With so much talk about search engines putting a damper on direct reciprocal links, hunt for elusive one-way inbound link is on.
As someone who works with small business website owners, I've heard just about every inbound-linking scheme there is. In end, I've only seen five strategies that really work consistently for getting hundreds of links.
Less Effective One-Way Link Strategies
Yet there's perennial interest in alternative linking strategies. They range from bad to OK, but none offer as much potential as five major ways of getting links.
* Link farms never seem to die. The latest variations try to pass themselves off as viral marketing, but are really a sort of endless pyramid scheme: you link to me, so I link to someone else, who links to someone else, and on and on down line. Link farms can get you delisted from search engine indexes, so don't even try them.
* Affiliates can provide you with one-way inbound links if you use affiliate software that links directly to your site rather than through a redirect. But many, many affiliates are now placing all their affiliate links in redirects of their own invention, to help protect their commissions from pirates who will simply apply to program themselves to get a discount.
* Posting to web forums and blogs regularly will get you one-way inbound links, but they'll only have search-engine value a small percentage of time. Many blogs and bulletin boards use search-engine-unfriendly dynamic file formats, automatically encase links in script, or use robot instructions to prevent spiders from following links.
* Many one-way inbound linking strategies fall into great-if-you-are-lucky-enough-to-get-it category, such as winning a web award or being featured on a high-PageRank website just for being so great.
* Other one-way incoming link strategies are in this-will-take-forever-to-get-anywhere category, such as offering to provide testimonials to all your vendors in exchange for a link to your site. (Hint: If you can get more than twenty links that way, you probably need to simplify your supply chain.)
Now, on to five major ways of getting large numbers of one-way inbound links. Some are better than others, but they all have more potential than some of more madcapped strategies. Of course, none is a good strategy all on its own. You have to understand all five strategies in order to really gain a distinct advantage in one-way link hunt.
1. Waiting for Inbound Links
If you have good content you will eventually get one-way inbound links naturally, without asking. Organic, freely given links are an essential part of any SEO strategy. But you cannot rely on them, for two reasons:
* Unfortunately, "eventually" can be a very long time.
* Worse, there is a vicious cycle: you can't get search engine traffic, or other non-paid traffic, without inbound links; yet without inbound links or search engine traffic, how is anyone going to find you to give you inbound links?
2. Triangulating for Inbound Links
Search engines will have a tough time dampening reciprocal links if reciprocation is not direct. To get links to one website you offer in exchange a link from another website you also control. This would seem to be a mostly foolproof way of defeating link-dampening ambitions of Google and rest. If you have more than one website, you probably are already employing this linking method. There are only a few drawbacks:
* You need to have more than one website in same general category of interest or links won't be relevant.
* The work required to set up this kind of arrangement and verify compliance is not insignificant. The process cannot be automated to same extent as direct one-to-one reciprocal linking.