that you offer, or with news that would interest them. This information then gives the
blogger something to use in his or her regular posts. Keep in mind, however, that you
can’t control what a blogger might say, so it’s possible that the review you get from the
blogger won’t be favorable.
Press releases are one of the mainstays of any marketing program. It can be
so effective that many organizations hire companies to do nothing but distribute their press
releases as widely as possible. What’s so powerful about a press release? It’s just the facts,
including benefits, and it’s sent out to publications and organizations that might publish all
or part of the press release. Use press releases to send out new items of all types, and send
them as widely as you can. New organizations, publications, newsletters, even some forums
will post press releases. When you write it, make sure a link back to your site is included in
the press release. Then, when someone posts it, the link you provide leads back to your site.
Affiliate programs are a type of paid advertising. Amazon.com’s affili-
ate program is one of the best-known affiliate programs. You provide a link to people who
want to link back to your web site. They place the link on their site and then when some-
one clicks through that link to your site and makes a purchase (or converts any other goal
you have arranged), the affiliate — the person who placed your link on their site — gets
paid a small percentage. Usually the payment for affiliate programs is very low ($.01 to $.05
per click or a small percentage of the sale). But some people make a good living being affili-
ates, and many organizations receive additional traffic because of their affiliate programs.
There are some ethical considerations with affiliate programs. Many believe that because
you’re paying for the link back to your site it’s less valid than if you were to land organic
links. However, most search engines see affiliate programs as an acceptable business practice
and they don’t reduce your rankings because you use affiliate programs. The trick with
affiliate programs is to not allow them to be your sole source of incoming links. In addition,
most affiliate programs utilize some click-tracking software, which by definition negates the
value of the link, because the link on the affiliate’s page is going from that page, to the ad
server, to your site. So the link is from the ad server rather than the affiliate site.
PPC and Paid Links:
Pay-per-click advertisements (which were covered in Chapters 5–10)
are an acceptable business practice. There is no problem with using PPC advertisements to
achieve inbound links to your site. Remember that, like affiliate links, PPC links are not
direct links to your site. Paid links, on the other hand, are different from affiliate links —
you pay to have a direct, or flat link, placed on a page. Some search engines frown on the
practice of using these types of links. Using paid links (especially those that land on link
farms) is a practice that carries some business risk.
Link to Yourself:
Linking to yourself is a technique that sits right on the line between eth-
ical and unethical. Linking to yourself from other sites that you might own is an acceptable
practice. But if you set up other sites simply to be able to link back to your own site and
create the illusion of popularity, you’re going to do more damage than it’s probably worth
to you. If you are linking to yourself and you suspect that you might be doing something
that would adversely affect your search engine ranking, then you shouldn’t do it. There are
plenty of links to be had without linking back to your own web sites; you just have to work
a little harder for the higher quality links.
Understanding the Role of Links and Linking
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