You can use these poker link building secrets to improve your site performance. That’s about all the introduction that this blog post needs really; I’m going to devote the rest of the post to actually sharing the linkbuilding secrets.

Poker Link Building Secret #1 – The key to a successful linkbuilding campaign for a poker site is to methodically find sites that might link to your site, and to then give them a reason to link to you.

Being methodical means making a list. It doesn’t have to be, and probably won’t ever be, comprehensive, but making lists is the key to productivity in almost any endeavor, and poker link building is just one of them. For most people, the easiest way to make lists of link targets is to break those targets into categories. Some example categories of link targets for poker sites might include:

  • General directories
  • Poker directories
  • News websites
  • Poker news websites
  • Poker blogs
  • Poker forums
  • Social media sites

Some people create a huge list of targets and then work on them for a long time, while others create a short list, work on those, then expand their list. I talked about that in my previous post about managing a poker link building campaign.

Giving other sites a reason to link to you is the second part of this secret that gives most people trouble. What are some reasons another site might link to yours? What combinations of reasons would encourage another site to link to yours? A site might link to you for any of the following reasons:

  • The site owner likes your content.
  • The site owner appreciates your link to his content and wants to return the favor. (Don’t be afraid of reciprocal links, but don’t make that your sole link building strategy, either.)
  • You’re willing to pay the site owner to link to you. (This is a tricky link to get, and I’ll talk about that in a future post.)
  • The site provides a collection of resources, and your site is a resource.

That last reason is usually the best site to target for links, because a link from there will be high value, and they’ll be one of the most likely targets to actually link to you. The secret? Your site usually really does have to be a real resource, and not just a banner farm which paraphrases all of the information available on 100 other would-be resource sites.

Poker Link Building Secret #2 – The best sources for links are trusted websites and trusted web pages.

Google used to treat all links the same. But that was a long time ago. Now, Google only trusts links from certain web sites and certain web pages. My guess is that 80% or more of the pages online don’t provide you with any search engine ranking benefit in Google at all. And different pages and sites have different degrees of trust. Anchor text on one site might be given credit while the PageRank benefit isn’t credited. Or a page might provide both benefits. Or neither.

How do you know which links are trusted by the search engines? That’s hard. One approach I take when looking at prospective link targets is to eliminate the sites and pages that I wouldn’t trust links from. I call it “finding trusted sites by the process of elimination”. If I find a poker blog I’m interested in asking for a link from, and I see the usual batch of linkbuying superstars listed there in the blogroll, then I don’t want a link from that blogroll. I might enjoy having an in-context link from a post, but I sure don’t want to create a backlink footprint that associates me with all of the other obvious link buyers in that blogroll, even if those sites rank well. Because just ranking well now doesn’t mean anything; I want to rank well now and tomorrow, and you should too.

One place to find trusted sites is in the resource sections of authority sites. Another place to look is in the directories that are hard to get into, like Yahoo, DMOZ, and to a lesser extent, BOTW and JoeAnt. Sites that rank well in Google for competitive phrases are usually trusted sites, but not always. Look at all of the sites on your target list closely before asking for a link from them, and if they’re doing ANYTHING that might be considered shady or deceptive, delete them from your list of targets, and look for links elsewhere.

Poker Link Building Secret #3 – It’s not a choice between generating content or building links. Generating content IS building links.

If you don’t have content, you’re not going to get good links, period. And the quality of your content is going to determine the quality of the links you’re able to get, and quality is the name of the game. It’s going to work something like this.

  • A site with poor content will only get links from other sites with poor content.
  • A site with mediocre content will only get links from other sites with mediocre or poor content , but most mediocre sites or better won’t link to you.
  • A site with average content will only get links from other sites with average, mediocre or poor content, but most average sites or better won’t link to you.
  • A site with good content will only get links from other sites with good, average, mediocre or poor content, but most good sites or better won’t link to you.
  • A site with outstanding content will be able to get links from almost any other site.

So if you want good quality links to your site, you should focus on having outstanding content. It’s a must.\

Link Building Secret #4 – It’s okay to have more than one website, and it’s okay to link from one of your sites to another of your sites.

The “mininet” strategy used to be hugely popular, but it was a cheesy and tricky strategy to pull off. Most people didn’t take the time to create unique content on the multiple sites in their mininet, and they also didn’t bother to build unique links to each site in the mininet. The mininet strategy works fine, but here are some tips:

  • The sites should be about different subjects. A mininet with sites about Texas holdem, Omaha, and stud would be effective, because each site focuses on a different game. A mininet with sites about bingo, keno, and the lottery would also be effective. The sites should be related in some way, so that the links look natural and appropriate, but they should be about different subjects.
  • You don’t need a lot of sites. I don’t have a specific number, but three sites in a mininet can be very effective. Two sites can be effective, and so can one site. A hundred sites might be a lot less effective. Don’t generate your sites with any kind of automation, and make sure each site has plenty of content. Three sites with three pages on each site isn’t a very effetive mininet, but two sites with 300 pages on each site might be a very effective mininet.
  • You should build external links to each of the sites, and you don’t want all of the sites in your network to have the same backlink structure. In fact, if your network of sites have exactly the same sets of backlinks, there’s really no point in pursuing a multiple site strategy from a link building perspective.
  • Don’t be afraid to crosslink your sites naturally. Most people think they have to be shy about crosslinking their sites. But if you follow the guidelines above, you have no reason to be shy or scared. Build real sites, link the pages on those sites together where it makes sense, and don’t worry about triggering penalties. Nothing is more natural than to refer someone to another site you own for additional information. Some webmasters worry so much about looking natural that they forget how to BE natural.

Link building starts at home.

Link Building Secret #5 – Think local. Think geographically.

The most unexplored niche in poker is the local and geographic niche. I pointed out on the radio show that if you launch a poker site targeted at a specific locale, you can pick up links from within that geographic local easily, and these are links no one else in the poker world can get. Not unless they also own a local poker site in your are.

Think small. Think geographic. It doesn’t matter if your hometown is tiny, there are almost assuredly other poker players there who would like to connect with other poker players in the area. And you should be able to pick up a dozen great links from other local sites with little problem.

Then you can use that link power toward your other poker sites with a few well-place links to the rest of your network.

And those are the biggest, best, and most important link building secrets for poker websites you’ll ever need to know.