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19 Jan 2008

Link Building Campaigns That Work

You may have tried link building campaigns in the past and been disappointed in the results. Perhaps you got barely a blip in the major search engines or you saw your rank rise only to fall a few months later. Whatever the reasons for your disappointment, it’s a good bet that the main reason you were disappointed in the results is that whatever link building tactics you used or paid for lacked two important qualities: balance and consistency.

The Importance of Balance in Link Building

Some people advocate the importance of content-rich websites, others focus on blogs and still others will insist that directories are the most important link building campaign features. The truth is never as simple as some people try to make it. It can seem like blogs are the place to link one month, and then be out of fashion just a few months later, with forums replacing them as the Holy Grail for link building.

The truth is, all of the many places you can link to and from (with the exception of unsavory linking sites that are tantamount to spam) are important to provide you a balance of coverage in your link building campaigns. Search engines are constantly changing, growing and evolving. They become more complex, develop new algorithms and morph so that you can’t ever keep up with how they are weighing the relative importance of any one kind of link, so you shouldn’t even try.

The solution is to balance your link building strategies for the greatest possible coverage over a multitude of formats. If you do this, you’ll find that you are always hitting on multiple cylinders. Although you might not be getting great results from every single link strategy, you’ll be getting pretty good ranking from several of them. It’s like playing a good point spread – coverage is key.

A good link building campaign with optimal coverage will include all of these:
• Directories with real editors. Well-known directories that are always updating and actually review the links are a hot destination for many industries.
• Forums. Links to your site from various forums provide dynamic attention for you – forums are the equivalent of the water cooler – the site where the latest and most interesting topics come up. Be present at the virtual water cooler and you’ll be talked about – and linked to.
• Article directories. Submit relevant, informative articles to directories to easily multiply your links. These article directories are used by others to provide content for everything from newsletters to special reports – if your content is good, you’ll quickly become a recognized expert.
• Reciprocal links. Provide links to sites that compliment what you are offering and ask that they link to you. Similar sites that aren’t direct competitors are powerful link partners.
• Contextual links in blogs and reviews. Another instance of the power of the people – reviewers drive people to sites because they are recognized as experts, so try and get reviewed and be sure a link to your site is included. Some people won’t even know they need you until they read a great blog about you –and then they will hot-foot it to your site for more information.

If you use a good mix of link building techniques, you’ll be balancing your exposure over all of the many kinds of linking that the major search engines use so that you’re always noticed without the risk of falling down in the ranks because one particular link strategy is out of favor.

Why Consistency is Key

Many individuals start out in overdrive when they start a linking campaign. They submit to dozens of industry directories, pack their website and article directories with great content, get noticed on blogs and in reviews, set up links on complimentary sites and enjoy the fruits of their labor – top rankings.

Then something happens; they find that they just don’t have the time to continue writing articles, they stop visiting blogs because they are overwhelmed with new customers….and they stop building links or slow down considerably. Unfortunately, they discover that they are now dropping in the search engine rankings and they can’t understand it. After all, nothing’s changed, right?

Actually, that’s precisely the point – nothing is changing. If you stop actively creating links and building a following, you will fall in the rankings because your competitors are actively building links, adding content and quietly passing you in popularity. The search engines are dynamic, so you can’t afford not being dynamic yourself – you have to consistently build on what you started in order to stay ahead of the pack. It’s a long-term commitment that you have to make if you don’t want to lose in the long run.

The perfect link building campaign is a combination of balance and consistency. If you continue to spread your links out over many venues and keep the content and information flowing every month, you’ll be successful in building a valuable network of links that will send you to the top of the pages.

[tags] link building, link popularity, directories, article marketing, contextual links, forums [/tags]