Artificial Link Building Tactics: Links that can be manipulated
Artificial Link Building Tactics
The name Artificial Link Building Tactics might sound a bit dodgy, but I have my reasons for calling the following kind of link building services “artificial”. Basically, in my own dictionary, artificial linking refers to links that can be manipulated. So Link requests, directory submission, article submission, paid links, etc. all fall under this category.
Link Requests / Exchange
This is probably the most common form of artificial link building tactics that are ongoing. I hate to say, but personally, I find this method really annoying as I probably receive over half a dozen junk emails every day asking me to link to their site. Now, what is wrong with asking for a link? Well, of course, there is nothing wrong until you spam the crap out of me! Does this method work? Yes, To some extent (as long as I don’t click the “delete” button over your face). What kind of link requests webmasters often ignore:
The ones that start with “Dear Webmaster…”
When you mention “SEO” in your Email
The sender has no idea of what Link building actually is. The email is impersonal and spammy
You are asking for a link to your Viagra/Insurance/Health related website where my website is about Gardening!
Your website has a horrible design and usability, and 100s of keywords are stuffed all over the place
Your website has no valuable information but only contains affiliate links & banners
Your website is new and is not even indexed by any of the search engines
Your website has more outbound links than the number of quality content
But I personally Ignore “All” link request/exchange offers. And here is why:
Unless your website can provide me a lot of traffic, It’s of no help for me
I don’t really care about who is linking to me, but I am very cautious about who I link to (because that’s the thing that really matters when it comes to Link exchange). If your website is spammy in nature or practices black-hat, my own site might be penalized because I’m recommending a “junk” to Google saying “its good”.
I believe natural one-way links are much more valued.
Most of the link requests that I have received are all not ‘related’ to my sites and I personally haven’t found a single site that is asking for a link to be of any quality.
What Kind of Link Request / Exchange Works:
If you have a blog, you can ask another blogger to put you on his blogroll. For personal blogs it works really well, for blogs on a particular niche, you will have a better chance of inclusion if you send requests to only blogs that are in your niche.
Since link exchange is something that is “Mutual” and for benefit of both parties. Next time you fire that “Link to Me” email, Ask yourself – If you were the owner of that website, would you link to your site? Do you think your site’s quality is equivalent to his website?
If you are asking for a link or blogroll inclusion from a high profile website, you are likely to be ignored because it’s likely that webmaster just doesn’t see any benefit of linking to you because probably your site doesn’t give any additional value to his readers.
If you have any online product/tools that are beneficial for a certain industry, you can ask other bloggers on your niche to review that on their blog. (You can also do the same to return the favor). This is a very solid way of getting both links and traffic.
If you are truly passionate about a particular niche/subject and you have created resources pages (something like Wikipedia) that covers every detail of that subject, You can speak to some of the bloggers who are currently writing about that subject to give you “feedback” on your content. And once they see that your resources are very comprehensive and good quality its likely that they will link to you.
If you have ever been to any Webmaster Forum, you have probably seen tons of people asking/providing directory submission services. What is Directory Submission anyway?
Well, It basically refers to submitting your site to Web Directories (something like yellow pages for the web). Now let me ask you this — Ever since Yahoo & Google has come out with their search engine, do you ever go to any directories to Find websites?
Most likely you don’t! Because ever since the search has emerged, people hardly need to go anywhere else to find a website. I’ll admit that I do browse directories (Yahoo Directory in particular), but that’s just me. There are actually some cool things you can do with Yahoo Directory that I’ll probably cover in another blog post. But for now all you should know is at some point (probably 3-4 years back), web directories did ‘matter’ because of traffic & links. But nowadays there are just too many low-quality directories out there that give you little or no benefit.
So stop wasting your time and submit only to those directories that are of any quality. Some notable ones are Dmoz, Yahoo Directory, Business.com, BOTW, etc.
Submitting articles to different article directories can also get you some links. Most of the article directories will allow you to include an Author Bio, where you can include a link back to your website. Some article directories will also drive traffic to your site.
However, personally, I find including content on my own site more useful than writing elsewhere. If your site is new, you should add more quality content to your website first and then maybe you can write some additional content for the article directories. Some good article directories are Ezine Articles, Go Articles, Article Dashboard, iSnare, etc.
You can write blog posts for other blogs in your niche as a Guest blogger. Not all the blogs will accept a post from guest bloggers, but you can always try your luck by contacting them. Just like article directories, you can include your author biography at the end of the article which often allows you to get a link back to your site. If the readers like your post, they are likely to follow the link to your blog. So this is both good for traffic & link juice.
Distributing Press releases is often a good way to create an initial buzz. Writing effective press releases can get you a lot of links and also covered in a wider media. But if you don’t have any professional experience with writing press releases, it’s better if you hire a professional to do that. There are a lot of places where you can submit your press releases, some of them are: PR Web Direct. PR.com etc.
Widgets / Footer / Plugins
Create a useful widget, plugin or a WordPress theme that others can use on their sites. And perhaps you can have a link on those back to your homepage. But there has been a case where a site was heavily penalized by Google for overdoing this.
Read what Matt Cutts (Head of Google Web Spam Team) has to say on widget bait here.
Give Away Award Badges
You will often notice that a lot of websites out there do a tremendous amount of work by making a top 10, top 20, top 100, top 250 list of blogs/tools/services of a particular niche.
Occasionally they also give away awards to these websites and the proud winner can display the award as a “badge” on his own website. So say if you are a Web Design Company and have made a list of top 100 Web Design blogs, and given them a badge to display this award with pride, you can surely get about 80% of them to put it on their website.
Thus you will be getting a lot of relevant & quality links back to your company’s website. Some of them may also ‘blog’ about it and thus you can also receive some targeted traffic back to your site.
Start an Affiliate Program
If you start a lucrative affiliate program and manage to get a lot of affiliates under your wing, you can automatically get a lot of links because of the fact that all your affiliates will be linking to your website to promote your products/services.
So if you have 1000 affiliates under you and considering 80% of them stay active, you will be getting about 800 links easily from this.
Buying Links / Paid Links
The reason I have put this at the end as this is something that I don’t recommend. Some may argue with me and say that buying links may ’still’ work (and of course it does as long as you can stay under the radar), but the search engines are becoming smarter every day and I believe its best to play things naturally.
There are a lot of sites out their who will openly or discreetly sell you links. If you have already decided to go alone on this path, below are some tips and some alternative ways of ‘buying links’ that aren’t too ’shady’:
Instead of buying links directly from the site, think of a way to sponsor the site and in exchange, you may take a link back. For example, if you have a business of Plush toys and you are trying to get a link from a High profile toy blog/forum, instead of buying a link, you can consider holding a contest where you can give away prizes every month to their readers.
Obviously, since you are sponsoring the contest, the website holding the contest will likely to put your logo/banner on their site that will also link to your store directly. This way you can get both link juice and also some targeted traffic & leads.
Avoid buying links from Footer, Link pages, etc. If they put your site along with 10-100s of other low-quality, unrelated websites then probably it’s best for you to Pull off your link from there.
You may ask the top-notch bloggers of your niche to write an article on a detailed comparison of your product with your competitors. You can probably pay the blogger a review/research fee for this task.
Donate money to open source initiatives. There are many open source projects out there that requires funding to run, and for a small donation like $20 – $100, they will list your name/company name in their website and often give you a juicy link.
Example, W3C previously had a page of high DA & PA, where people could get them listed for a $1000 donation. Now I believe that has changed their policy and made those links “no-follow”. But there are still a lot of open source software/services out there that accepts a donation in exchange for a link.
I have pretty much tried to cover all aspects of Link Building. I thank you for taking the time to go through this long article. If you are looking for a professional and effective digital marketing agency then I urge you to get in touch. If there is anything that I have missed, please reply in comments and I’ll update the post.
Also, check out some other great resources/articles related to Link building that I have found useful:
101 Link Building Tips to Market Your Website: SEOBook.com
Five Link Building Strategies That Work – CopyBlogger
131 (Legitimate) Link Building Strategies – Search Engine Watch
Advanced Link Building Strategies – SEOmoz
A Big Roundup Of Link Building Tool – Search Engine Land
Link Building Basics – Search Engine Roundtable
Blow Your Mind Link Building Techniques – Search Engine Roundtable
Link Building for Blogs – Top Rank Blog
Link Building Best Practices Q&A – Eric Ward
Link Building & Determining Link Quality – Search Engine Journal
Old VS New Link Building Strategies – SEO Smarty
Quality Link Building: Social Links, Reciprocal Links and .edu & .gov Links – Search Engine Journal
15 Link Building Tips for New Websites – Dosh Dosh
The Ultimate Guide to Getting Lots of Link Love – Problogger