The need for a strong link building program is critical to the organic success of your web site within the top search engines.
As a measure of your sites importance on the web and to help determine how relevant your site is to the words or phrases entered by a searcher, most of the top search engines take into account the number of links from other web sites that point to your site. This is commonly referred to as Link Popularity.
The search engines figure that the more incoming, relevant links you have pointing to your site, the more popular your site must be. As far as the search engine is concerned, if a site is popular it must be relevant.
Here are some great guidelines for starting a link popularity/link reputation campaign:
- Try to link to authority pages in your line of business. Authority pages can be considered your industries most well know and trusted sites. For example www.ESPN.com may be seen as a sports-industry authority, while www.nfl.com may be seen as the top authority having to do strictly with football. Continuing with this trend, www.nfl.com has greater influence than www.newyorkjets.com and www.newyorkjets.com has greater authority over a jets fan club site like www.jets-fan.com. Find out who the authority sites are in your industry and try to get them to link to you.
- Try linking to your site from pages that have a Google PageRank (PR) of 4 or more. Sites with a higher page rank typically are trusted more by Google and therefore are of a better quality. They can also improve your standings in the search engines over sites you link to that have lower PR. The more trust google has in sites that link to you the more they trust your site.
- Directory listings like those in Yahoo.com, DMOZ.org, Business.com, and many of the various yellow pages are sometimes GREAT places to establish links. Many are free while others may cost you a few bucks annually or monthly. However, the additional expense may be well worth it in both additional visits directly from those sites as well as increased link popularity and higher organic rankings for your site. Be sure to closely monitor any site that you shell out money for so you can measure what kind of return you get. Those sites that produce quality visitors can then get more of your advertising budget in subsequent months/years.
- Try acquiring links on pages that have the same or similar keywords and phrases as the ones you are targeting for your own website. These types of inbound links are considered to be of a higher quality than pages linking to you without those words. Check for these related words in places like the title tags, description, h1, body text, link text, alt text and more of the site you want linked to you.
- Sites that are in a similar or related businesses to your own will be higher quality links to obtain than those on a page of an unrelated business.
- URL’s containing your keywords or related words “keyword.html”, “keyword-phrase.html”, “Another_keyword.htm”, etc… may be considered to be of higher quality than URL’s without those words.
- The fewer the number of links appearing on pages that link to you the better. Pages with fewer links on them pass more PageRank or “link juice” and can be considered of higher quality than pages with hundreds or thousands of links.
- Text links are always better than Graphic Links as they can (and should) contain some of your keywords.
- Having keywords in your company name can have an influence on how you rank for your main keywords. For example, we named out training company the Tampa SEO Training Academy so whenever anyone links to our company name without our knowledge, they are automatically adding our most powerful keywords to the link text they use. Our company name come built in (on purpose) with great keywords and therby add greatly to our link reputation.
- When building links to your site, change up the text you use to create the actual link pointing to your site. For example, “My Keyword Phrase”, “Another Keyword Phrase”, “My Company”, etc… Google may apply a penalty if too many of the text-links being used to link to you say exactly the same thing. It does not look “natural” and so may hurt your rankings. Be sure to mix up the inbound link-text as you create your links.
- Wherever possible and when it makes sense, try to acquire a link that points to one of your interior pages. Something like a product line page, or a category listing page, perhaps even a particular service that you offer. This is known as deep linking and can have a nice effect on the PR and link reputation of the page it’s pointing to.
- You may NEED to set up a links page in order to offer reciprocal links to some of these places you want to link to. Of course, don’t just link to someone for the sake of linking. Be sure the page you exchange links with is in a similar or related business and that they have content you’d feel comfortable having your clients read, because they may if you link back to them. Also, try naming the file something other than “links.html”. Use something like “resources.html”or “yourkeyword-resources.html” and be sure to use this link when asked where to find the reciprocal link.
- DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE, link to FFA (Free For All) links pages.
- Stay away from emails that say they will submit your site to 2,000 search engines for $50/month as these usually just set you up for lot’s of spam and other junk. Remember, there are only 3 major search engines. Many of the smaller ones even get their listings from one of the other three. Focus on the three big ones, Google, Yahoo, & MSN and you should be fine.
So what does all this really mean.. well, in an ideal world the best link to establish would be on a site, in a field closely to your own, that had a PR of 4 or better, with the keyword you are targeting somewhere in its html (preferably the title tag of the page), and a that has a relatively small number of outbound links.
Hope this helps!
Good Luck with your Links!
Tampa SEO Training Academy
Steve Scott is the CEO & Director of Training at the Tampa SEO Training Academy. He has taught SEO skills to people from around the world and currently offers his hands-on search engine optimization training workshops in Tampa to individuals and businesses of all sizes. Corporate SEO training classes and consulting are also available.