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Now that you’ve done your keyword research and on-page SEO, it’s time for the third and final step: getting links to your website.
When Google determines how to rank websites with its algorithm, links are the most important factor (both quality and quantity of the links, as well as words used in the link). Simply put, you need websites pointing at your website through links. Here’s how:
1. Check who already links to you and optimize Most likely, there are some websites that already link to your website. Now it’s time to (1) find out what sites link to your site and (2) optimize the links to improve the value. To find out which websites link to yours, visit Open Site Explorer and enter your website URL. Once you have that list in hand, approach the owners of those websites. First, thank them for the link; and second, ask if they would be willing to change the anchor text. Anchor text is the text that sits on top of the link (like the Open Site Explorer link above) and it tells Google why they have chosen to link to you. This should be a keyword that describes your web page that is behind that link.
2. Start a blog Business blogs should ideally be helpful articles for your target market to read. Since blog articles are more resource-based than regular web pages, people are more likely to link to them. If you write excellent content, the links will follow.
3. Mention other companies in articles From time to time on your blog, you should feature other companies that are doing certain things well. If you mention five companies and how they are doing something well, then let them know about it. From there, they may choose to link back to the article because it is good press for them. That creates another link to your website.
4. Guest blog for other relevant sites Bloggers loves to have guests write for their blogs. It gives a fresh perspective and saves them time. You should approach influential blogs in your industry and ask to cover a specific topic for their blog. If they say yes, be sure to include links back to your website. This is an understood trade-off in the blogging world: good content in exchange for a link or two.
6. Add social sharing buttons Give people an easy way to share your event listing on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and more. This is important for two reasons: first, when people share it you will receive more visitors; and second, search engines will see those shares as links and will view your blog as a more trusted (and therefore higher ranked) website.
7. Set up social profiles As mentioned in #6, search engines put value on social links. Therefore, you should set up social networking profiles for your company and share your articles/links through those networks. This will help you increase traffic, build a following, and increase social links to your website.
8. Ask partners and clients for links Notice on most websites that the footer includes a link to the web design company that made the site? That is done mostly for search engine reasons. For your partners and clients, you shouldn’t be pushy in asking for links. However, if you’re a resource that could improve a partner’s website, then ask if they’d like to put it up. That resource will live as a link back to your website.
9. Write press releases Press releases are powerful because they get submitted to and picked up by many different publications. All of the publications that pick up your story will include links back to your website.
You’ve made it through the three pillars of SEO! – you’re now ready to be your own search engine expert.