Link building for SEO purposes is a constantly changing discipline that requires maintenance to be successful. With constant Google algorithm changes, link building has become extremely complex with a much higher learning curve.

After the release of Google Penguin in April 2012, even those with best-practice tactics, found themselves losing SERP or being banned because of poor or questionable links. The intent was to target sites that were trying to cheat at the SEO game but many small businesses suffered as well.

Successful link building techniques today require a much more specialized knowledge of what inbound links really are and how to get them. Below are some tips on how to create a long term link building strategy that will serve you well for brand building and a presence online.

What are inbound links?

Inbound links are links from other websites to your website. Inbound links are the crux of web promotion and a key aspect of any online marketing campaign. To succeed at small business SEO, you HAVE to have them!

Not all inbound links are the same. In order to maximize your internet marketing potential, you must have inbound links from high quality websites. High quality websites are judged by the major search engines as trustworthy and reputable sources of information.

The “anchor text” of an inbound link is the text that a web user sees as the link presentation on a website. Whenever you can, include targeted keywords in the anchor text.

Inbound links that do not have matching outbound links from your website are worth a great deal when it comes to the rankings in the major search engines. And those from low-quality websites can even penalize your website in the rankings. This is why it is much more important to have a few high-quality links than many low-quality ones.

How To Get Inbound Links

There are several ways to acquire inbound links. Executing a combination of these is the most realistic way to improve your rank with do it yourself SEO.

1. Great content. Producing quality content that is relevant to your target customer is the best long-term strategy. Over time, you become an authority on a subject and others link back to your content to share with their colleagues or customers. Original content is the secret to building high-quality inbound links, remember to always use your SEO keywords.

2. Connect with webmasters. The reason that high-quality links are high-quality links is because the webmaster takes care to protect their online reputation. They are most likely just as discerning about their links, as you are.

3. Reach out to personal and business connections. While this may seem obvious, it’s a tactic often overlooked. If you have information that is worth sharing, send it to your network and ask them to provide a link to others on their website.

4. Placement in quality directories. Not all directories are equal. A very broad statement could be: if the directory is manned by people, who are selective about who they include, it’s probably has weight with the search engines.

5. Look at competitors links. A great place to start is with Open Site Explorer from SEOMoz. Spend time looking at ‘who’ links to your competitors and ‘where’ they link to on the site. It’s sure to spark ideas for you to replicate or sites that might be willing to link to your site as well.

6. Hire someone to do it. Link building is not easy and takes time, you may find that hiring an expert is your best path. Be careful not to contract a service with unethical tactics — go for quality, not quantity. We offer our DIYSEO link-building service but there are many other reputable firms out there as well.

7. Stick with it. It’s a favorite saying here at DIYSEO: links beget links! Over time, the more sites that link to you, the more likely others will link to you as well. A great analogy would be selecting recipes with the most reviews, if everyone else likes it it must be good!

While there are many more complexities on developing a link strategy, these basics are a great way to start winning with do it yourself SEO. Do you have any great strategies that work for you?