Friday, 27 July 2007 00:00

Link building for SEO

Getting links to your website is a good idea for SEO (search engine optimization) but not all links are created equal. Inbound links (links from other sites to yours) are one factor considered by search engines when determining the relevance of your site for a given search phrase. The thought being, if people are linking to your site it must be worth linking to. However, the quality of those links plays a role in how your site is viewed in the eyes of search engines. The best way to generate links is have something worth linking to so people will link to it naturally. But, even if you have great link bait on your site you will want to augment this natural process with some active link building. In general the best inbound links to acquire are text based links, from on topic or related sites, linking to internal pages on yours site with relevant link text.

Text based links:

Why is this type of link important? Let’s consider image links vs. text links. In general text links are preferred over image links. Since search engine robots don’t have eyes, they can’t determine what a picture is unless you tell them. This is done through giving an image an “alt” tagthat describes what the image is. However, verifying that the image and the alt tag are related is problematic for the robot thus adding an element of doubt in to the equation. Remember we want to reinforce the fact that our site is what we say it is by sending signs of quality and relevance. Text is read easily by the robots and therefore is easier to verify if the link text is relevant to the link destination. For example, if your link text says “kid’s toys” but the link points to a page about “Trout Fishing” that would consider this a low quality link because It adds no value to the user experience.

On topic & related Sites.

When requesting links form other sites consider sites that are related to your topic or theme as your main focus. Note: If you are trading links you should only consider related sites. One way links from off topic sites are normally acceptable but not preferred. Just remember to stay away from shady neighborhoods.

Relevant link text & Linking to internal pages.

The text used to link to your site also plays a role in building trust. If the text used to link to your site uses some of the key phrases you are targeting on your page or are related to it, it helps to reinforce the message that this is relevant content. You often see sites linking directly to the home page of a site for example… “An excellent resource for web marketing services in southern Maine is www.intelligentdevelopment.com.” This is fine but a better link to get will use key words that reinforce what the site is about in the link. For example… “An excellent resource for web marketing services in southern Maine is Intelligent Development". This helps to reinforce that this site is actually what it says it is and therefore builds trust. Notice the link in the 2 previous examples points to the home page but as we discussed previously, we would prefer this link go to an internal page. This might look something link this… “Here is excellent resource for web marketing services in southern Maine. Check out the blog at IntelligentDevelopment.com”.

See the difference? This link actually liked to an internal page relevant to the link text and on topic. One reason links going to your internal pages is beneficial is that it helps reinforce the trust of that particular page. For example most sites have a range of topics they cover so if someone simply links to your home page it is like saying “Look at this site” (Good, but it’s a bit non committal) . When they link to a specific internal page in your site its like saying “Hey! This is really relevant information. Check it out.” Which would you feel better about clicking on? Happy link building:-)

Have Questions? Contact me.


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