Search engines decide whether a certain website will succeed or fail. If you aspire to run a successful online enterprise, you’ll need to achieve high rankings for each of your primary key words.

One way that you can encourage additional traffic and boost the strength, and thus the search engine ranking, of your site is through link building. It may be time consuming, it may not be an exact science but it certainly can get results.

The fundamental key to link building is the creation of inward bound links to your site. Not just a couple either, but hundreds, maybe even thousands of them. The time consuming element rears its head when you have to choose where you’d like your new links to come from and how you can encourage others to market your site.

The easiest place to start is within the directories. There are literally thousands out there, all serving a slightly different purpose but with the same underlying goal, to provide useful links to relevant sites. Business networking sites like LinkedIn are a great place to start. You can even edit your links to included key terms – more on this in a moment – and can build a community around your business. Likewise most search engines provide a valuable directory service; although these tend to cost, they do provide an extremely strong link for your site.

Also look for industry and location specific directories. It’s a great opportunity to gain a name in your field, boost your linking profile and gain targeted direct traffic.

But directories aren’t, or shouldn’t be, your only focus. In order to have an effective link building strategy, you need to incorporate numerous strands of link building and converge them together to point at your site. You also don’t just want everything going to your homepage or, for that matter, any other single page on the site. Spread it out, get links into all of your key pages – where appropriate of course – as this deep linking will ultimately provide strength throughout.

To get the best out of your link strategy, you really need to ensure that your links are coming from far and wide. You don’t want 90% coming from a single source, purely because this won’t add the strength that could otherwise be attained. Equally, you also want to try to get links sites that have a high PageRank – or at least a higher rank than your own – as this will further benefit you. Thousands of low ranking sites can potentially only have the same effect as one quality link. Therefore the authority of a link is more important than sheer volume, although both will ultimately help.

Writing and distributing articles can be a great source of links. Once again the benefits are manifold, with direct traffic, links from the article submission directory and additional links appearing as a result of your work being syndicated to other blogs and websites.

You can attract visitors to your site with good quality unique content too. Whatever sector you’re in, your company can bring in searchers by providing something new and different. Whether it’s a well-written blog post full of talking points or a free piece of software, people will be far more inclined to link to it; which of course will then help your link building strategy and online reputation.

Where possible you need to ensure that your links use key terms within the anchor text. Simply gaining a link using your company name or an on-page URL will provide some benefit, but to fully optimise it the text needs to be relevant. The reason behind this is that you’ll be able to give your website pages extra prominence for your terms if another site has linked into it using your keyword tag as the anchor. Of course not all websites will allow this, but it’s certainly worth enquiring.

Above all links are one of the most important aspects in the development of your site’s strength. It’s an integral process in search engine optimisation and should be treated as such. You can’t afford to leave your link building to chance, so to boost your search engine rankings you need to have defined and implemented your strategy. It’s an ongoing process, it isn’t always quick to do but the long-term benefits of link building are unparalleled.

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