Link building is one of the least understood areas of search engine marketing for small businesses. Site owners know they need to build links, but they often don't know how. Many turn to reciprocal links or article writing because it seems like an easy (yet annoying) way to build links. In reality, building links doesn't need to be difficult. It's often simply another creative form of marketing. That's the message Debra Mastaler aims to get across in an excellent interview with Aaron Wall of SEO Book.

Debra comes at link building from the same school of thought I do. Basically, she teaches that building links is about having a solid marketing plan. The link are the results of proper (and incentivized) market outreach. That said, Debra's been doing this since the early days of search engine optimization and she's never failed to wow me with the ideas and suggestions she has to offer.

Her interview with Aaron is no different. From when and how to reciprocal link to how to value a directory listing, Debra offers up sage advice on buiding your site's link profile. She also weighs in on buying links, anchor text and how fast or slowly to build links.

Here's a snippet:

What are 3 of the easiest things a webmaster can do to improve their site credibility and linkability?

There are hundreds but since you asked for 3 of the easiest, here's what I do:

  1. Survey your customers and ask what they'd like to see on the site and then give it to them. Once you've upgraded the site, ask the same customers to link to it.
  2. Add an incentivized "link to us" request in all correspondence (auto responders, confirmation emails, reminders etc). Make the incentive a bounce back to stimulate further sales.
  3. Develop a fully functional resource center. Include all the information about your company and your industry you'd expect to find in an encyclopedia and then add photos, videos and podcasts. Look up what's been written about your company by others and include that as well. Alert those authors and the media once the resource center is up and running.

I've been doing the last one since I started in this business; I call it building a "link library" on your site. It's a corny old term but it's the most effective linking attraction tactic I use.

Make sure you take the time to read the full link building interview at SEO Book. Then sit down and figure out what link building plan you can put into place next week. You can also catch Debra's link building advice here on Search Engine Guide.

September 10, 2007

Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.


These are three great tips to get people started. I completely agree with notion of starting wth a plan!

Jennifer, excellent information especially surveying customers for the information they want and then giving it to them. We also have link libraries on our websites. We use to manage our exit links and we link to all sorts of content that benefits our end users. we only link exchange when the link is quality and relevant for our end users.

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Search Engine Guide > Jennifer Laycock > Debra Mastaler Serves up Some Appetizing Link Advice