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Inbound Links – Why the Big Fuss?

The importance of inbound links for websites is much talked about and a lot of time and effort is devoted to creating them. So why the big fuss? Well an inbound link is created when an external website creates a link to your website. These links are highly desirable because they improve your website ranking in organic searches.

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Inbound links carry weight with the search engines because they are seen as endorsements of your site. The more endorsements your website has, the more notice the search engines take, and the higher up the search results your website will go. These inbound links tell the search engines that you have a popular, high quality website. If a website from an industry leader creates a link to your website, this is something to be rightly proud of. Google has already identified the industry leader website as an authority in their field – in part because they already have a high number of inbound links of their own – and now they are giving their approval to you.

Google and other search engines are determined to provide the most relevant results to any internet search, and if your website has a lot of support via inbound links, they conclude that your content is valuable and worth putting towards the top of the results. It is therefore essential to include inbound link creation in your website search engine optimization (SEO) strategy if you want to improve the chances of people finding your website.

Here are some simple tips about creating great quality inbound links, which SEO experts can effectively implement for you:

Create Outstanding Content.
This is the fundamental requirement for generating inbound links. External websites link back to yours because they like your content and want to share it with their readers. This will never happen if you don’t have excellent, interesting content, which is perfectly written and above all, engaging and different from the rest. So make your content worth sharing with others.
Your content may take the form of informative web pages, articles, blogs, white papers, e-books, videos and press releases. Tap into each and every one of these options to create more opportunities to generate inbound links.

Define Your Target Market.
You understand your key target market and you need to determine where to post your content to get the most interaction with others. If your target market is younger, then YouTube and other social media are a must; if you are issuing highbrow articles for a scientific or technological audience, then post to appropriate directories or forums.

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Promote Your Compelling Content.
You need to get your compelling content in front of as many people as possible in the hope that some will like it, share it and thus form links back to your website. Every time you promote your content via the channels listed below, don’t forget to include a link back to your website or you will not be building inbound links, merely entertaining your audience:

• Post information and articles on directories
• Post videos on YouTube
• Write interesting blogs, articles and white papers and post them on your website and social media pages
• Contribute to active forums and include an inbound link to your website in your signature (so long as it complies with the rules of the forum)
• Issue e-shots and e-newsletters to your database and post on your social media pages
• When you have something newsworthy to say, issue press releases to relevant media

Make Content Easy To Link.
When someone is inspired by your content, make it easy for them to share. Add your social media buttons to your post such as a Twitter ‘re-tweet’, a Facebook ‘like’, a Pinterest ‘pin it’ or a LinkedIn ‘share’. Put them clearly at the top of the post – easy to see and easy to click. The more your posts are shared socially, the more visibility they will have in the search engines and hence more opportunity for your posts to be linked to from others’ websites.
Also remember that people as a whole respond well when given direction. If your post specifically asks them to share, then more of them will do so. The more shares you receive, the more inbound links can be generated. Additionally more people will see your post, take a peek and hopefully click through to your website.
Interact With Your Audience. You’ve asked your readers to share or promote your post, and if they have taken time out to comment on your post, make sure you respond to their thoughts. Hopefully it will be positive and encouraging, but when you have opted for more controversial content, some may strongly disagree. But don’t ignore them. Go back to them and discuss their point of view. This is the name of the game with social sharing.
Monitor. Not all of these avenues will create an inbound link: if your press release is overlooked then no inbound link for you; if it is picked up by the media, you could have a number of great, useful links back to your website. Monitor your new website visitors by using analytics such as Hubspot’s Sources Report and the Link Grader tool and see if you have increases in organic search traffic due to referring link traffic.

A Final Word About Inbound Links.
While it is important to have as many inbound links as possible it is essential that they are good quality links. Links deemed as spammy or poor quality will actually have an adverse effect on your search engine rankings.

Matt Cutts, head of webspam at Google has plenty to say about cheater’s inbound links and as Google still dominates the search engine charts, it’s wise to listen to what he has to say. In the Google Webmaster Guidelines, it’s quite clear that Google will not tolerate link schemes – where a webmaster tries to manipulate their website rankings by using paid-for links, excessive link exchanging, and building partner pages just to create cross links. Google will see these as link spam and if excessive, will lose its trust in the website. And that, of course, means that your website will be pushed far down the result rankings.
There clearly is a well-deserved fuss over inbound links and you should strive to generate as many good quality links from reputable websites as possible. The main message is to generate compelling content and with some dedication to promoting your content via numerous channels, the chances of getting those highly desired inbound links will skyrocket.

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