Link building

Bing prefers to see links built organically. This essentially means the links are built by people linking to your content because they find value in your content. This is an important signal to a search engine because it is seen as a vote of confidence in the content. Think of your own website. You only link to sources you trust, sources you know will prove useful to your visitors.

Organic links such as those are how the Internet became a “web”. It’s organically built links that are often responsible for something “going viral” these days as well. When a piece of content proves popular, there is a dramatic increase in the number of links pointed at it. The search engines see signals such as this and can react accordingly to showcase popular content.

When seeking links, you should always keep in mind that Bing wants to see quality links pointed at your website. A quality link is one coming from a website Bing knows already and trusts. Obtaining links from trusted sites takes some work, but if you follow a consistent pattern of providing valuable content to you users and sharing links from your own website to others, those trusted links you seek will begin to appear as other websites find value in your own site.

As you research how to build links, you will come across some common topics:

Reciprocal linking

In cases like this, you agree with another website to exchange links. They point one at your site, and you point one at their site. Keeping in mind that humans normally don’t follow this pattern, Bing can easily see there is limited value to such link exchanges. Don’t skip this as a valid link building tactic, however. New websites need links, and exchanging a link is a solid way to not only gain a trusted inbound link, but potentially to gain direct traffic form the other website. That traffic could easily bring with it more links as those new visitors spread the word about your own website.

Buying links

You may choose to buy a link from a trusted website. This is your choice, but you should know that as Bing begins to see a pattern of links from one website turning off each month, then new ones showing up for a month or so from the same domain to new websites, we begin to understand the website is selling links. Thus, any links leaving that website will be suspect. Search engines are very good at seeing patterns so think carefully before purchasing a link in search of elevated rankings.

That said, buying a link on a busy website can bring you direct traffic, so it does remain a valid marketing tactic. Just be careful how often you employ this tactic lest Bing form the impression you’re buying links to try to influence your organic rankings.

Link Farms

We’re using this term loosely to refer to any form of link sharing scheme designed to link sites together with the intent of manipulating organic search rankings. Typical link farms have hundreds or thousands of links to websites, often from old domains which once ranked well themselves but are dormant today. Three-way link exchanges fall under the same banner and should be avoided.

If you are in doubt about whether a link is potentially dangerous, ask yourself if you met a Bing representative at a trade show, would you hesitate to tell them about the link?

How to build links

The best way to build legitimate inbound links remains to produce useful, unique content. When you become known as a trusted source for excellent content, visitors will naturally share links to you. Social sharing has amplified this process, so be sure you make it easy for your visitors to share what they like. You can encourage them by:

  • Building unique, engaging content
  • Enabling social sharing options for your visitors
  • Consider enabling copy-and-paste code snippets to enable visitors to quickly grab code to build a link from

Alternatively you could find websites you’d like a link from and simply ask them if they’d link to you. It takes some work to uncover the right contact information, but a polite, well placed request can often surprise you with success.

A further option is to do some guest blogging. Many websites and blogs, in exchange for writing unique content and article for them, will allow a link back to your website. You’ll need to establish some trust, so be sure you build your credibility as a trusted topic expert before approaching other sites and offering to guest blog. Just remember that if they like your work, they’ll sing your praises. If you fall short or try anything sneaky, however, they will blog about that, too.

You could also look into directories. A time-honored location from which to snag a trusted link, directories still have some value today, but keep in mind that these alone won’t provide your website with much lift.

Quality v. Quantity

The fastest way to alert the search engines that you are buying links is to have 10,000 new links go live in one day. It’s tempting to subscribe to a service that rewards you will thousands upon thousands of links, but you should avoid this. The fact is Bing wants to see quality links pointing at your website. Often even just a few quality inbound links from trusted websites is enough to help boost your rankings. Just as it is with content, when it comes to links, quality matters most.