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Optimizing for Bing in 2010 - Part IV: Link Authority
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
In case, you missed our first couple of post in our series optimizing for Bing in 2010, here is a recap:

Optimizing for Bing in 2010 - Part I
Optimizing for Bing in 2010 - Part II: Content Optimization
Optimizing for Bing in 2010 - Part III: Site Architecture

The third component to focus on when optimizing your website for Bing search results is link authority, more specifically building quality links to your web properties. Depending on who you talk to, there are different ways to accomplish this. Some will tell you to submit your site to various directories, some will tell you to purchase links while others will tell you to create content that will naturally acquire links.  While it is a little more work, I recommend the third option.  Creating important, useful content can be a great way to build the link inventory of your site.

So before you go out and start trying to acquire links, it is important to understand just exactly what a quality link is.  A quality link is:
  • one that comes from a site/page that is related to your content
  • one that features similar or the same keywords that are found on your site pages
  • one that features keyword placement in the anchor or linking text in the link to your page
There are additional criteria that make a "good link" a "good link" as we have highlighted in a previous post, Building External Link Inventory: 11 Things to Look for in a Good Link.   Hopefully you have a general idea of what makes a link a quality link.  With link building it is not necessarily the number of links that you have, it is more about the number of quality links that you have.  When optimizing for Bing, it is definitely a matter of quality of quantity (not unlike Google) when it comes to building your link authority.

How Do I Build Link Authority When Optimizing for Bing?

Again general best practices should apply here, but when seeking links and building your external link inventory, there are a number of items to consider.  Bing's position on link building is straightforward - according to Bing, "we are less concerned about the link building techniques used than we are about the intentions behind the effort." 
  1. Bing prefers quality over quantity - Inbound links (aka backlinks) are crucial to your site’s success in ranking.  Backlinks should be relevant to the page being linked to or relevant to your domain if being linked to the homepage. Inbound links from sites considered to be authoritative in their field are of higher value than those from unrelated sites.
  2. Keep links up to date - Thinking of moving your site or changing your site's URL?  Notify websites linking to you of your new web address. When you implement a permanent redirect, it's a good idea to ask websites that link to yours to update their links to your website.
  3. Link Building should be on-going - according to Bing, you need to consistently build your backlink inventory.  In fact the Bing webmaster team has recommended leveraging the following for improving backlinks to your sites:
    • Start a blog. Write content that will give people a reason to link to your website.
    • Join a reputable industry association. Oftentimes they will list their members and provide links to their websites.
    • Get involved with your community. Participating with your community through blogs, forums, and other online resources may give you legitimate reasons to provide links to your site.
    • Do you have helpful tips about your business that people might be interested in? Pitch your story to a reporter, and they might link to your site in an online story.
    • Press releases. If your company has scheduled a significant public event, consider publishing an online press release.
    • Suppliers and partners. Ask your business partners if they would add a section to their websites describing your partnership with a link to your website. Or, if your suppliers have a website, perhaps they have a page where they recommend local distributers of their products.
    • Evangelize your site in the real world. Promote your website with business cards, magnets, USB keys, and other fun collectibles.
  4. Content is king - oh no not this again.  Well we cannot understate the importance of informative and useful content when it comes to link acquisition.  Providing high-quality content on your pages is the single most important thing you can do to attract inbound links. If your content is unique and useful to people, your site will naturally attract visitors and, as a result, automatically get good links to your site. By focusing on great content, over time, your site will naturally acquire those coveted inbound links.
  5. Relevance is important -  unrelated links carry minimal value with Bing.  If your site is about "green widgets" than other widget sites that link to you are relevant.  If other "green widget" sites link to you, these links are even more relevant.  Get the picture?  
  6. Avoid link exchanges - there is really no value in these especially if the site you exchange links with is totally unrelated to your site's content.
  7. Links from authority sites carry more weight - a site that has built an authority for a given topic will provide a highly qualified link.  In Google, this is in part determined by PageRank.  (i.e. a link from a related site with a PR of 7 carries more weight that a link from a related site with a PR of 1.).  These types of links are not always easy to obtain, but getting a handful of these types of links can make a great distance.  Think of getting links from .edu or .org sites as the engines (Bing included) tend to treat these sites as more authoritative.
  8. Work within your community - Identify relevant industry experts, product reviewers, bloggers, and media people and let them know about your site and its content.  Links from these resources can provide great benefit.
    • Participate in relevant blogs and forums and refer back to your site's content when applicable
    • Join and participate in relevant industry associations and especially in their online forums
  9. Publish expert articles to online article directories - articles can be great forms of linkbait that can drive quality traffic and improve the link authority of your site.
  10. Leverage social media - Use social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to connect to industry influencers to establish contacts, some of whom may connect back to you.
  11.  Avoid buying links to artificially inflate your link inventory - according to Bing, "...Paying for or participating in non-relevant link exchange schemes will not improve your page rank with Bing, and in fact, it could very well hurt it. What will ultimately improve your page rank is creating great content, earning inbound links from relevant, authoritative websites, and performing legitimate SEO on your site. If you build your site with a focus on helping people find great information, you'll be on the right track for earning the highest rank your site deserves."
  12. Monitor your link inventory and remove bad links where required - Submit a request on the Webmaster Center's Crawling/Indexing Discussion forum. As long as you own the site hosting the page with the bad link, Bing can help by deleting the content from the index, the cache, or both.
The Bing webmaster team has shared some of these tips and more here.   Remember that the Bing ranking algorithm analyzes factors such as webpage content, the number and quality of websites that link to your pages, and the relevance of your website’s content to keywords.  Improving your link authority is but one piece of the equation when optimizing for Bing in 2010.

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posted by Jody @ Wednesday, September 22, 2010  
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