Let's talk about links. Do you mind? If you've tried to get your website to rank well in the search engines then you probably already know that links are important. It's important for your website to be a good member of the internet community, which means both linking to other websites as well as having links to your website from other websites.

A good mix of both incoming and outgoing links is important, although some would say that incoming links are by far more important than outgoing links. And others will say that you will absolutely not be found in the search engines for your website's topic unless you have incoming links to your website. That's all fine and dandy, but how do you get links to your website?

First, start with submitting your website to the appropriate categories in the major directories like DMOZ.org, the Yahoo! Directory, and even Business.com.

There are more specific topic-related directories for just about every topic, so searching for an "automotive directory" at your favorite search engine would be appropriate if your site is about cars. You can go to your favorite search engine and search on the keyword phrase, or phrases, most relevant to your web site. Then go to the "Search within results" feature (available on Google) and type in "add URL". This will get you a list of all the sites that are indexed for your keyword phrase and who offer and encourage reciprocal links.

Based on my recent testing and opinions from other SEOs that I respect in this industry, reciprocal links are still being counted as links by the search engines (i.e., link credit is being passed to both sites). There's been rumors floating around that reciprocal links aren't being credited, but as it stands now that's not the case.

There are other types of searches that can be done that will help you find links. I've been adding to this list for a while now, as people keep giving me more and more ways to find links. Here's a few of my favorite searches. Replace "your keywords" with words that your site is targeting.

"Suggest link" +"your keyword(s)"
"Suggest a link" +"your keyword(s)"
"Suggest site" + "your keyword(s)"
"Suggest a site" + "your keyword(s)"
"Suggest URL" +"your keyword(s)"
"Suggest a URL" +"your keyword(s)"
"Suggest an URL" +"your keyword(s)"
"Add link" +"your keyword(s)"
"Add a link" +"your keyword(s)"
"Add site" +"your keyword(s)"
"Add a site" +"your keyword(s)"
"Add URL" +"your keyword(s)"
"Add a URL" +"your keyword(s)"
"Add an URL" +"your keyword(s)"
"Submit link" +"your keyword(s)"
"Submit a link" +"your keyword(s)"
"Submit site" +"your keyword(s)"
"Submit a site" +"your keyword(s)"
"Submit URL" +"your keyword(s)"
"Submit a URL" +"your keyword(s)"
"Submit an URL" +"your keyword(s)"
"favorite links" +"your keyword(s)"
"recommended links" +"your keyword(s)"
"cool sites" +"your keyword(s)"
"cool places" +"your keyword(s)"
reciprocal +"your keyword(s)"
directory +"your keyword(s)"
directorys +"your keyword(s)"
directories +"your keyword(s)"
exchange +"your keyword(s)"
resources +"your keyword(s)"
links +"your keyword(s)"
"your location" +"add url"
"your location" +"suggest a site"
"your location" +"submit site"
"your location" +links
"your location" +"reciprocal links"
"your location" +directory

Links to websites from guestbooks and blogs are still working for some websites, but it really depends on the search engine. Google has recently developed technology that allows them to discount (or ignore) links from guestbooks and blog websites, and based on my recent findings I'm seeing evidence of Google starting to discount these types of links to websites.

Yahoo!/Inktomi and the new MSN Search Beta do not discount links to websites from blogs and guestbooks. So, those websites that have automated programs to get links from guestbooks and blog websites are currently winning the ranking wars at Yahoo!, MSN, and the MSN Search Beta.

At most search engines, you have the ability to check the links that a website (or URL, for that matter) has going to it--those in the industry call it 'checking the backlinks' to a website.

Google doesn't show all the backlinks to a website, and I believe they do that on purpose because their search engine algorithm relies so heavily on links. So, to get the most accurate count of the real backlinks that a website has you must use another search engine. Yahoo! shows a fairly accurate count of backlinks. However, due to the heavy spidering activity of MSNbot, the new MSN Search Beta (http://beta.search.msn.com) provides the most accurate view of a website's backlinks.

Checking backlinks in Google (search for the following):

Checking backlinks in Yahoo!:

Checking backlinks in MSN Search Beta:

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January 13, 2005

Bill Hartzer currently runs a Strategic Online Marketing Consultancy that includes services such as search engine optimization, social media marketing, and online reputation management.

Bill Hartzer formerly managed the Search Engine Marketing division of Vizion Interactive and MarketNet, leading interactive marketing and website design firms in the Dallas, Texas area.

Hartzer is a successful writer, blogger, search engine marketing, and social media marketing expert. During the past fifteen years, some of his many accomplishments include: Search Engine Marketing Manager, Vizion Interactive, Search Engine Marketing Manager, MarketNet, Search Engine Optimization Strategist, Intec Telecom Systems PLC, Webmaster, Intec Telecom Systems PLC, Founder, Dallas/Fort Worth Search Engine Marketing Association, Owner/Author, Corporate Web Site Marketing, Administrator, Search Engine Forums, Frequent Speaker, Search Engine Strategies Conferences, Frequent Speaker, WebmasterWorld's PubCon Search Engine and Internet Marketing Conference.

Search Engine Guide > Bill Hartzer > Let's Talk About Links