Article of the Month
Building For Higher
Search Engine Positioning
By Dave Davies
Beanstalk Search Engine Positioning, Inc.
It's no SEO secret that inbound links to your site are an important part of any complete search engine positioning strategy. You've undoubtedly received numerous emails touting the benefits of exchanging links with other websites. Provided that the sites are related, reciprocal linking can definitely help you in your quest for higher rankings, however, establishing quality non-reciprocal links to your website will provide added weight and many of the tactics used in developing these links have built-in relevancy.
There are two main advantages to non-reciprocal links as opposed to reciprocal links. The first is that these links will hold more weight, as they aren't reciprocated (the search engines can detect whether links are reciprocal). The second advantage is that they don't have to be monitored as closely as reciprocal links. With reciprocal links one has to be aware of unethical webmasters who will take links down or use other tactics to insure that the search engines don't see the links pages. You have to be aware of these events so that you can remove their links from your site if warranted. With non-reciprocal links, however, you don't have to be as concerned since you're not linking to them.
These are far from the only benefits of non-reciprocal link building but they are two of the most beneficial for your site and for you as its webmaster. But how do you get something for nothing? Why would someone want to link to you in exchange for no links back? Keep in mind the acronym TANSTAAFL (There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch). In short, you're not going to get something for nothing but it's well worth the "something" you'll have to put in.
So non-reciprocal links are beneficial to your search engine positioning campaign... but how do you do it? There are a number of tactics that will work. Here are a few of the more successful:
Write Good Content
It's shocking, but some people will actually link to your site because it is a valuable resource that their visitors may find interesting or useful. The search engines initially gave incoming links value based on the belief that sites with incoming links tended to be sites that others find worth linking to. People actually linked to sites simply because they found the content useful. Believe it or not this practice still exists today. If you have a quality site with great content, preferably updated regularly, others in your industry should naturally link to you. It's also appropriate to ask other webmasters to link to your site either through direct contact or by posting a page on your site, which provides images and/or link details. If you get even one link out of your efforts it was worth the 5 or so minutes it should take to put up the page.
If you're willing to invest a bit of time and money, directory listings are probably the easiest way to get non-reciprocal links. Provided that your site has some value to it and is not offensive, most directories will list it although there is usually a "review fee" involved.
There are the well know directories such as the Yahoo! Directory. You may find, however, that the price tag for a guaranteed review from Yahoo! at $299 is a bit more than you wanted to spend for a single listing. Another "major player" in the directory world is the Open Directory Project (or DMOZ) , but you may find that with volunteer editors, your site can take many months to get listed, if at all.
Fortunately there are many "secondary" directories and there are also literally thousands of topic-specific directories that can provide valuable listings. In fact, topic-specific directory listings can in many ways be considered more valuable in that the link to your site is entirely relevant. You should also get some quality targeted traffic from your listing provided that the directory itself ranks well.
How much you should pay for a specific listing is debatable depending on the industry, the value of the link, etc. However, in the majority of cases, topical directory listings are usually somewhere around $30-$100/yr . If your link will be placed on a page with a good PageRank and with fewer than 50 or so other sites it is worth considering.
As you're reading this article you should certainly be able to infer that I personally am a fan of writing articles as a form of non-reciprocal link building. Articles provide perhaps the best of all worlds in that they provide valuable and entirely relevant links and also can be a great source of targeted traffic.
That said, articles are also the most time consuming of link building efforts. One must consider the time it takes to write the article, find sites to publish it and to submit it to all of these sites. As a tip, when you find sites you wish to submit your article to, add them to a folder in your "Favorites" (or "Bookmarks" for those of us using Firefox). If you decide to publish more articles in the future (and you probably will) it's certainly helpful to start with a list of the places you're submitting to rather than having to find them all again down the road.
When you're writing your article there are a few considerations that you should take into account. One of the biggest benefits of articles as a link building strategy is that the links are relevant because they are about the topic of your site. Why not ensure that your titles and content are written such that they add further weight for your targeted keywords. If you look at the title of this article "Non-Reciprocal Link Building For Higher Search Engine Positioning" you'll notice that the phrase "search engine positioning" (our main targeted phrase) is present. Additionally, the phrase is repeated periodically in the content area. This adds relevancy to the article and our targeted phrase. If you look in the credits below you'll notice that the anchor text linking to our site is "Beanstalk Search Engine Positioning" (assuming that the site on which you are reading this article allowed for HTML submissions otherwise the link should simply be the http format). This adds additional relevancy tying that phrase to our site.
Because the Beanstalk website is still in the sandbox on Google it is unable to rank for this highly competitive phrase. You may notice, however, that currently the #11 ranking page is one of our articles. This alone should demonstrate that these articles can pick up relevancy. Once Beanstalk is out of the sandbox on Google we will have many highly relevant links that are strong enough to rank #11 on their own. You can do the same provided that you treat writing your articles the same as your content. It must contain your targeted keywords and it must read well.
You are also going to want to search for many related websites to submit to. You can visit the search engines themselves to find related sites (in our case we would run a search such as "search engine positioning articles submit") or you can use a program like PR Prowler to find the links and also ensure a minimum PageRank on the sites you are submitting to.
If you decide to publish more than one article I would further recommend that you add to your list with each submission. Take a few minutes before you submit and find an additional 5+ sites to submit your articles to. You'll find your link popularity and rankings will reward you for it.
Of course, there are many additional tactics you can use to get non-reciprocal links, including paid links, press releases, etc. However, those noted above are the ones which will produce the most consistently over time and while they can be time consuming, are well worth the effort.
I wish you the very best of luck in developing your non-reciprocal links and in increasing your search engine positioning. It will take time; it will take energy; but done right it can be very rewarding.
About The Author
Dave Davies is the CEO of Beanstalk Search Engine Positioning. He has been optimizing and ranking websites for over three years and has a solid history of success. Dave is available to answer any questions that you may have about your website and how to get it into the top positions on the major search engines. To keep informed about what is going on in the SEO world you may also want to visit the newly created SEO blog on the Beanstalk website.