How to Get Links: A Comprehensive Strategy for Beginners

By Scott

If you’ve spent time researching ways to optimize your website to improve your search engine rankings, you’ve no doubt been introduced to the concept of link building. It’s one of the most effective ways to improve your rankings. The challenge is that all links are not created equal. Here is your guide to success.

The million dollar question: How do you get these relevant sites to link to you?

There are many “approaches?? to get sites to link to you. Before you start, however, consider Google’s motive:

They don’t want to see how good you are at getting links; they want to find out how important and relevant of a resource your website really is.

As a result, your challenge is to either:

Make your website a really good resource, or
Make Google think your website is a really good resource

If want optimal results, however, you’ll do a combination of both.

Make your website a really good resource and over time you’ll get good in-bound links to your website, and your rankings will climb. If you want to speed up the process, however, make your website a really good resource and then actively pursue links that appear to be “natural?? rather than “forced?? links. You’ll still need to be patient; the goal is simply to push things along.

Active versus Passive link building

At the end of the day, and at a very high level, you get links one of two ways:

1) Passively – by having great tools on your site, and/or articles that give other sites a reason to link to you

2) Actively – by doing things like article syndication, link swaps, directory submissions, tagging, etc

To get the best of both worlds:

First – Takes steps towards making your website a real resource by doing things like:

– Building a valuable tool or collection of tools

– Building features that make it easier for customers to buy complex products from you rather than your competitors

– Creating a fun but useful blog oriented to the products or services you offer (employ a gimmick, but make sure there is steak behind the sizzle)

– Posting valuable articles and “how-to?? guides

– Creating an “award?? or offering comprehensive reviews (sometimes user-generated reviews)

– Etc, etc, etc (the point is to be creative)

The idea behind passive link building is that you’re making your site such a valuable resource that other website owners start linking to it simply because it would be a good place to send their visitors. In other words, they link without you asking.

Then – Use active link building to get “natural looking?? links to your site

Your attempts at getting “natural looking?? links leading to your website probably won’t appear “perfectly natural,?? but if you can start improving your rankings gradually and getting more traffic, you’ll be getting the word out about how useful your website is – and the natural links will start coming all by themselves.

Ideas for actively bringing links to your website:

– Article syndication: Write 1,000 word articles that are useful to your target audience (top 10 lists, etc), and syndicate them to article directories like Other webmasters go to sites like to pick up useful articles for their site.

– Link swaps: Though I’m not a big fan of link swaps, you may want to contact 10 to 20 websites that you consider “friendly?? and relevant to your site, and offer to exchange links. Note that Google can tell when you “exchange?? links, versus “earning?? one-way links from other sites, so don’t abuse this.

– Create a blog: Yes, I mentioned this as a passive link building strategy because it is both passive and active. Build a blog and take advantage of “trackbacks?? and “pings?? to get links from other blogs and blog aggregators respectively.

– Directory submissions: Submit your site to relevant directories. Some will allow you to submit your site for free (without reciprocating) like DMOZ. Others will require that you pay a listing fee (like Either way, if the directory is a good one, these links have value.

– Tagging: Submit your resource page to sites like Yahoo’s MyWeb, Slashdot, Digg it, and If other members of the respective network like your link, it will gain more prominence, traffic, and links.

Summing it Up

The idea here is to offer something of real value on your website (something that would give other people a reason to link to you), and to speed the process along a little bit by putting some bait out there.

Another way of saying that is: Use active link building to speed up your passive link building.

While active link building may help you get short-term results, it’s the passive link building that helps you get long-term results, and allows you to target more competitive search phrases. Whether you sell products online through a Yahoo Store, or you’re an enterprise software company looking to generate leads, variations of the strategies above can work for you.

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