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One of the important factors in ranking high in search engine results is link popularity. It is not enough to just have the best website in the world--other sites have to point back to you. The thought is that if your site is good enough for others to link to you, then you must have a great site.
How do I increase link popularity?
Building link popularity is hard work. You've searched endlessly. You've sent every reciprocal link email you can think of. What else can you do? Surprisingly, writing articles on your topic can lead you to a wealth of link popularity.
What are the benefits of writing articles? Think about it. If you write articles, you get to use them on your website and you build your website content. You can also submit your articles to other sites. With both methods you get a lot in return:
You build your content. More is better when it comes to site content.
You promote your website. With more keyword-rich text on more pages, you will increase the number of pages indexed by the search engines.
Other websites link back to your website content. Sites focused on related topics link back to you.
You receive a link back to your website from the site you submitted the article to. Remember to include a link in all guest articles you submit.
You become an authority on your topic. Search engines reward sites with a larger number of inbound links from sites dealing with similar topics.
What do I write articles about?
The saying goes "write about what you know." Sometimes it takes thinking in a creative way to open the door to a new route for link popularity success. Think of what your visitors might be looking for. Why do they come to your site? What can you help them with when they arrive on your website? Answer their questions about your topic. We all search to find information, so give them what they are looking for.
So what are they looking for? That is easy enough to find out. Review your web server logs to see what keywords and phrases your visitors are using when they find your site through the search engines. Run your own searches using those keywords. What kinds of sites are returned in the search engine listings? Pay attention to visitor feedback. Know your visitors. Answer the questions they are asking, or even those questions they do not know yet to ask.
Most importantly, write because you have something to say. If in the process of building your content and inbound links, you benefit your readers with your content, all the better in terms of providing visitor satisfaction. This is the best reason to write, which is the way of the web, to seek out and share information.
Where do you put articles?
On your site. The first and obvious answer is to put them on your site. After all, you have all this knowledge; why not share it with your visitors? You may want to create an Articles page on your site. This will give you a place to put your articles, and any new ones that you write. Make sure to add this new page into your site navigation, and especially to add it to your sitemap page. Add a link to your main articles page on your sitemap, and a link to each new article on your articles page, and you are on your way to having your good content indexed. Make sure your visitors and the search engine robots can find your new pages.
Adding article content not only answers your visitors' questions, it adds to your website. Your visitors will have a richer experience with your site when there is more content. Not only can they buy the widgets you are selling, but they can also learn more about how to select widgets, exciting news from the world of widgets, and so on.
The more pages you add to your website, the better chance the already visiting search engine robots will also pick up your new pages to be indexed. More pages mean more links. Be sure to make an archive of your articles on your website. Always keep your pages in directories close to the root of your site for optimum indexing by the search engine robots.
Submit to the search engines. As always you will want to submit your new pages to the mainstream search engines and directories. In addition, look for specialized, topical directories that deal with your particular subject. There are also many general business directories available.
Submit guest articles. In addition to submitting your articles to the various search engines and directories, think about submitting the articles themselves. Submit your articles to sites that accept guest articles. It may take a little detective work to find some of these locations. You can start small, submitting to lesser-known portals seeking information on your topic. Some sites are focused on one topic; others need articles about all sorts of topics. Get searching and you should be able to come up with a healthy list of sites to submit to. Searching in Google and in categories in Yahoo! and ODP (Open Directory Project/Dmoz) would be helpful.
Once you are featured as a guest writer on a website, you will notice that most sites archive these articles. How many articles can you write? How many articles are archived and linked? How many different search engines indexed those pages? You get the idea.
Always include a bio of the author, article re-print instructions, copyright information and a link back to your website. Add an active link in your link text in your submission or request one for your listing. Be aware of dynamically generated pages--a static URL also increases the chance that the article you have submitted has the optimum chance of indexing by the search engine robots.
What if I don't write?
What if writing is just not your thing? You are in luck, because there are sites out there that have free content and articles available to you. When you add them to your site, you still build the content on your website.
Legitimate links, no spam The best part is that your new links are all legitimate and not just junk links. You add important information to your site, and that is good for your visitors and good for your image. Naturally, using your keyword phrases in your Title/META tags and the text of your articles as you would in your regularly optimized pages makes sense for good search engine ranking.
It will pay off
Be creative when writing articles and submitting your content for linking, it takes hard work but will be worth it in the long run.
Daria Goetsch is the founder and Search Engine Marketing Consultant for Search Innovation (www.searchinnovation.com), a Search Engine Promotion company serving small businesses. Besides running her own company, Daria is an associate of WebMama.com, an Internet web marketing strategies company. She has specialized in search engine optimization since 1998, including three years as the Search Engine Specialist for O'Reilly & Associates, a technical book publishing company.