Google’s Webmaster Central has a helpful article on best practices for quality link building. Here are a few of the main points we found particularly relevant.
Participate in social networking – forums and blogs, especially if your site is relatively new and/or unknown.
Just keep in mind to contribute in a positive way, rather than spamming or soliciting for your site. Just building a reputation can drive people to your site. And they will keep on visiting it and linking to it. If you offer long-lasting, unique and compelling content — something that lets your expertise shine — people will want to recommend it to others.
Create compelling content.
… think of issues or problems your users might encounter. Visitors are likely to appreciate your site and link to it if you publish a short tutorial or a video providing a solution, or a practical tool. Survey or original research results can serve the same purpose, if they turn out to be useful for the target audience.” and “Offering a number of solutions for different problems could evolve into a blog which can continuously affect the site’s reputation in a positive way.
Directory listings can be helpful…
but lower quality directories can be avoided as being of limited value. Make sure directories you submit to are on target, moderated, and well structured. And avoid mass directory submission services as they’re “mostly useless and not likely to serve your purposes.”
Link building is a long term strategy.
It’s important to clarify that any legitimate link building strategy is a long-term effort. There are those who advocate for short-lived, often spammy methods, but these are not advisable if you care for your site’s reputation. Buying PageRank-passing links or randomly exchanging links are the worst ways of attempting to gather links and they’re likely to have no positive impact on your site’s performance over time. If your site’s visibility in the Google index is important to you it’s best to avoid them.
Note that “randomly exchanging links” is not the same thing as reciprocal link building we do for our clients as part of our link building services at Rank Magic. Exchanging links with other web sites that are related to yours and relevant to visitors on your web site are fine, effective ways to gain good incoming links. Avoid reciprocal links with every Tom, Dick or Harry who sends you a spammy linking request via email. Once in a blue moon those may be okay, but most are garbage and won’t help you a bit.
Make it easy for people to bookmark you on social sites.
Finally, consider making linking to your site easier for less tech savvy users. Similar to the way we do it on YouTube, offering bookmarking services for social sites like Twitter or Facebook can help spread the word about the great content on your site and draw users’ attention.
We typically recommend our clients include Share buttons in addition to the normal social media Follow buttons most sites include. They make it super-easy for readers to share your pages. We have these floating along the left edge of this post. If you participate in any social networking sites (Facebook, Delicious, etc.) we’d love it if you’d use our button to share our blog.