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Getting listed on the first three pages of search engine listings is a goal for many business web sites. It’s also difficult to achieve, which explains why an entire industry has recently sprung up devoted to improving web site rankings.

If you elect to work on it yourself, there are three main ways to improve your web site’s ranking:

#1 Pay Search Engines Directly Sending $299 to Yahoo for a yearly listing or pay per click at Overture are two common choices. You can read more about these options here: http://www.zmoon.com/search.html.

#2 Use Key Words Correctly Fill your text with words and phrases that people are typing into search engines looking for businesses like yours. See my earlier article on Optimizing Your Search Engine Ranking. (http://www.zmoon.com/articles/optimize_site.html.)

#3 Get Quality Sites to Link to Your Site That’s today’s lesson!

WHY LINKS TO YOU HELP YOUR RANKING

If your web site is well made and filled with useful information, other sites may want to link to it as a resource for their clients. If you have several quality sites linking to yours, that should give you a boost over your competitor who has none, all other things being equal. The folks who operate the search engines believe that if other businesses are willing to send their customers to your site, you must be very good indeed. Just the type they’d like to recommend to their searchers.

GETTING QUALITY LINKS TO YOUR SITE

Yahoo (http://www.yahoo.com/) and The Open Directory Project (http://www.dmoz.org/) have actual humans instead of robots evaluating web sites for inclusion, so getting listed in either of these is considered a quality link. Yahoo currently charges $299 to have your site considered for listing, but there’s no guarantee it will be included. They have very high standards you must meet. The ODP also has high standards, but they are not charging for a listing at this time.

A good place to start looking for sites willing to link to yours is with businesses that complement yours but aren’t direct competitors. For instance, if you own a company that builds backyard ponds, you might ask for links from an aquarium supply shop, a nursery that carries water plants and a landscaping outfit. The key is you all share the same customer, but do different things for her.

Another category is your suppliers and providers. If you run an insurance agency, for example, you might have a few businesses you often work with, such as a realtor, a mortgage lender, a roofing contractor, an auto repair shop and a remodeling specialist. Assuming they have quality web sites, a link from each of these should help your search engine ranking.

And of course, you will probably get some business directly from those links to you from the other sites.

HOW TO GET PEOPLE TO LINK TO YOU

First of all, make sure your site is the best it can be. No one will link to a poor site since it will reflect back on them.

Next, link to these other businesses from your web site before you ask for a link back. When you write to the owner, be sure to compliment something specific about their site so they know you’ve actually looked at it. You don’t want them to think your email is spam.

Mention that you think your customers will find their site useful and so you’ve put a link to them on your site. Include a link to the appropriate page so they can easily see it for themselves. When you ask for a return link, give them a reason why it will benefit their customers.

LINKS FROM EMAILS AND NEWSLETTER ARTICLES

Two other ways to get links to your site involve your email signature file and offering your newsletter for free posting on other sites. If you participate in online discussion groups, be sure to include a link to your site in your email signature file. Not only will people in the group visit your site, those messages are generally archived for several months where the search engines can find them. Each of your emails adds up to another link to your site.

If you send a newsletter to your clients, others may be interested as well. Getting your newsletter published on other sites is another way to spread your web address around the internet. I’ll give ideas on how to do that in another article.

CONCLUSION

Once your well-made site is in the search engines, one way to get a higher ranking is by having quality sites link to you. There’s no fast and easy way to achieve this, but with a quality, frequently-updated web site, and a bit of work on your part, you should be able to find those secret admirers out in cyberspace and let them help spread the good word!

Please forward this to a friend!

Les Goss is President of ZebraMoon Design, Inc.

To see a partial list of high-ranking web sites we’ve
created for our clients, please visit our web site at

http://www.zmoon.com.

Sign up for our free newsletter at
http://www.zmoon.com/webdesigntips.html. You’ll receive two
issues a month on topics that should help you stay a step
ahead of your competition.

Let Other Sites Improve Your Search Engine Ranking
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