The various search engine have different algorithms in order to establish which website appear higher in the SERPS (search engine ranking pages). Search engines such as Yahoo and Bing still rely predominantly on on-page factors such as correct html, meta data and copywriting, however, Google (the undoubted heavyweight of search engines) holds an increased importance on backlinks (links from external websites pointing to yours).
Google uses Page Rank which is a link analysis algorithm, named after Larry Page (co-founder of Google). Page Rank is Google measure of 'importance' of the webpage and has a numerical value assigned between 0-10 with 10 being the greatest possible page rank and 0 being the lowest. For example the New York Times currently has a Page Rank of 7 whereas a new website will usually have 0.
In order to increase the Page Rank of your website a backlink strategy must be undertaken. This article will highlight some of the different methods used to obtain backlinks and will discuss their basic merits and downfalls.
Link Exchange - Link exchanges have now been around for many years, with numerous programs designed to spurt out emails to all and sundry asking for link exchanges. A link exchange is basically when a webmaster requests a backlink from your website in return for a backlink from their website. A few years ago this method of creating backlins was effective, today links of this nature hold little weight, therefore your time is better spent looking at other methods of link building.
Article Marketing - Article websites such as EzineArticles will publish unique articles that you have written, in turn you may have two self serving links in the Authors resource box. This is a great way of building links as it can also be viral. If your article is compelling enough people will blog and use the article elsewhere, thereby virally increasing the number of links obtained from the article. Remember, the article must be original and informative otherwise it may not get published, and even if it does it could have a detrimental effect on your business if the content is no good.
Directory Submissions - Submitting your website to directories is a must, however there is a plethora of directories (both free and paid), therefore choosing the correct directories is crucial. You should always start with the three largest free directories, DMOZ, this is a large directory that is utilised by many other websites and managed by volunteer editors (it may take some time for your website to appear here). Google directory is also a must and again there is no charge to be added, Google will find your site anyway at some point but it is always best to go to Google.com/submiturl.html and do it manually. Yahoo will let non commercial sites list for free, however commercial sites must pay $299.
There are thousands of fee based directories, my pick of the bunch are Gimpsy ($30 one off fee), GoGuides ($39.99) and JoeAnt ($39.99). There are many others that can be found easily through a Google search but are too numerous to list here.
Blogging - We all know what blogs are and how effective they can be. The idea here is to start your own blog (Blogger or WordPress are the two main blog sites), make sure you update it regularly and create interesting and compelling content. A blog can then get a life of its own, earning Page Rank and ultimately allowing you to create backlinks to your website.
Social Bookmarks - Social bookmarking websites like Del.icio.us, reddit, Digg, Furl and StumbleUpon (there are lots of others) basically allow users to bookmark pages on the Internet that they are interested in. Social bookmarks are however public, therefore the more people that bookmark your website the more popular it will become and therefore the rank will increase.
Press Releases - The final method of link building considered here is via online press releases. This is an excellent way of building backlinks providing you have something newsworthy to write about. There are various websites such as PRWeb, PRZoom and Free-Press-Release that will allow you to submit press releases with links in them.
Remember, the best method of getting natural links is to make link worthy content on your website. Maybe put up a free game of e-book. This will naturally make people want to link to you - the best links are those that happen naturally anyway.
Richard Conway is founder and Managing Director of Pure SEO, a successful Auckland based budget conscious SEO company. Pure SEO offer advanced link building services, directory submissions and article writing. Pure SEO have an excellent reputation for obtaining high rankings in all the major search engines. For all your search engine optimisation needs contact Richard Conway of Pure SEO.