How To Acquire New Links
Following on from my last article, which detailed ways to optimise your current site link profile, I wanted to move forward and begin to cover the hugely vast subject of acquiring new links, which will most likely be the sole focus of my posts in the foreseeable future.
The process of gaining new links in the casino industry is exhausting, both financially and with time, due to the lack of quality availability as well as competition. So before we get into the methods of actually acquiring the new links we should refresh all of our memories and look into how to assess the value and strength of a particular link. After all, you need to know what a great link looks likes before you can start chasing it.
1. Search engines rely on relevance to provide results to match user queries.
It’s therefore essential and arguably the most important part of the algorithm. Because of this the first thing I will always look at is the relevance of the site as a whole and the page linking towards you.
Having a link on a page which is relevant to your site will tell search engines that you are a reliable source of information for that particular subject. A real life analogy for this could be information from your old school teachers. Let’s say that you (the search engine) need some information on a book to help you solve a maths query, your science teacher (irrelevant link) and your math teacher (relevant link) both recommend books. Although both are probably of equal integrity and credibility in your standings you are always going to choose the opinion of your math teacher.
Apply this principal with the links you gain, a book from your science teacher won’t be a bad shout, they probably still know a bit about the subject, but you’ll always side with the most relevant source of information.
2. The second thing that l look at is the other links on the page.
The casino industry is full of despairing site owners trying to push their brand by any means possible, which means buying links in every sidebar possible and footer possible. If the site shows a clear indication of selling links to other site owners then it is a “no” in my books. Remember, the links you gain are only as long lasting and reliable as the site webmaster wants them to be. Steer clear of obvious spam; good links can come if you work for them.
3. Search engines also assess the volume and quality of links which are pointing to the site linking to yours, so it is important to look into this.
Using the old school teacher’s analogy once again I’ll explain why it is considered important. Imagine that you have been recommended different books by two maths teachers – how would you decide which one to choose? Well, the next step is to consider their reputations. If, after asking around, you find that one teacher is more highly recommended than another, you’re more likely to go with their suggestion.
I look into the backlink profile of the linking domain using a tool called Open Site Explorer, brought to you by the experts at SEOmoz. Type the site URL which you are considering buying a link from into this and then analyse the summary given to you at the top. As a general rule sites which have a higher number of linking domains and links will provide a more powerful link for your site. You should always have a quick browse down the list of links in order to ensure that the links given are of at least of a respectable standard, having 10,000 links from a spammed subdomain won’t be as beneficial as 10 from the BBC.
4. One of the final main consideration points for me is the type of link which is available.
Links from images for example aren’t as desirable as links from text, simply because search engines can crawl and understand the text with more accuracy. I’ve created a list of the potential link types you’ll be offered, in order of how I’d regard their importance:
- A text link with relevant competitive anchor text
- A text link with uncompetitive anchor text
- A text link with no anchor text.
- A linked image with a relevant competitive alt attribute.
- A linked image with a uncompetitive alt attribute.
- A linked image with no alt tag present.
- Any link which has a nofollow rel attribute.
- No link at all, just a site reference.
5. The final check I’ll make before going with a link is that it is indexed by the most important search engines.
You’ll be surprised how many sites have a penalty incurred because of their link endeavours, especially if your using a link broker. Simply visit a search engine and type in the site brand name, for example in our case ‘Castle Affiliates’, if the site isn’t on the first page something is wrong. Next try the domain name without the ‘www.’, if it does not rank for that then something is wrong, move away.
Remember, although everything I say is based on previous research and what I practice to this day, it is still all down to subjective opinion. All webmasters analyse links in different ways and still have the deserved success through their methods. Take the above as my basics and mould them as you want into your own strategy, if you can find something that meets all of the above then grab it quickly, they’re far and few between!
Do you always analyze something which I am missing? Let me know using the comments below!
About the Author
David Merry spent the first part of his professional career in the link building strategy team at London based search marketing company Greenlight Search. He now heads the online marketing team at CastleCasino.com and focuses the majority of his time on SEO and their affiliate program. You can find out promoting the CastleCasino.com affiliate program at CastleAffiliates.com.