Home : Sources of links

We've seen how certain types of site can encourage unsolicited incoming links, but a proactive approach to hunting down potential link partners and submitting your site to them will pay dividends for just about any site.

Major Directories

Although Yahoo! has tended to de-emphasize the Yahoo! Directory more and more with each website makeover, it still remains an important place to get listed.

While a Yahoo! listing may not bring the traffic it once would have, there's a certain credibility and prestige attached to being listed on Yahoo!, and it also provides a useful yardstick to measure the popularity of competing sites (since sites within each category get ranked by their popularity in terms of visits from Yahoo! users).

To get listed on Yahoo!, navigate to the most appropriate category (the closer you can get to your site's main theme, the better) and choose the "Suggest a Site" link. If your site is non-commercial, or time is not important, you can choose the free submission route - otherwise, it's time to fish out your credit card.

The other major directory to focus your attention on is Dmoz. Navigate to the most appropriate category and choose "suggest URL". Read and follow the submission instructions very carefully as you only get one chance!

Niche Directories

While Yahoo! and Dmoz are high-profile, obvious targets to attack in your link-building campaign, there are niche directories on just about any subject you can imagine. The majority of such directories pride themselves on their completeness and coverage of their chosen subject, and will offer a listing (and hence a link) free or for a nominal fee to any quality site in that niche.

Tracking down such niche directories can be a real chore, which is where this site's Directory of Directories (DoD) comes in. It contains listings for many hundreds of niche and topic-specific directories that accept external submissions, divided by subject matter. The DoD should be your starting point in your quest for appropriate niche directories with which to list.

Beyond the sites in the DoD, you can find more places to list your site by methodically searching Yahoo! and Google for submission opportunities. Here are some searches to get you started. In each case, substitute a word or phrase that identifies your particular niche market for the word "widget" in the following...

You should also explore the results for a search for "widget" "directories" in the Yahoo! directory (again, you'll want to customise the search for your particular niche).

Sites Which Link to Your Competitors

One major yet frequently overlooked source of potential links is the universe of sites and pages that currently link to your competitors, but not yet to you.

Before you can hunt such sites down, you first have to establish who your competitors are. Once you've drawn up a shortlist of the competitors that most closely match your own site's offerings, record the URL of each of those competitor sites. You will need that information for the searches that follow.

To find the sites that link to a competitor on Google, enter link:example.com (where example.com is the URL of the competitor you want to research). Note that there should be no space between link: and the URL.

The syntax for a Yahoo! competitor search is a lot more complex, but the results you can obtain are also much more targeted, so the extra effort involved in formulating your query should be rewarded.

To find the sites that link to a competitor on Yahoo!, search for...

link:http://www.eg.com/ -link:http://www.eg2.com/ -site:eg.com

... where "eg.com" is the URL of your chosen competitor, and "eg2.com" is the URL of your own site (saves having to wade through your own pages). This will return a list of all the pages that link to your competitor, but not to you.

Repeat the above process with each of the main competitors you identified, and you'll have a great list of target sites to approach in search of links.

Further Reading (on this site)

Further Reading (off-site)