Link building can be time consuming, frustrating and often confusing. However, link building is a huge part of SEO and necessary for your site to reach top ranks in the search engine results pages. Aren’t familiar with link building? No problem. Read on to learn why link building is important and how you can build links to your site, improve your link popularity and raise your search engine page rank.

Why is increasing links important? When other sites link to your site it directs visitors to it and also shows Google and other search engines that you are a legitimate site that’s worthy of some attention. However, the sites that link to you must be relevant to your site. The other site’s topic must be related to yours otherwise Google will see it as dishonest, black hat SEO or spam.

When you have a significant number of relevant links that lead back to your site, you build your online reputation which in turn, will improve your page rank on the search results pages. Increasing your page rank will allow potential customers to see you, rather than your competition, when they search for certain keywords that are relevant to your business. This will help grow your business and boost your profit. However, the question remains, how do you get relevant sites to link to you? Here are a few things you can do to urge others to link to you.

Create and Maintain a Blog

A blog is a way to write about industry news, engage readers about your business and speak to your customers and potential customers in a conversational tone. When you write a blog, link keywords back to your business’s Web site. The more blog posts you write, the more relevant links are going back to your site. Also when you post great content on your blog, others will come across it and want to link back to what you wrote. Link to other relevant blogs and comment on them to urge those blog owners to view your blog. This increases the chance that they will link back to you.

Submit Your Site to Link Directories

A big part of link building in the SEO world is submitting to link directories. Many link directories are free to submit to and as long as you submit to a relevant category the link directory will accept your request and link to your site. You can also use Craigslist to place a classified ad. Another link building tool is a topical Squidoo page, where you can link to expert documents and other useful tools in your field and also create a link back to your site. You can also submit a story to social bookmarking sites like Digg or Delicious that links to an article on your site. Another easy link you can get is from a forum. Many forums allow members to leave signature links or personal profile links. If you make good contributions to a forum, some people might follow your links, read your site, link to your site or buy products from your site.

Create Lists on Your Site

People love lists and they’re easy to link to. If you build a list like “10 easy tips to help you __,” people will read and link to it. Just make sure the list is relevant to your industry or business. Create a resource list on your site. If it’s good people may link to your resource list, or your resources might put you on their resource list.

Use PPC as a Link Building Tool

You can buy relevant traffic using PPC, which will get you visitors to your site and more brand exposure. When people come to your site, regardless of how they found it, there is still a possibility that they will find something they like and link to you.

Make Your Web Copy Easy to Understand

This will make people want to spread the word. People won’t link to information they don’t quite understand themselves, which is why this is very important. Put extra effort into making sure your content doesn’t have spelling or grammatical errors. This will make you look like a more professional and reliable source. Have an “About Us” section on your site so people can see who the information is coming from. This will make it look more trustworthy so they are more likely to link to it.

Submit Articles and Press Releases

If you submit articles to an industry news site the article will have a link back to your Web site. Making the article relevant with quality information will entice readers to visit your site and possibly use your service and recommend it to others, or link back to your site on their blog or site. Send out a press release to journalists and bloggers that you think will appreciate it. They are likely to link to your site on their blog or news site.

Gain Easy Local and Business Links

Join the Better Business Bureau and get a link from your local chamber of commerce. Submit your link to a relevant city or state governmental resource and list your site on your local library’s resource page. Use LinkedIn or other social media networks to develop relationships with other non-competing businesses in your industry. You can recommend each other through linking to each others sites

Use Link Bait for Link Building

Link bait is anything on a site that makes people want to link to it. It could be interesting content, funny videos, shocking photos, etc. It should have some association with keywords you are optimizing for. Then once you have your link bait ready to go, promote it on social media networks, through blogging and with article writing.

Link building takes a lot of time and effort, but in the end it’s worth it. Gaining links is the key to getting noticed by the search engines and increasing your rank. You should never stop link building. It’s an on-going process that takes commitment and drive. However, when your site begins moving up in the rankings until you’re above all your biggest competitors, you’ll see your efforts paying off.

By Wendy Suto (c) 2010