MSN’s Bing search engine team published a list of issues related to obtaining inbound links that could either help or hurt your web site’s rankings. As most serious website owners know, naturally acquiring good, industry-related inbound links is important to help a website rank higher in organic search results. There aren’t any new revelations in the article entitled, Link Building for Smart Webmasters, but the article does do a good job of reinforcing good and bad link building techniques. Bing did reveal that they do have a team of people who actually look at a web site when their spiders report suspicious inbound link building methods. Bing makes it clear that they are “less concerned about the link building techniques used than about the intentions behind the effort.” That basically means that if you are doing link building to assist users with finding relevant information, they look upon this favourably. However, if you are building links merely to raise search engine rankings, you may find your web site headed in the wrong direction in Bing’s search results. The following summarizes Bing’s tips, along with our interpretation of how to best utilize these techniques.
What Bing Says You Should Be Doing to Build Links
- Provide high quality content to attract links from related sites. If you focus on writing the best informational content on the web, others will link to your web pages. Become an expert voice for your industry.
- Develop your business brand and be consistent about that brand in your content. A site should focus on a specific theme and be consistent with the information that is publish on the site. Stick to a topic and do not become a generalist.
- Publish expert articles to online article directories. The publishing of articles to article directories such as eZineArticles.com, GoArticles.com and others has been a long-standing method to build links. The idea is to publish a unique article to these free article directories. The article becomes freely syndicated. Other sites will pick up and publish these articles and are supposed to provide a link back to your website. Keep the articles focused on the same theme as your web site. Do not simply publish existing articles from your web site, because that is asking for trouble with duplicate content.
- Participate in relevant blogs and forums and refer back to your site’s content when applicable. That is basically an encouragement to refer to your articles often in industry-related blogs and forums. A technique that works well is to look for a problem presented in a blog or forum that needs to be solved. Publish the solutions on your site and then link to it from the blog or forum.
- Launch a blog or a forum on your site. This may work well with some sites, but interactive blogs and forums can be time-consuming and require dedicated attention.
- Use social media networks to link to your site. While this can drive traffic, most social media networks block link inheritance factors by using the “no follow” attribute on all outbound links. Bing focuses on building the industry connections that may stimulate others to link to your web site from their sites.
What Bing Says You Should Not Be Doing to Build Links
- Do not build too many links too quickly. That could trigger a review from Bing’s staff. This means that it is not a good idea to purchase thousands of links from web directories.
- Do not build too many inbound links from unrelated sites. This follows Google’s preference for natural linking and emphasizes that the old SEO cliché, “a link is a link”, no longer holds true. There is a quality factor with links that plays an important role in determining the inherited value of a link. Focus on building links from industry-related web sites.
- Do not use hidden links on your pages. Hidden links and hidden content have both created penalty situations for many years.
- Do not link out to known spam sites. Inheritance is a two-way street. When you link to a site that has been banned or heavily penalized by the search engines, your site can be penalized, as well. Google has long preached the same issue. Be careful who you link to.