There is no debate that links from quality websites pointing to your key web pages will help your search engine visibility. Google and Yahoo have both recognized the importance of allowing web owners to see who is linking to their website with search commands such as “link:” in the search box.
How to get quality inbound links is a good topic for a debate among SEO consultants. In my opinion, before you open up your wallet and pay for inbound links to your website, you should get all the free quality links that are available with little effort. After you create these free listings, wait 30 days and see if they appear in the Google and Yahoo list using the “link” commands.
If your free listing shows as an inbound link, it is a good indication that these free listings are valued by Google and Yahoo and then you can consider upgrading the listings with additional monies.
When I talk about free inbound links I am not talking about participating with link farm websites that have little content and their sole purpose is to post PPC ads and encourage people to exchange links with their site. Associating with link farms is dangerous because sending a link from your site to theirs, when you have no control of the content, could backfire and hurt you.
The free links I am talking about are from reputable organizations that offer free basic web listings which include your website URL. The fact that they allow you to enter your website URL is key to building a link. Some directories only allow your URL to be entered when you pay for a listing, like [http://www.yellowpages.com;] Keep note of these for a later date when you are done with all the free sites.
The list I have created below is a great starter list and you should make sure your company information and website is listed accurately. We have a more complete list that we use for our clients but these are some of the best sites that have proven to work so give them a look:
New Jersey Business Directory
B to B Directory Online
Adding Your Company to Create a Link
Be patient when adding your listing. In most cases you have to search for your company’s name in their database FIRST. If it comes up, most allow you to claim the listing and setup a free account to edit and add information.
If your company is not listed, in most cases you will find a link to add your company as a free listing. In all cases you will need to setup a free account. Just be careful to look for the area where you can select a “basic” or “free” listing.
The goal of these sites is twofold; they want to have the best directory on the Internet and they also will contact you to upgrade your listing. In the second case, see if their basic link is working for you and then decide if you want to upgrade. Since there is no obligation or buying requirement, a basic listing may be all you need. It will take up to 30 days to see these newly created inbound links get traffic from web bots and spiders. To see some case studies of SEO success using good inbound links and good SEO content, check our Case Studies on our website. To see what a completed listing looks like, for example, go to Merchant Circle and type: Pasch Consulting Group. When asked for location type: Rumson, NJ
An Additional SEO Link Building Idea
Yahoo Local is just starting to offer a free five page website on their Yahoo Local listings. Get in on the ground floor and pick a URL name that is rich with your keywords in your State. The current tool is very basic but once again, you can create value inbound links to your primary website.
Your Yahoo Local website URL can contain great keywords for your business. There many other sites that offer good free links, so check Yahoo and Google for these companies. Take a look at the sites and make sure they look and feel right. Websites that look like an ad farm should be avoided.
Brian Pasch is a writer on various Internet Marketing topics and is the CEO of the Pasch Consulting Group. His SEO case studies can be reviewed at [http://seo.brianpasch.com/case_studies.htm] The author derives no revenue from recommending any directory sites in this article. You should evaluate each directory as to their viability to your specific website.