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Top 5 Ways to Get Inbound Links

by Florin Costache

I've listed the methods below in the order you should use them: from the beginning (things you should do when you first start out a site) to the advanced methods, the ones you should use when your site is a little bit older and you're already getting a fair amount of visitors.

Before we get down to business, I have to tell you this very important detail: don't start promoting your site until it has some content - it's unlikely that you'll get good results when you promote an empty site!

1. Directory submissions - this is a very important step for a new site, because this is probably how search engines will first find you. What you will need:

* 5 different versions (except for the site URL) for each of the following: site URL, title, description, list of keywords.

* an email address, specially created for directory submissions. This email should be on the domain of the site you are submitting or else it will be rejected by some directories.

* a list of seo-friendly directories - has one of the best lists of seo-friendly directories.

Now here comes the hard part: take that directory list, visit each directory and submit your site cycling your titles and description on each submission. This is the hardest part mainly because of the amount of workload - don't worry, this can be made bearable by using 2 utilities: Roboform ( - which you can use with Internet Explorer and Firefox that has free and paid versions) and Informenter ( - a Firefox only plugin).

2. Reciprocal links (link exchanges) - I personally don't use this method anymore because it's too much work and there are not enough rewards! Link exchanges used to be a very powerful method in the beginning of Google and PageRank, but not anymore. This doesn't mean that reciprocal links don't work anymore, it's just that they're not that important anymore.

However this is one step you could follow when you have little competition, somewhere in the range of 300 000 or 400 000 results for your search word or phrase.

3. Reprint rights articles (submitting articles to article directories) - this is one of my favorite methods of obtaining backlinks: it requires little time, it's free and you can (possibly) get a lot of return on your investment!

Writing articles gives you perfect control over the environment your links are in, and even a little control over the site where your article resides (considering the fact that webmasters usually post only articles that have the same topic as their site). Writing articles of high quality will ensure that your articles will be posted on many sites - a good article will get you a good number of backlinks!

One last thing about article writing: never, and I mean never post the article that you'll distribute on your own site! Considering the article could appear on very important sites, Google may apply a duplicate content filter on your site, thus possibly burring it in the SERPs. Your site should be as clean as a whistle, with as much original content as possible.

4. Buying links - in my opinion, if you are not an expert in search engine optimization you should not try buying links to improve your rankings. There are a lot of factors to take into account when looking to buy links: theme of the site, the traffic that the page or site gets, whether that traffic is from natural and sustained (not from PPC, traffic exchanges or such methods), PR, anchor text and many more!

However, if you decide on buying text links on other sites, do the following:

* choose well established sites that have the same theme as yours.
* the link should be spiderable: check the robots.txt file, nofollow metatags and the rel="nofollow" link attribute.
* make the link look as different as possible from a bought link: surround it with text and avoid placement in the site's footer or in an "Advertisements" or "Partners" box.

5. Link baiting is one of the most powerful method of online promotion, but this should be used only when your site is a little bit older and stable - getting a lot of links in a short time span can actually hurt your site.

There are a few hooks that you can use to attract links:

* news: get an important story first and you could be the focus of your industry sector, even if for only a few hours! People are always on the look-out for fresh stuff, and if it's good you could end up with a lot of backlinks.

* resource: gathering a list of useful pages in your industry, or maybe offering a new viewpoint on a certain research paper.

* controversy: this kind of link baiting can actually get you on the wrong side of some people because it requires contradicting a popular point of view or an authority figure. So tread carefully!

Florin Costache writes on the seo blog Optimizare (Servicii optimizare).

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