How to get links to your website – relevant backlinks are best

Visitor J.A. says:

I’m interested in some SEO consulting from you.

My dream words are ’email lists’

I’m on page 4 now, what will it take — backlinking?

Hi, J.A. –

There are only 37 mentions of your site that Google knows about. That’s a pretty small number.

If you run this search for backlinks on my site, it will find about 1010 such links. It’s one reason my optin email lists page does so well in a search at Google, where it is has been #1 for about 3 years now in a search for “optin email lists”. Insert your own domain and you’ll find the actual number of backlinks Google knows about. Don’t use the “link:” command, as it has been broken for years now and does not actually report all the links Google knows about.

There are several ways to get really good relevant links to your site that will help your Google rankings:

1. We can do a directory submission process through the top 30 directories online. This costs $500 (our fee) and about $800-to-$1700 in “hard costs”. The hard costs are listed here: You can pick and choose which ones you want us to submit, but to do it right, pay the $1700 (minus anything you’ve already paid, such as possibly the $299 for Yahoo Directory which many people have already paid. Here’s our current list of directories where we register the site: How to Register a Site with the Directories.

2. We farm out a service of registering a site with about 900 little “free” directories. Although we register with 900 of them, only about 500-600 will actually list the site, and many of them are slow to do so. This builds a lot of little links from directories.

The good thing about both 1 and 2 is that your site is usually hand-entered into the directories, so it is “human-reviewed” and thus Google pays attention to the categories in which your site is listed. This creates relevant links.

Completely aside from directories, there are two good ways to get links:

3. Go to this site:

enter in “email lists” including the quotes.

See what comes up. (You may have to download a Java applet to do this — go ahead, I believe it’s safe — I downloaded it with no ill effect).

You’ll see there various groupings of sites. Bigger circles are the sites that are doing well at Google because they have links from the smaller sites. The trick is to use the list of links on the left of the page and contact the website owners directly (by phone works best) asking for a link specifically from those pages. Try to get links from the exact same pages of the smaller sites that are linking to the larger sites. You can usually get contact info (phone number) from the website. If not, go to the whois info: – for example – you’ll find our phone number there.

4. I can run a report that gives a list of what Google considers to be the “authority” sites for any keyword phrase. (Using software for which I paid a bundle.) “Authority sites” are sites that link to two or more of the top 10 sites at Google for any particular keyword phrase. Once you know who those are (and many of them will be the same sites as in step 3 above) you can contact them asking for links from the same pages. This is best done by phone — emails requesting links are generally ignored in the flood of spam that people are receiving. (Personally I get over 2000 emails a day, 98% of which are spam. I delete most link requests without even looking at them and I’m sure the majority of site owners do the same.) I charge $100 for the report.

So those are ALL good methods of getting relevant links to your site.

Not as good but still sometimes effective:

5. Text link ads can be bought from Text Link Ads and others. Google is filtering these out wherever possible, but while Google is omnipresent, they are not yet omniscient and they will count many of these paid text links toward your ranking. The problem is that not all such links are relevant, so are somewhat wasted. Still, this system works for many companies.

An excellent source of high-quality links is article marketing (although these are short-lived and require constant campaigns to be effective):

6. Article publishing — this is a service offered by several companies — both Expansion Plus (Doug Hay and Sally Falkow) and Studio 98 Design(Rafferty Pendery) offer this service. Feel free to contact them directly.

Best regards,

Jeré Matlock
SEO Consultant
Website Design & Marketing / SEO

16 Responses to How to get links to your website – relevant backlinks are best

  1. Clive McLean July 27, 2008 at 9:56 am #

    Hi Jere’,

    I did a site search for my site and it came up with only 5 mentions. Is there any other to boost you viewing without spending tons of $$?

  2. Owner July 27, 2008 at 9:16 pm #

    Sure –

    Step 3 above costs nothing but some time. You can do it yourself and get great results — the thing to do is get *relevant* links — and that site shows you what Google thinks are relevant sites for your keywords.

    Also, you can buy Bryxen software’s Directory Submitter for about $100, and use it to register your site at about 2500 small directories. We don’t recommend that you reciprocate links if they ask for them (many little directories do) and we don’t recommend you pay for every one of the little directories that ask for payment. Instead, just find the ones that are free and submit there. That will give you about 800 “free” directory listings.

    Here’s my affiliate link to buy the Bryxen Directory Submitter:

  3. Clive McLean July 27, 2008 at 11:12 pm #

    Thanks JM

  4. Custom Application Development January 20, 2009 at 12:40 am #


    Are forums and blogs an efficient way to get high quality relevant links to the website?

  5. Owner January 20, 2009 at 2:50 pm #

    Most forums and blogs are aware that they can be “spammed” by people looking to get links to their own websites by posting forums. So if you go to a forum and think “Gee, it would be great to have a link from this forum to my site”, be aware that if you put your URL in a forum posting there and it’s not relevant, your comment will probably be edited or deleted.

    To see whether a link from a particular forum or blog is worth pursuing, click “view source” and see how they treat the links that are already on that forum. You’ll find that most of them are set to rel=”nofollow”, so that they don’t give away any page rank from the forum or blog when someone does put in a link.

    So to answer your question, I’d say, “No, it’s not an efficient way to get high quality relevant links to your website.”

    There are two efficient ways to get high quality links to your website, that I know of:

    1. Publish articles through The service is very inexpensive for the number of good links you get from it, and it is part of my standard recommendation for our clients. (Disclaimer: that’s an affiliate link – I sent them referrals for two years before they set up their affiliate system because their article publication service works well. Now I make a small amount if you sign up.)

    2. Register your site in the top 30 directories online. You can do this yourself using this page of my main website: It’s not free (for example, Yahoo Directory charges $299 just to review your site to see if they want to include it) but it is money well spent. The directories are crawled by Google, and a link from a human-edited directory page about your keywords is a very relevant link.

    Those two things are the most effective and efficient ways to get high quality links, IMHO.


    Jere Matlock

  6. michelle January 20, 2010 at 5:46 am #

    I found your webpage very helpful

  7. James Alamia March 8, 2010 at 8:26 am #

    This is a great resource Jerry. You will see that the 301 redirect is a big issue for folks doing SEO. I also like the Google Webmaster account, this needs to be done and tweaked for success.

  8. Jere Matlock March 8, 2010 at 9:47 am #

    Hi, James –

    The 301 Permanent Redirect is the Google-preferred way to handle redirects. Never set up a 302 Temporary Redirect unless it truly is temporary and then don’t keep it going for very long.

    And you’re right — the Gogle Webmaster area is very important; it pays to know what Google thinks of your website and any problems that Google is having with links to your site, or links within your site, when the Googlebot tries to crawl your site. We’ve seen it make a huge difference for some of our clients. If you’re stumped by why a site isn’t doing well in its rankings at Google, the Google webmaster zone is the place to try to figure it out.

    You sent a link to in your post, but I removed it as I do not put a whole lot of stock in automated software that tells you to do various things to rank well. IBP (Internet Business Promoter) has one of the best tools, but even that one makes mistakes and gives silly advice about keyword density and other things that don’t work when you apply their advice. IMHO, anyway.

  9. Saleem Bukhsh May 4, 2010 at 12:33 pm #

    How can i get the list of 900 free directories that you mentioned above? and is it compulsory to submit 30 paid directories for higher rank in Google?

  10. C. Gill ( Pakatan Students Consultant ) July 1, 2010 at 9:48 am #

    I need to know that Main Page URL has been submitted into Directories, then I am trying to submit the sub-pages to my websites. Is there any need to submit all our subpages ?

    You said “Relevant Backlinks” are best. Is google gives any importance to backlinks on Discussions Forums ?

  11. Jere Matlock July 1, 2010 at 11:34 am #

    Good question!

    There is no need to submit subpages of a website to directories, *unless* the website has some stellar resource that should be listed.


    These are terrific resoures into which a lot of work has been put — so they would make legitimate second entries for a directory.

    Forums typically put the rel=”nofollow” code in place on all links going outside their forum. That’s to keep people from spamming their forums to get links. But the links, if relevant, are sometimes clicked by visitors, so it can be helpful to your site to get some links from forums to your site. Just don’t “troll” the forums posting links as your main effort to get links, because it is bad manners.

    Of course the main thing is to have content worth linking to!

    Make sure you set up the “social follow” buttons on your site from, or from, and a “like” button from Facebook — those will make it easy for people to link to your site from their favorite social networking sites.

    Good luck in your linking efforts.

  12. James Alamia September 11, 2010 at 2:48 pm #

    I’m on page one for ’email lists’ now, it’s been that way for a while now. Site is a PR4. I’ve spent a lot of time doing manual directory submissions (close to 10,000 manual and managed) with some of the CS majors that work for me. After soing the SEO for some time I can totally see the solution is to have backlinks & inlinks on sites that are PR4 and better and being somewhat related to your business space. The site coding and density has helped as well but it’s the links make it work. Gotta spend the time. I think like a Google engineer may think. Reward those who work the hardest.

  13. Jere Matlock September 12, 2010 at 10:35 am #

    Hi, Jim –

    Good to hear from you again. Yes, the links do help. Having a lot of great content focused on the keyword is key, as well.

    I don’t agree about “reward those who work the hardest,” however, because Google specifically says in many places not to pay for links. They would prefer counting only “natural” links that were put up by others (not work that you’ve put into it by registering in all those directories).

    That said, we’ve found the Directory Submitter software handy to get links from many small directories. I don’t recommend signing up with all of them, but there are about 900 “free” directories on their list of 2500 directories, which do not require a reciprocal link or payment. We offer a service for $600, to register by hand in all those little directories. Feel free to contact me if you want us to register your site in them. (We’ve weeded out the ones that require payment or a reciprocal link, so it is more efficient; we just go directly to the 900 that are “free”.) Although you may have already covered all of them in your work so far.

    Good luck!


  14. Find Ferry March 29, 2011 at 4:11 am #

    I agree with Ferge. It´s time-consuming getting the links, but you will get there if you look at it as a long term project.

  15. shiva sai May 29, 2012 at 5:10 am #

    i want to know more about relevant site and relevant keywords can u help in me providing a good answer ..

  16. Jere Matlock August 29, 2012 at 6:02 pm #

    The directory submitter process recommended above is no longer recommended. It provides an “unnatural link pattern” at Google. Google’s Panda and Penguin updates have affected a large percentage of websites that had unnatural links. They can tell if the only links you have are from directories where you submitted your site. It’s time-consuming, costs money, and I’m sure that at this point, it will only harm your site’s PageRank.

    We’re not recommending the article submission service any longer either. I have a couple of clients still using the service because they are afraid to give it up because it’s the only link building they are doing. I’m trying to encourage them to do so.

    To answer the question above about relevant sites and relevant keywords, see this page of my main site: (how to pick the right keywords for your site) and this one: (how to do keyword research).

    That should help.

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