The success of your website in gaining high visibility
in search engines and in receiving large numbers
of relevant visitors is heavily influenced by
the incoming links to your site from other 3rd
party websites. When assessing the importance
of your site, which directly affects your rankings,
the search engines look closely at your incoming
links. Equally real visitors can follow links
from 3rd party sites to yours and end up doing
business with you as a result.
Link Building is an essential
element in the development of your website traffic.
It needs to be planned in advance and have clear
goals both with regard to the quality and quantity
of links negotiated and the results in rankings
and traffic that result from the links. Also the
titles and descriptions used in your links need
to be carefully written to maximise their effectiveness.
1.0 Step One - Traffic Measurement
We cannot assess the success of our link building
campaigns without measuring the results. There
are several packages around that claim to meet
this need but most are inadequate. We have in
depth knowledge of the well known HitsLink package
and use it for all the projects we undertake because
we know it works.
Hitslink tells you how many visitors you get,
where they come from, what they searched for and
which pages they viewed. It looks at specific
actions on the site, such as entering an enquiry
or placing an order, and tracks the visitors who
bought or enquired right back to their origin.
Some links cost very little and others can be
expensive so the ability to trace results back
to a specific link is a key decision making aid
when deciding where to invest.
As long as we work with you on link building
we will continually update your HitsLink account
to more accurately reflect the activities taking
place on your site. You will be able to see what
visitors are generated by specific links and what
actions those visitors took when on the site.
2.0 Step Two - General Directories
There are several large online directories such
as Open Directory (aka Google Directory), Yahoo!
Directory and MSN Small Business Directory that
can provide valuable incoming links both in terms
of boosting search engine rankings and attracting
visitors in their own right. There are many smaller
directories which can be highly effective too,
such as GoGuides, Linkopedia and BigAll, although
these are more beneficial in boosting search engine
results than in bringing relevant visitors. If
your primary market is the UK then directories
such as Applegate, KellySearch and Yell can work
Some of these are entirely free; some offer
a free basic entry with an enhanced entry option
you can pay for; some are subject to a small fee
($10 or so) and others can cost several hundred
pounds a year. You will receive a list of recommendations
along with costs that will enable you to match
expenditure with your budgets. We will submit
your site to the selected directories ensuring
that titles and descriptions support your target
search keywords and attract relevant visitors.
3.0 Step Three - Local Directories
Some web based businesses operate nationally
or internationally but most service businesses
have a regional or local bias in the business
they seek. Over the past year or so the number
of local directories has increased dramatically
and best use of these resources can have two benefits.
Firstly inclusion of your site in these can boost
your rankings in the general search engines for
phrases including your locality. Secondly they
can bring local traffic looking for local services
which will often be the easiest business for you
to gain through your website.
As with general directories there is a wide
range of local directories. Some are free, many
charge for entry, some charge a little, others
a lot. Our experience enables us to recommend
a strategy specific to your business which can
be implemented at the pace you choose with results
measured by HitsLink. We will submit your site
to the selected directories ensuring that titles
and descriptions support your target search keywords
and attract relevant visitors.
4.0 Step Four - Market Specific Directories
Many markets are now served by directories and
other search resources that are specific to that
market. These cover financial services, business
services, travel, manufacturing, in fact there
are few markets without a range of options. If
someone visits your site from a link on a site
specific to your activity then there is a strong
likelihood they will be a potential buyer of your
product or service. But equally if Google finds
that link it will reinforce your ranking for keywords
in that market sector in the search engine results.
Cost and quality can be very variable so we
carefully assess the available options and make
5.0 Step Five - Links to Individual
An important element of link building strategy
is to negotiate incoming links from other website
owners. This can be time consuming and frustrating
but when successful these links can bring the
best results of all. In many cases the links will
need to be reciprocal, i.e. you will need to add
an outgoing link from your site to the 3rd party's.
This may dictate some modification to your website
to accommodate these links in a usable and logical
These links can take many forms, typical examples
Same business, different location: an estate
agent in London swapping links with an estate
agent in Birmingham. They don't compete in each
other's area so can pass visitors to their mutual
Different business, same location: an estate
agent in London swapping links with a local letting
agent. They don't compete but complement each
other and target similar visitors.
User group or fan club: a site selling Jaguar
car parts might get a link from a Jaguar Owners
Club or a site selling CD's might get a link from
a group's fan club.
Whatever form these take NetSecrets will contact
the 3rd party on your behalf, provide the link
title and description and implement any reciprocal
links on your site.
6.0 Things To Avoid
There is a class of directory in existence called
a "link farm" or "free for all
directory". These exist purely to mislead
search engines into thinking you have more links
than you really do. They can be detected by search
engines and at best will do nothing for you, at
worst they will penalise your rankings and so
should be avoided.
There are some website owners who send bulk
emails to thousands of potential link partners.
This technique is similar to the link farm approach
and you should avoid it and its users.
Some of the best known directories are the most
expensive and offer relatively poor value for
money. It is best not to sign up for these without
discussing your options with NetSecrets first.
Avoid impatience! Link building is a steady,
methodical process that will pay dividends over
an extended period. If your site has 2 links today
and 200 tomorrow that can trigger an alarm in
the search engines that could nullify all the
good work. It is important that your link building
appears "natural", especially to Google.
7.0 What Does It Cost?
There are 3 elements to the cost. Firstly NetSecrets
charge a one-off fee for researching the potential
links for your site, creating a plan, setting
up HitsLink and writing and refining the titles
and descriptions for the links. Secondly we charge
a monthly management fee for testing and measuring
the results and running the campaign. Thirdly
there are 3rd party costs that you, the client,
pay direct to those resources that make a charge
for linking to you. These costs will mostly have
been identified in advance but new opportunities
will emerge during the campaign.
HitsLink costs £100 per annum for smaller
sites and from £20 per month for high traffic
sites with multiple web addresses.
8.0 Other Services
There are other important services NetSecrets
offer to augment the PPC activities and further
increase your site's visibility. These include:
Engine Optimisation (or SEO): This
is the process of working on the structure and
content of your web site so that it is more likely
to be found in the "natural" listings
of the leading search engines for keywords relevant
to its content.
Submission: is a service that works
hand-in-glove with SEO and aims to get search
engines to index more of your pages more quickly
so that the improvements made with SEO get results
Campaigns: These are online adverts
where you are charged "by the click".
Best known is Google Adwords, the small ads down
the right side of the page on Google. If prepared
by amateurs these make lots of money for Google
and nothing for the site owner. In expert hands,
as with NetSecrets, they can generate significant
traffic at a low cost.