A great way to legitimately build link popularity for your sites is to build a stand alone directory or search engine. You can find programs for this at The CGI Resource Index and the PHP Resource Index. After you’ve created one, add to it your own sites, your affiliate sites, your sites that are affiliates for others, etc. You can also create a stand-alone themed search engine and put on it a link to your own site.
Another way is by offering “awards” in the form of a .GIF image that links back to your site. If you’ve developed a reputation of being an authority on a subject or niche, people will perceive a benefit from the awards you offer (e.g., he/she gets to tell everybody that your site recognizes his site as a quality site) and this will encourage them to place your award on their site. When giving awards, just like in sending links requests, always make it a point to provide the awardees the code for the award to make it easy for the awardees to put the award on their site.
Still on awards, if you don’t have what it takes to be the giver of awards, strive to become the awardee and submit your site to as many awards sites on the Web as you can and as appropriate.
Instead of joining a banner exchange program, start one of your own. The basic concept behind this kind of service is that people will sign up with your site agreeing that they will add special links to your site and allowing you to display banner ads on their pages. In exchange, you agree to display their banners on your site and on all other sites within your banner exchange network.
Never say no to an interview, especially for an article on your related field. It is very likely that, in introducing you, interviewers/writers will list your qualifications with a link back to your site. This will add visibility and credibility to you, your site, and your online business. Likewise, if you’ve been asked by an established and respected writer to contribute to an article he/she is working on, ALWAYS say YES. This can get you published in a lot of places that you otherwise could not.
Look for good quality sites that offer “free” Web space, particularly those that are indexed by search engines, and create a small site (about 3 to 5 pages) on them with the same subject as your own site. Link that small site back to your main site and submit your small site to the search engines for indexing. This should get you some creadit for link relevance.
If you offer contests or sweepstakes on your site, you shouldn’t have much of a problem in getting free links from the numerous contest and sweepstakes directories on the web.
Give discounts or any kind of special offer to anyone who agrees to post an image (perhaps a .GIF that links to your site) on their site. Also, give discounts/special offers to those who go through that link. This will surely increase your link’s popularity.
If you’re regularly giving away free stuff on your site, try getting your site listed on sites/dirctories that list sites that give stuff away like The Free Site.
If you have a members-only site, offer site owners (most especially those who might have great interests on your site or its content) free membership in exchange for a link to your site. If you have a discussion board or forum, invite related sites to link to it.
Create/host a “Top Site” which ranks sites based on the amount of incoming traffic they send. Top Site programs can be found on and downloaded from The PHP Resource Index and the CGI Resource Index.
Include a provision in your contracts with your business partners (resellers, partners, subcontractors, and vendors) that requires them to link to your site. Additionally, also indicate that your link must be placed on a page that is accessible to search engine crawlers. Note that most search engines index only content in the top two levels of a site.
If you have bought a product online, or bought a product of someone who has a web site, write them a testimonial (focus on the positive points), include your web site’s URL in it, and email the owner of the web site and tell him/her that you would be happy to let him/her use your testimonial on his/her site.
If you have some newsworthy thing going on at your company/business–landing a big new contract maybe, or your engagement/particpation at a prestigious conference, or launching of a new product–draft a brief press release and send it to all relevant newspapers, to the attention of the Business Editor. You can find the contact information of the newspapers in your region and/or industry at Gebbie Press.
Write letters to newspaper editors, maybe to comment on an article or something, just be careful not to say anything nasty or controversial. Since most newspapers nowadays are mirrored online, one of your letters mught just end up on their site.
You could provide special offers to members of professional organizations, such as your local Chamber of Commerce, and try to get your site’s link up on their site.
Contact your local radio and television stations and offer your expertise to them. You might just be able to get your link on their programs as well as on their website.
Put your URL on your stationeries, business cards, offline advertising materials/campaigns, invoices, T-shirts, promotional items, and whatever else you can think of.
Try getting your link on the web sites of colleges and universities. Some colleges/universities may have services or courses that relate to your business’ service. If you offer to do something free for them, perhaps a seminar or giving away free gifts to students, you may be able to get your link on that university’s site. One thing that Google and other search engines love is old domain names, especially those that indicate some kind of charitable or educational status. If you can get a link from that kind of a domain name, your site will have a very good chance at ranking well in the SERPs.