From the September 2006 issue of Entrepreneur

Getting links to your website is critical. First, links from quality sites direct quality prospects to your business. And there's a second benefit: Search engines reward sites that have great link popularity with higher rankings in search results.

Want an easy way to find link partners? Start with your competitors. Companies that link to them might link to you. All you need is the marketing insider's secret code for uncovering their treasure. Go to a search engine such as Google, MSN Search or Yahoo!, and instead of typing a keyword into the search field, type "link:" and a competitor's URL (for example, link:www.competitor.com). Also try adding a space between the colon and the first "w."

Voil�! The search engine will display the web pages that link to your competitor. In one step, you'll spot sites that could link to yours if you ask, trade links or pay them. You can find out who's linking to you, too. You might want to create formal partnerships with companies that already support your business. Of course, if you see your business getting a bad rap online, resolve the situation quickly. Your link popularity is in your control.