Like Links? Begin With
by Marcia Yudkin
These days, one of the best
routes to traffic from search engines is posting
substantive content that has value for a
particular audience. Then you want to get that
content linked like heck. Inbound links increase
your chances of rising in the search engine
ranks. When you've chosen an appealing topic,
filled your piece with meaty content and kept
self-promotion to no more than 10 percent of the
file, you should be able to arrange free links
with a lot of effort and no monetary outlay.
Here's how I've done it.
The obvious, head-on type of
link campaign would involve visiting a search
engine, plunking in the keywords that would
index your bait piece and screening the sites
that turn up, selecting those likely to be
receptive to a link request. Best bets:
non-commercial information sites trying to offer
comprehensive links to quality resources in your
topic area. For linking to your bait piece,
forget brochure sites of companies and
professional firms unless they include a sizable
Eliminate Wordiness - Guidelines and Exercises for Practice
Learn how to get your point across in one page or how to satisfy a strict word count for magazine or newsletter editors. Find out how to identify and cut repetition, eliminate excess verbiage, make your point fast and convey a wealth of facts in a small space. My longwinded clients asked for this!
Because this method forces you
to screen out so many poor candidates for links,
I use a more backhanded technique. First I
identify a well-established site or page
containing substantive bait that targets the
very audience I would like to reach. By
"well-established," I mean something
from a respected source that has been on the web
for at least a year - the longer the better.
Then I perform a link search to hone in on sites
that have linked to the well-established site's
For instance, when looking for
sites to link to my resources for freelance
writers, I sifted through sites linking to the
late lamented Inkspot, which predated me on the
web by a couple of years. When looking for link
candidates in the solo professional category for
my marketing and publicity resources, I
performed a link search on predecessor Working
Several of the major search
engines make a link search easy to do. For
example, at Google, if I wanted to find which
sites had linked to the ClickZ Network, I would
You can also use free-standing
services set up for precisely this kind of
search, such as linkpopularity.com, which
provides easy access to the links turned up by
Altavista, Hotbot and Google.
Revamp Your Web
Site For a Better Response
Uncover easily fixable mistakes, quiet
nagging doubts or gain ideas for a major
overhaul with an objective, expert
assessment of what is working well, what
needs repair at your web site and what
it's missing for optimal credibility. More
info on web site reviews.
Now once you've identified
sites you consider likely to add a link to
yours, how should you approach them? I'm not a
big fan of a "you link me, I'll link
you..." overture. To me that implies that
your site lacks intrinsic value and that you
have to add an incentive to become worthy of the
link. Also, you'll often find sites you don't
want to link to (because they're amateur-looking
or contain nothing distinctive, for instance)
but still want links from. Instead, I tell the webmaster
or site owner that I'm writing to tell them
about a new resource on ___ that would make
their list of links even more valuable, or more
If you are creating a master
list of topical links for your own site, it
works well to say that you've linked to them and
would they consider a link in return? This makes
most people curious enough to check your site
and reciprocate where appropriate.
Make sure your link request is
patently personal, a genuine one-to-one message.
And instead of merely providing a URL that you
invite them to check out, provide the title of
your bait piece and say something about its
value to their site visitors. Something in the
format of a press release, or any kind of
carbon-copy message, will definitely not yield
the results you want.
I have to admit that even with
the strategy outlined above, the quest for links
is tedious and slow. Don't even get started with
it unless you feel relaxed, with a long evening
ahead of you. You'll encounter frequent
frustration when you find a perfect link
candidate and comb the site in vain for the webmaster
or site owner's e-mail address - indeed, any
contact information at all.
Above all, remember that links
to your bait piece are not the end in
themselves. You've installed your bait within
your site, so that any inbound link to your
information piece stimulates readers who find it
valuable to explore the rest of your site and
buy your products or sign on as clients. That's
the real goal of all this work!
Copyright 2001 Marcia Yudkin.
All rights reserved.
a book about web site marketing makeovers.
more about web copywriting techniques.
an objective, constructive review of your site.
an annual marketing and publicity plan for your