Google (aka controller of the Internet) loves incoming links, but the trick is they must be high-quality and relevant. Don’t squander your time (or a perfectly good link) on smaller low-traffic sites. Go after sites, blogs and online magazines and offer them an original article, or comment on their blog postings. Good sites should have a PR (PageRank) of 4 or above depending on the market. You can find out what a site’s PageRank is by downloading the Google toolbar, which comes with a PR feature built in. All of these links will get spidered in Google—and voila! Welcome to the wild world of SEO.
About Outbound Links and Resource Pages
It’s true that outbound links do not help much when it comes to SEO, but they are still a good thing. Here’s why: search engines are looking to see if you are offering something of value on your site. Chances are if you offer outbound links, Google will see that as a good thing. Every little bit helps.
A good place to have outbound links is on a resource page. Just be sure the links open in a new window so you do not lose your visitor. And be careful not to send them away from your index page.
Resource pages are also a great way to give your visitors added value, as long as the links indeed offer something useful. Also, remember to check your site for broken links at least once a month. Broken links affect how search engines index your site and can hurt your PageRank. Here’s a free tool to check for broken links: www.brokenlinkcheck.com/. Your webmaster should run regular tests as well.
Start an email newsletter. While it may not seem like this would drive traffic to your site, you’d be surprised at the effectiveness of this type of promotion. If your newsletter (like your articles) is interesting and relevant to your audience, you’ll find that it has a huge pass-through factor, meaning that it is passed from one email subscriber to another. Also, if you have an email newsletter you should never, ever go to a single event without your handy signup sheet. Yes, you can even use offline events to drive traffic to your website. I will talk more about newsletters in a later chapter, but know that for driving more traffic to your site, it’s a winner.
If you’re ever quoted in a magazine or other publication, make sure to mention your URL when it’s appropriate to the topic. Don’t be too pushy about this, but remember to tell folks you have a website that may be a great resource for the topic of your interview.
Add a signature line to your email promoting your product, service, book and website. And speaking of your email signature line…do you have one? If you don’t, create one. Believe it or not, people do follow these links. You’ll be amazed how many folks read email signatures. I have one and change it several times a year, depending on what we’re doing or promoting or what books I have coming out.
Make sure you know your traffic numbers—how many people are visiting your site—before you launch into any Internet marketing campaign. You want to know this so you can gauge a before and after view of your marketing efforts.
The Human Touch
It used to be that search engines like Google used algorithms to determine the relevance of your site’s content. Consequently, it has been an uphill battle to determine what they place the most importance on and how to get your name higher in the ranking. This trend is slowly changing, with search engines moving to a hands-on approach that integrates a human editorial process. What this means is that offering valuable content will increase your ranking: the more value your site offers your client, the more kudos you will get from Google. Don’t be afraid to give things away, including information. Remember this: Google wants their customer—the searcher—to have the best experience. That means the searchers must find what they are looking for. If your site provides a great experience for the searcher, he or she will be back and Google will see that. Thus, you will be ranked higher and higher.