Every link on the web is a recommendation, similar to a positive review. Some recommendations are worth more than others. Just like a restaurant can get a big credibility boost from a five-star review by Zagat or Emeril Lagasse, a website gets a higher Google rank when it receives powerful links. Here are some ideas to keep in mind when linking.
- Get links from sites about photography and from sites about your niche or location. These types of links reinforce the topics in which you intend to rank.
- Spread links across many different sites instead of many links from the same site. I almost never contribute to the same website twice.
- Show Google that all your pages are popular by linking to many different pages. Get extra links to your most important landing pages.
Link to deep pages on your site (not the homepage).
Use relevant keywords in the link text. A link named “Sacramento photographer” is better than “click here.” Use many different phrases in links so you can rank for many different topics.
Don’t go out of your way to get a link on a page that already has a bunch of links. Links are devalued in the presence of other links on a page.
Avoid links from non-industry sites (like real estate), paid sources, blog comments, link exchanges, and low-value sites. All of these can drive down your average link quality.
Finally, consider who you link to from your site. If you link to sites associated with spam or link exchanges, your site will be seen negatively as well.
I wrote only one post for one of the websites I founded, Photography Spark, the entire first year of its existence. Why? Without links, and the branding and SEO benefits they entail, nobody would have been able to find my stuff.
I spent all of my time contributing to other sites, magazines, forums and podcasts in order to build as many links as possible. After getting a few dozen links, I started writing for myself. By that point, people knew who I was because I had been featured so many places. Google knew I deserved to rank because of my popularity.
After a few dozen links, everything I posted ranked immediately.