building Methods (Part I)

19 JAN 2011 1

As already mentioned in a handful of previous posts, your rankings with the search engines depend on the number and quality of inbound links. Here are several popular ways you can build backlinks, ranked by how difficult they are to get, how much time it takes you to build them and the quality they bring.

Guest posting

A guest post is an article you write for someone else’s blog, in exchange for one or two editorial links and maybe even a resource box with your picture and a brief bio.

  • Difficulty: Medium. You are going to write an insightful post on a topic you are already familiar with, so it shouldn’t be that difficult.
  • Time: Medium. Words aren’t likely to simply start flowing on their own, so you will have to do some research. Again, since you are already familiar with the subject, it shouldn’t take you that much time as looking up information in a field that’s completely unknown to you.
  • Quality: High. Guest posting is one of the most prolific link building methods, as it brings more than simply SEO value. A good article can also bring you traffic, RSS and mailing list subscribers as well as recognition from other bloggers in the field.

To improve your chances of success, make sure your blog is “prepared” for the new wave of visitors. Expect the unexpected, make sure your web server can handle a surge in traffic. You should also prepare a handful of great posts to be displayed on the front page (these will be the first articles your new visitors will read.) Give them reasons to return!

Theme distribution

Theme distribution is the process of distributing customized templates for Wordpress, Joomla, PHP Nuke or other popular CMS’es. The catch is that you place a link to your service in the footer of the themes, so whoever installs it on his site gives you a link.

  • Difficulty: Medium to HIgh. You will need the knowledge and skills to create a template, as well as a good eye for design. Alternatively, you could edit themes distributed under a permissive license and add your links.
  • Time: Medium to High. Again, building a custom template from scratch or modifying an existing one can take you quite a lot of time and resources. Depending on how good the theme is and your experience with design, the whole process can take you between a few hours and a few days.
  • Quality: Low. You might get some decent links from blogs announcing the release of your theme, but that’s about it. The templates will be installed on brand new sites with close to no authority. Also, Google has a proven record of devaluing footer links. And, to make things even worse, keep in mind that you can’t control the topic on the site where your theme will be installed, so you will be getting a lot of off-topic links.

To have a better chance of success with this method, your theme needs to be simply stunning, so that a lot of people will install it and get you a quantity-over-quality result. Otherwise you might as well drop the idea altogether.

This concludes our first episode on good and bad link building practices. In Part II, we will discuss two other methods—holding a contest and submitting to directories.

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