Inbound Links

The content on your site is only one part of successful SEO. Inbound links (sites that actually link to your site) are an important part of improving your rankings.
However not all inbound links are created equal.

Link should include keywords

The best inbound link will include the keywords that you wish to be found by in the actual link. For example:

  • Buy Valencia oranges online at

…is better than…

  • Buy Valencia oranges online at

Links should not be reciprocal

If you’ve had a public website with a contact email for any length of time you’ve probably been bombarded with emails requesting that they will put your link on their site if you put their link on yours.

This is known as reciprocal linking and is useless for SEO purposes. In the past the practice was heavily abused and so these links don’t help you at all. In fact they can sometimes even cause your site to be penalised. It is important to understand that every outbound link is an “EXIT” sign to your visitors, directing people away from your site after all of your effort to attract them.

Links should be (ideally) from respected websites

One of the ways Google attempts to deliver better results to searchers is building up a picture of which websites provide the best content about particular topics. Using a top secret formula (which includes inbound links) websites are given a particular weighting (“authority”) by Google. A link from one of these respected websites is a valuable link.

On the flip side groups of websites that are purely built to add links from websites (known as link farms) are penalised as an attempt to abuse search engines. Exchanging a link with these low quality websites can actually cause your rankings to fall.

How to find inbound links


Building inbound links is a time consuming process which most business owners will tend to avoid. However getting listings in free online directories is low hanging fruit.

By typing in “link:” into Google you can see the sites that are linking to your competitors. Make sure you are in all of the free directories that your key competitors are in.

Also see what free directories are listed when you search Google for the keywords you are targeting, and list your site with these.

Clients and suppliers

Clients and suppliers may also be willing to put a link to your website on their sites. Make sure you include the keywords you would like to be linked in your request. Be sure to thank them - they are doing you a big favour!

Social Networking

It seems like everyone is promising that Twitter, Facebook and Myspace (or other social networks) are the keys to making big dollars on the web. Our experience is that this may be true but it comes at the cost of a great deal of time. Spending a large amount of time on the social networks is unlikely to suit the typical time-poor businessman. See the links in further reading if you want to investigate this further.

Also with all the hype around Twitter etc. don’t forget the old fashioned forum. If there is an active forum about your topic get online and start helping out. Forums can be a great opportunity to get your expertise out there and build some links from a respected site.


Blogging was (is?) one of the buzzwords in the last few years. A blog is basically a website where articles are published regularly with the opportunity for the audience to comment.

Probably the best way to get inbound links is build an audience with a blog that is unique and insightful.

This is obviously easier said than done. Successful blogging requires a higher than average personality and expertise than your competitors.

To keep interest alive blogging also requires articles that are published regularly. So you’ll need to invest significant time, copywriting skills and discipline or alternatively the money (to pay someone else to do it) to make that happen.

If you are finding that most of your competitors are blogging you may have no choice. Otherwise it is a large commitment that is best entered into carefully and only worthwhile if done seriously.

We just haven’t done justice to the discipline of link building here. Check out the additional resources and websites under further reading,if you’re interested in finding out more.