A college of mine wanted to learn more about how I find other websites that will link to my client’s websites. Since links are essentially votes it’s important to get lots of votes in the popularity contest called Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS). Or in other words Google and Bing’s search engines. And if the link is a vote the text usually in blue sending the link is just as important. That is called “Anchor Text”. And since Google is still primarily a contextual search engine; text is the best way to tell Google what something is about.
In this post I focus on the advanced SEO technique of link building. For beginners to SEO feel free to checkout my list of the best Google and SEO experts SEO beginners guides.
- Find quality sites to get links from
- Use the right Anchor Text in that link
Quality Links + Good Anchor Text = Good Linking Strategy
4 Great Tools & Ways to Find Links
Fortunately some of your best places to look for links are your competition. We also have a wealth of knowledge just from using a search engine search. Finally there are free tools these search engines provide and paid ones 3rd parties have come up with.
1) Competitive Research
- Open Site Explorer Compare links, anchor text, trust and more between sites: What you can find using Open Site Explorer – in depth SEO guide by Rand Fishkin CEO of SEOMoz. This tool is free for limited numbers of searched per day.
- Bing Webmaster Tools now offers Link Explorer Beta. Now you can not only see your links but your competitor links too. – Updated 6/6/2012
2) Searching on The Engines Themselves
- Searches on Google or Bing such as: “topic” + guest blogging or just an important keyword to you.
- Find citations kinda like links by searching on Google or Bing for name, address, phone number (NAP)
- Find review citations by searching via Google then tab places and looking at others review sources
3) Free Search Engine Tools
4) Advanced Paid Only Tools
Things to Avoid
Rand has made some also great videos on linking in his white board Friday. Google really made its fame by flowing links and documenting them with their crawling “spider” program. It started with known trusted websites and moved out from there to catalog the internet as we know it. As you move further and further form a core of trusted sites site quality in general goes down. So metrics like Moz Trust aim to help you find trusted sites to get links from. Because getting links from poor quality sites can hurt your standings in search engines it’s important to think before you get a link. I’ve made the mistake of submitting my site to sites that blast my business out to ___ number of sites, search engines, ect… It almost always hurts your trust and rankings.
So it’s simple, get good links from good authoritative sources that can send you traffic directly or earn you links indirectly. Don’t buy them and get punished like JC Penny’s. And defiantly don’t get them all at once; Google is great at seeing trends that look spammy.
Here is his latest and best post on Link Earning Theory:
Other Signals Like Links
One caveat I might offer is I consider a link to a website a “link.” Others such as SEO Moz classify links in a “link profile”. Essentially there are different types of links, they have different weights and value, and the general consensus is it’s bad to have a link profile overly different from your industry. You would expect a social site to have a lot more social signals from say FaceBook or Twitter than an industrial manufacturer. So in their paid tool set they offer tools to compare and monitor your link profile vs the competition.
Lost or Less Useful Tools
- Searches in Google or Bing with Site: www.websitename.com
- Best Lost Tool Ever Was: Yahoo Site Explorer
- Blekko Finally a search engine that provides SEO data such as links except now it costs an arm and a leg to view it: What you can find using Blekko – in depth SEO guide by Vanessa Fox
History of what was provided about links: 2011 The Year Google Took Away from SEOs Publishers by Danny Sullivan Chief Editor of Search Engine Land.
If you know of more great ways to find links feel free to share them with me.