Back in the day, people used to share links on the internet because they actually thought the site being linked to might provide some value to people who read it. (Crazy concept, eh?). People would go out of their way to build up Links pages and Resource pages that included all sorts of sites the site owner had found, that they believed to provide useful information.
Obviously, the fact that someone was visiting their site in the first place made the webmaster believe that person was probably interested in the subject matter of their site. For example, if a site was about shark fishing, the person who managed the site would be fairly likely to assume that anyone visiting was going to be interested in fishing for sharks. So they’d populate their Links page with sites that were likely to also prove of interest to anyone interested in this particular topic.
OK, so far so what?
Well, when the mighty Google came along (Google being one who must always be obeyed, when it comes to SEO), and decided that inbound links to a site would make up a substantial part of its fabled “algorithm”, the Links landscape changed forever – sort of…
Providing site links was now no longer the preserve of friendly website owners who were trying to be helpful to their site visitors, it now attracted a whole new breed of “link builders” whose sole purpose was to try and fool Google into thinking a particular site should be ranked higher simply down to the volume of links it had attracted from other sites.
A Quick Explanation of why Inbound Links Matter to Google
The 2 students who setup Google in the first place decided they’d incorporate one of the central tenets of academic credibility into their search engine’s algorithm. That element being citations from recognised authorities. (Academic papers always include references to other papers from which the main arguments have been taken – which gives the paper credibility and authority, as it shows the content is based on other people’s work and so gives it an air of reliability and veracity).
So Google incorporated a large element of measuring inbound links to a particular web page in order to determine whether it was deemed to be a “good” page about a particular topic. The theory being that these inbound links would serve as “citations” from the original page to the one being linked to – thus providing evidence of the quality of this page.
The basic principle enshrined in the algorithm in the early days of Google is the main reason why SEO experts focused so much of their time on link building. And it’s still something that you can capitalise on today – so long as you go about it the right way.
Here’s a rundown of the 3 best types of links you can generate for your site, that will be Google-safe and actually beneficial for traffic and sales:
Resource Page Links
Utilised in the very earliest days of the internet to help people find sites that are likely to be of interest to them, Resource page links are still a very valuable link to attain. When a site has been put together that focuses on a particular topic, it makes sense for their Resource page links to be related to that topic in some way. These are exactly the type of links that Google likes to see – contextual, relevant links that are given for the purpose of helping a site’s visitors, rather than simply to aid with another site’s rankings. (Though, of course, this rankings boost is a happy side effect of having this type of link to your site).
So where can you find these Resource pages?
A good start is to use Google itself. Searches such as:
“topic keyword” + “resource page”
“topic keyword” + “resources”
“topic keyword” + “links page”
“topic keyword” + “links”
Will provide plenty of sites that feature the kind of links page we’re after – each of which will be related to the “topic keyword”. (So obviously you should ensure the “topic keyword” you search for is relevant to the content of your site – the one you want to obtain a link for).
You should make a list of sites that appear suitable, checking each one to see whether you think it is of decent enough quality – something you should be able to determine simply from your gut instinct. ie if you find yourself thinking “this site is a bit rubbish”, it’s probably not one that you should try to get a link from.
Contact each of the sites on your list with an email that compliments the site owner on their useful resource, and also introducing them to the fact that your own site will probably be something their site visitors could benefit from seeing, so could they please update their Resources page with a link to your site? The ideal method for being successful in generating multiple links is to have developed some great content – my suggestion being a collection of great blog articles, at least one of which you can draw the site owner’s attention to – which is more likely to find favour when it comes to providing a link.
Resource Page Broken Links
An even more successful method for generating links is to point out to the site owner where a link they have on their Resources page is broken – ie because the site no longer exists or the URL has changed.
Informing them that they have a broken link which needs to be removed / updated, plus providing a new site they can link to, is generally going to find favour with most site owners, as it helps them out and keeps their site looking current.
The ultimate in Google safe links is to attract a link to your site simply because your content is so good that people genuinely want to link to it of their own accord. Anyone who’s tried any link building in the past may be sceptical of this approach, but it actually does work.
Site owners are keen to provide good content for their visitors, so being able to introduce them to something of real value – your quality content in the form of a blog post etc – is something they will be keen to do.
My experience here suggests that “topic keyword” bloggers are the most likely to want to link to your content, particularly if it’s complementary to something they have recently written about.