If you’ve optimized your content, but you still aren’t getting the search rankings you expect, perhaps your problem is a shortage of quality links. Links are critical in helping search engines determine the quality of your page’s content—if many credible sites link to your page, then your page is considered credible too. Search engines rank those pages higher.
So, how do you attract those links? You may have heard that some sites actually pay other sites to link to them, but that is not the skinflint way!
So how can you attract links on the cheap? The short answer is to make your pages the kind of pages that other sites want to link to. If you offer valuable information or tools and you publicize them, your site will be found and the quality of your content will be rewarded. But the longer answer is that you have to ask. Ask other businesses that you have a relationship with (suppliers, partners, and even customers). Ask Webmasters of other sites that have related content, but are not your competitors. Reciprocal links connect to someone else’s site in exchange for a link back to yours. Even better are one-way links, where you get a link to your page without having to link back.
When you start requesting links, you are running a link-building campaign. Starting a link-building campaign is relatively easy. The first thing to do is to perform a link audit of your site, where you analyze the links coming to each page. You can do that by hand, but it is incredibly time-consuming. You really need an automated link analyzer, which can cost hundreds of dollars. Fortunately, there are a few free tools available:
- Backlinkwatch. Analyze all of the links to your site with this free service. It takes a while to do its thing, but what do you want for nothing?
- PRWeaver beta. This new entrant is still in beta and could be the real skinflint sleeper of the group. At some point you will have to pay up to keep using it, but PRWeaver is a full-function Google link analyzer that will serve you well in the meantime.
These free tools can help you audit your links, and Zeus can even keep track of link requests that you have underway. That capability is important, because you’ll quickly find that the management of link-building campaigns can grow overwhelming. If you are simultaneously sending requests to dozens of Webmasters (or even hundreds for large sites), you don’t want to annoy someone by asking twice. Similarly, you don’t want to drop the ball, by failing to follow up when someone forgets to respond. Zeus is the only free tool that provides this larger management function, but is limited to 50 groups of related sites.
Skinflints can and do succeed in search marketing. It requires hard work and flawless execution, but if you don’t have the budget to buy fancy tools, you can still succeed.
Want more tips to raise your Internet marketing success? Check out Search Engine Marketing, Inc., which contains a complete step-by-step program for successful search marketing for your business. For more ways to improve your overall Internet marketing, take a look at Do It Wrong Quickly, an indispensable guide to the new ways of marketing on the cheap.