To become a link building expert you need to master several techniques, from choosing link keywords to building relationships with other bloggers. We previously published an extensive link building tutorial if you need to brush up on your skills before reaching expert status.
Here’s a quick review of those key techniques for experts and novices alike:
Small Focus, Big Reach
Only large corporations have any chance of dominating an entire market, so most webmasters reading this article choose to stay within in one niche market. But staying within your niche can be difficult—it’s always tempting to talk about things that don’t matter to your core readers.
A link building expert knows how to stay focused, and the proof of that can be seen in links to his or her site. If every link has a different keyword, search engines can’t determine the site’s niche.
But if most links to the site use the same half-dozen or so keywords, search engines will know exactly what traffic to direct to the site. A link building expert helps search engines send readers to their site.
The Whitehat Link Building Expert
There are a number of link building techniques which try to fool search engines. The most popular of these techniques do fool search engines—for a time. But search engines such as Google often come down hard on sites they think are trying to fool them.
The link building expert knows that the small short-term gain from illicit link building techniques isn’t worth the long-term damage search engines exact in revenge.
The list of allowed and prohibited techniques varies between search engines, and today’s allowed techniques may be banned tomorrow, so a link building expert should follow one simple rule: always make your link building help someone else.
Sites which promote themselves at the expense of other sites will eventually find themselves marginalized by the search engines.
Get Your Audience Working For You
A link building expert’s best asset is his or her audience. These are the people who care about you or your audience, and they will often donate time, space, and energy to promoting your brand—so use them.
There are many strategies which can help you get your audience involved. Don’t ignore any of them (as long as they’re legitimate).
But whenever you use your audience, make sure you reward them. I always use the old “tempt and reward” method: tempt your audience into taking an action and then reward them for that action. For example, ask them to leave a comment at the end of a blog post—and then respond to every comment someone leaves.
Make Friends With Other Webmasters
You probably aren’t the only person in your niche—and if you are, there are probably people working on related niches. Instead of treating these people as competitors, make them friends.
One of the best ways to make friends in the niche website business is by becoming link partners. Modern search engines think not just in pagerank but also in pagerank within a niche—so the most valuable link you can get to your site is a link from another site very similar to yours.
Search engines see links from similar sites as expert recommendations—nobody knows your niche better than the people in it, so if someone links to you, it’s great proof that you’re not a scammer.
But link partners do more than just share links—they also make frequent reference to each other in their blogs and other media, helping what could otherwise be two separate audiences merge into a single audience shared between two sites. One site that kindly links to me out of the blue is Traffic Generation Cafe.
Sharing your audience may sound like a bad idea to you, but to the link building expert it’s a gold mine—it’s a chance to possibly double the traffic for just a few minutes of work, and building traffic is the job of a link building expert.
Automate Link Building
One skill the link building expert masters is automatic link building. For example, consider the typical guest post—you have to email another site, they have to agree to the guest post, you have to write the post, and they have to post it.
But once you’ve built that relationship with that other site, why not automate your guest post? Offer to send them a new post every two months. They can just grab your story and run it. There’s no extra emails involved, no waiting for them to reply to you, and very little chance of rejection.
Another link building expert trick is link monitoring. Most people know they can use Google Search to find which sites link to them. For that matter, you can also use Technorati and other sites to monitor incoming links.
If you are smart and using WordPress for your website, you will be able to see your incoming links in the dashboard. See the screenshot below.
But many link building novices skip an important step—acknowledging incoming links. When someone links to your site, consider thanking them or linking back to them from your site.
Acknowledging people helps make them fans of yours, and that will encourage them to link to you again or help promote your brand to other people.
A Final Word Of Advice
But remember that a link building expert never tries to abuse the link system. Every link must increase the value of information on the Web—it must help someone besides you.
If you find yourself making comments just to get a link back or uploading lame YouTube videos just to insert a link, take a moment to consider what a real link building expert would do.