I've learned some things about link-building the past few weeks. Most are probably fairly obvious, but it took a whole heap of research for me to come to these conclusions (there is a RIDICULOUS amount of SEO/linking tutorials/blogs/information out there).
Here's the top 5 tips that are in MY head when I'm thinking about building backlinks for my company websites.
1. Relevance, relevance, relevance.
If you're looking for pages to link to your site (case in point, I'm working on backlinks for GetMyHomesValue.com), look for websites that have to do with the topic of YOUR website. GMHV deals with nationwide real estate and homeowners needs. I'm not going to try and get us linked on some page about the Amazon rain forest. There's no connection between those 2 subjects. I would however, try and get on any site about real estate (that's not a competitor of ours) and even spread out into homeowner related sites, like home improvement, furnishing sites, etc. Also, since we're nationwide and deal with real estate, it might be a good idea to look into sites about individual areas, like a county's website or something - the type of site a homeowner who's thinking about moving may want to look at. It's important to have relevant pages linking to you, but don't be too narrow in your focus on what constitutes a "relevant" site.
2. Trustworthy pages.
This is just common sense. If a site it looks spammy and really low-budget, chances are Google isn't going to hold it in high esteem, and therefore a site like that linking to yours isn't going to do much to improve your rank (and might wind up hurting it). Search engines are smart now: they know not to put too much stock in big ol' link farms. Your best bet is to look for quality pages, with good content and preferably, the longer they've been around the better.
3. Education is power and the Government rocks!
Okay, by that I mean if you can get any .edu or .gov sites linking to you, you're going places! These sites are very trustworthy and many have been around for quite a while, so SEs like them. If .edu or .gov sites are linking to you, than that raises your importance in the eyes of the search engines.
4. Reciprocal linking...*shrug* eh
Sure, it's good to have a links/resources page on your site, and yes, doing the whole "I'll link you if you link me" thing is okay in some instances, but don't rely on this as your only key to getting links. The best kind of links come from not even having to ASK for them - if someone finds your site so useful that they just link there on your own, THAT is a great link for you. Reciprocal linking has it's uses, but should be used moderately. (I'm trying to overcome this one myself). Your site should be so useful people want to link for the sake of content, not just to get a link in return.
Which leads nicely into #5:
5. Content is key
If you don't have anything useful on your site, then really, what's the point? But if you've got unique or extremely useful content, that goes a long way towards just naturally acquiring links. Whether it's video, audio, a useful widget, great research, etc, your site HAS to have SOMETHING to offer it's visitors. Really. Or else the whole thing is just pointless.
Hope anyone reading this finds it useful - it helped for me to sum up up some key things I want to keep in mind when I'm trying to build up backlinks. There TONS of other things to think about and look into as well, but I think these 5 tips are a great baseline for where your head should be when thinking about getting links.
If anyone has anything to add, by all means, go for it!