A linking campaign is a necessary step in the overall success of your web site. You can put up a web site, have great web design, and have great content; but without other web sites linking to your web site no one will know about it. Furthermore, the search engines rely on links in order to find new web sites and new web pages. A proper linking campaign will not only increase your web site' s online visibility and traffic, it will allow the search engines to find your site and help your web site get indexed.

Back in the early 1990s, when there were no search engines (way before Google even existed), we "surfed" the web. We relied on other web sites that had "link lists" that pointed to other web sites that were "worthy enough" of being linked-to or were simply recommended. When we "surfed" the web we went from one web site to another to another based on links. And if you had a good web site you could typically get links from other web sites that would ultimately bring you more "hits".

Great Content

Your web site' s content is ultimately responsible for it ability or inability to get links from other web sites. If your web site has no content or has bad content then there's not much of a chance that someone who owns another web site will link to your web site. If you have great content on your web site then you have the potential to get links from other web sites you just have to tell everyone that your web site exists so they'll take a look at it and hopefully link to it or recommend it to others.

What is great content? In my opinion, great content is anything that people will link to with what I call an "unsolicited link". An "unsolicited link" is when someone recommends your web site or its content by writing an article about it, mentioning it in their blog, or just adding a link to your web site without you having to ask them for the link. For example, many of the outgoing links (links to external web sites) that are in the Wikipedia online encyclopedia are unsolicited links people have created entries about certain subjects. To provide others with additional information about that subject Wikipedia entries typically include what they call "external links" at the bottom of certain entries. Hydroseeding is one example in particular. "Hydroseeding (or hydromulching) is a planting process which utilizes a slurry of seed and mulch", planting process for establishing new grass where they "spray" a slurry of seed and mulch onto the dirt. In this Wikipedia entry, they include external links to TurfMaker's lengthy description of the process. TurfMaker, a manufacturer of hydroseeders, has included a lot of great information on their web site about the process which is great "link bait". A Wikipedia link is a very valuable thing to have, as it's a human-edited unbiased source of content. Link bait is essentially something that will entice someone to link to your web site without you having to ask for it link bait will help you catch unsolicited links. TurfMaker's definition of the process, included on their web site, is great content and great link bait.

Additional examples if great content or "link bait" would include content that stirs emotion. If someone loves it, hates it, or has an opinion about your content, they'll link to it with an unsolicited link. People often link to rich media content that's informative, humorous, or silly. An example of this would be the Subservient Chicken, a rich-media web site that was created by Burger King. So many web sites link to that web site that it continues to rank very well for the phrase "chicken". Burger King created the web site and people linked to it naturally with unsolicited links. Other examples of great "link bait" content would be the TurfMaker definition described above and content such as dictionaries, glossaries, blogs, or news related to your industry. Great content is just the beginning of a linking campaign other web sites must have a reason to link to your web site. Give them a reason and they'll hopefully link to your web site, making it easier to use the other parts of performing a linking campaign I'll describe in just a moment.

Coming up in part two, I'll look at internal and external linking as well as sharing some tips on the best ways to start finding sites to request links from.

Discuss this article in the Small Business Ideas forum.

April 28, 2006

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 > Linking Campaigns Lead to Increased Online Visibility - Part 1