Getting exposure on the search engines - Part 2
4. How to get other sites to link to you
Tailoring the content of your site is one aspect of Search Engine Optimization, but it’s not the priority. The ‘popularity’ of your site is the highest contributor to your ranking.
Popularity is based on the number and quality of websites linking to you.
The quality of a link is determined by its search engine ranking and by its relevancy to your website, something that is judged by the similarity of your keywords.
This means that ten links from small unconnected websites, such as local traders, are likely to be less useful that one link from a popular design-focused website.
Add your service to online directories.
Send your website link plus a line about your services to as many online directories as possible.
These links may not be quality links. I believe Google are starting to view links from directories as only partially relevant in informing search engine ranking. But it’s well worth getting directories to link to you, because they can result in plenty of quality hits—hits from browsers who might offer you freelance design work.
Start a blog
Blogging is perhaps the easiest way to pull potential clients towards your relevant portfolio pages and elevate your Google presence.
Blogs have two advantages. Firstly, they are linked to millions of websites, so usually have good Google rankings (which means they are quality incoming links).
Secondly, they offer you an easy way to submit new material, so you can be spontaneous and timely. For example, you could use your blog to review the week’s newspaper advert designs. This would appeal to marketers (potential clients in the marketing sector), and presents you as a knowledgeable design commentator--someone worth hiring for the next big advertising campaign!
Promote your website as a resource.
Having an armory of visuals or articles is important for obtaining good quality incoming links.
Lots of top-ranking websites have ‘Resources’ or ‘Useful links’ sections. You need to be in there. So write up a description of your resources and send to the web editors of high-ranking sites. Try to include your main keywords within your link description copy, so meta-crawlers identify it as a ‘good link’.
Send out articles.
Be a featured writer on a website that prospective clients hit on every day. You’ll not only get quality links to your site, you’ll also get your name out as an expert in your field.
Your articles can be adapted from your website or your blog entries. Just make sure they are useful and informative, leaving your website address and service description for your bio at the end of the article. Be sure to add a ‘call to action’ line at the end of your bio, persuaded interested readers to contact you (e.g. “Need a fresh new look? Ask about my design services. Email email@example.com”.)
You should target resource sites and e-zines aimed at your prospective clients, as well as article sites that are recognized by Google, such as www.article99.com
Shaun Crowley is the author of The Freelance Designer's Self-Marketing Handbook, available for download at www.marketing-designers.com
Copyright © 2007 Shaun Crowley