How should I build external links back to my website?

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Accumulating backlinks is by far one of the most crucial components of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). With that said, it’s not always the easiest thing to accomplish - but don’t let that discourage you. If you have an e-commerce store, you should practice SEO techniques. For optimal results your SEO strategy should entail creating backlinks. It could be time consuming and somewhat difficult, but think of it this way: The higher your website ranks on search engines, the more traffic you will receive on your site, hence the more sales you will make. Traffic = Sales.

At this point, you are probably wondering, ‘what is a back link and how do I accumulate them?’ A back link, also referred to as an inbound link, is simply a link found on another website that directs to your own. The quantity of links directed toward your website (backlinks), is essentially a measure of your website’s popularity. Search Engines, particularly Google, consider each backlink as a ‘vote of confidence’ for your website, the rational being that most people would not link to your site if they didn’t find it to be interesting or useful. While every vote counts, not all are considered equal due to the relevance factor. Yes, that’s right, votes are also weighted according to their relevance. For instance, a backlink from a webpage that is relevant to your own site has more value than one that is not.

Building backlinks takes time and research. There are several ways to build backlinks.We’ve listed the most popular methods below:

Link Solicitation

Ask business partners, suppliers, customers, friends, family members, employees, and others in your social circle to link to you from their websites, blogs and from their social media accounts such as, Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, etc.

Link Bait

News: Providing timely information on any subject that might be related to your business or industry.

Information: Publishing white papers and case studies

Contests: People love taking part in these and share with their friends, often across social media outlets such as Facebook

Humor: Publishing funny pictures and videos to attract attention

Controversy: It may attract more people than you think, but be careful of course!

Widgets: Free software or other tools that people will share

Social Bookmarking

Social bookmarking is the concept of adding articles across various social bookmarking websites. The most popular social bookmarking websites today are Delicious, Digg, Reddit and StumbleUpon. Your goal is to make it easy for visitors of your website to promote its’ content. To do this, you should integrate social bookmarks on your website. How it works: displaying the social bookmarking icons near your content makes it easy for visitors to add your link to their preferred social bookmarking site. The more popular your link becomes, the more visibility and value it will get. Make sure to enable the social icons in your store by going to Settings -> Store, and then the Share tab. You can also add extra social icons to your website, which we have several articles about.

Directory Submission

A Directory on the web is kind of like a Yellow Pages listing, only the main reason people use directories is to accumulate backlinks. There are many different directories, some may be directly related to your industry however most directories such as Yahoo Directory and Open Directory list all kinds of sites, which are categorized by subject matter. Before you submit your site to a directory, you should make sure that you prepare a clear title and description for your business that is keyword optimized.

Another thing to consider is that not all directories are legitimate; some may not pass link value to your website. To check it, do the following:

Visit a directory that allows website submission.

View its Source by clicking “View” tab of the main menu and selecting “Source.”
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Make sure the links don’t have a “nofollow” attribute. If they do have this attribute, a link added to this directory will not add page rank value to your website.

Here is an example of what you don’t want:

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One more thing to consider is the category in which you submit your website to a directory. You don’t want to submit your site to a category that already has hundreds of other pages added because the relevance of that page is divided between all those pages and won’t account for much, so be creative if possible when choosing your category.

Submitting Articles

Article directories, as the name suggests, allow users to submit articles. In return for allowing the directory to publish your article on their website you are allowed to place a backlink pointing to your website. We recommend trying to write guest articles not only on directories but on other websites and blogs as well.

Adding Blog Comments

Find blog sites that are relevant to your website. For instance, if your website is about travel, make sure that you leave comments on blogs that talk about travel and include a link to your website. The relevance of your backlinks will help increase your page rank.

A “Post Comment” form typically consists of the following form fields: name, email, website, as depicted below.

Tip: Instead of writing your name, consider using a keyword you are targeting because the name field will be used as the anchor text for your backlink.

Posting on Forums

Posting on forums is similar to the concept of submitting articles and commenting on blogs. Add your signature with your URL to each post that you add on a forum. It is important to understand that as with blogs and directories, some forums do not allow posting of URLs, while others add a “nofollow” attributes to the link. Make sure you post on forums that are relevant to your website. Otherwise, your link building strategy may appear spammy.
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Drew N, Community Manager

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Posted 6 years ago

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