Everyone knows the importance of links when it comes to increasing your search engine results. The first question you must ask is where to get links from. There are two strategies here.
1. The most effective way to identify the "right" sites to get links from should be based on who is linking to your competition defined by who outranks you on Google for your identical search term. Ideally you should be evaluating who links to the # 1 search result in Google for the keywords or keyword phrases you're optimizing for. If you get the same sites to link to your site in the right way you'll be in the top position on Google for that given keyword phrase.
There are a variety of methods to determine which sites are linking to the # 1 result in Google for the keyword phrase you're targeting. Begin by identifying which site is in the # 1 position for your search term. Once you've identified this site, do one of the following:
• Google Search. Go to Google.com and type in the following:
Link: [http://www.competitor.com] and press return. Be sure to replace the "competitor.com" with the name of the site you've already identified as having the # 1 position on Google for your search term.
The result will be a series of sites linking to your competitor. The only downside to this method is that you will not know which sites are more important than others (ie number of links linking into those sites, Google PR, keyword content on pages, etc.)
• Alexa. Go to Alexa.com and type in the name of the site you're researching. Alexa.com is a tool used to measure the popularity of sites using the Alexa toolbar. Because not everyone uses the Alexa toolbar, the information is only directionally correct.
Once you get the resultant website, you will see a number of options listed. To the right of the thumbnail image, click "Sites Linking In".
This option returns a list of sites that Alexa has identified as linking into the site you're researching. This can be an appropriate starting spot for your link building campaign.
• Online SEO Tools. Using online marketing tools to automatically generate a list of sites linking into your competitor's site that provides link details (Google PR, Link text, Number of inbound links to competitor's site, Page title, etc.) is the most effective way to generate a list of targeted sites for your link development efforts.
I've personally bought and used about a dozen different products to help me keep an eye on my competition and more importantly build an effective linking campaign. In less than 30 seconds some of these tools let you know exactly which sites are linking to the # 1 positioned website and give you the information needed to contact them and request a link.
You can use whatever tool you want as long as it provides you a list of sites linking into your competitor and a way to prioritize that list. If you start to develop links from the highest quality sites first, your climb to the # 1 spot on Google will happen that much faster.
• Identify Authority Websites. Authority websites are those sites linking to 3 or more of your competitors. You can save time by using an online SEO tool to find these sites. If you do not have a tool at your disposal, you can accomplish this manually using the following method:
1. Search for competitive sites by visiting Google and searching for your most important search term.
2. Create a spreadsheet of the top 100 sites "linking in" to each of your top 5 competitors (Microsoft Excel is a good tool for this)
3. Sort Alphabetically
4. While looking at the list, see if any of the website URL's are duplicated across your list. If the site appears 3 or more times, highlight it.
5. Once you've developed your list of competitive sites, you should visit each one to determine how your competitors are listed.
Once you've identified your Authority Websites, contact them. Model the strategy that your competitors have used. If these sites are Directories, look for a directory submission form. If the links are from articles that your competitors submitted, submit your own. If all you can locate is an email, ask the webmaster to include your site. You may also suggest a link exchange if the opportunity arises.