Better Links for Better Ranking
Linking and Search Engines
Posted by Adam Hayes
The type, authority, quality, and quantity of links that link to your site is critical to great search engine placement.
The Internet is based on links. Plain and simple. That is why we call it the world wide web. Pages interlinking between hundreds and thousands of other pages creating an enormous web of information. When Google decided to create Pagerank based on links and link authority, the importance of links increased exponentially.
In overly simple terms, each link is like a vote for a specific page. The more votes a page gets, the more likely that page is going to rank better for that given term. Unfortunately, not every vote is worth the same amount. Here are some main points that will get you "better" votes:
- Authority of the site linking to you
- Topic of the site linking to you
Most links are not as "useful" as they could be. Every link should have a "vote" and an "identifier". For example, if you link to my site using the text "http://www.ahfx.net " you have given me a "vote" and also "voted" for me to be called "http://www.ahfx.net". That isn't as beneficial as linking to my site using the text "Best Idaho Web Designer ." Now you have voted for me and also told the search engine exactly which keywords (in this case "Best Idaho Web Designer") you want me listed under. Here is a simple hierarchy of links starting with the worst:
- Image link with no alt text
- Search Engines cannot read images, so if you link using an image and no alt text, you have given a vote, but haven't specified keywords to associate with that page.
- Image link with alt text
- Because the search engine has to "trust" that you have given an accurate alt tag, it can't know for sure that you are telling the truth. Consequently, it ranks these links lower.
- Text link with site name as link text.
- This gives the page a link, but you haven't specified keywords to associate with the page (just the site name, that it already probably ranks well for, unless you've really screwed up.....)
- Text link with keywords in the text
- This is an ideal link. You get the vote, plus the vote counts towards your specific keywords. Ideally, you will mix these keywords up a bit on each link that comes into your site so they look as "natural" as possible.
Authority of site linking to you
Just like in real life, there are some people that have much more influence on what people think than others. On the web, these sites are called "Authoritative Sites". Authoritative sites get their authority because they have accumulated numerous links for specific keywords. If an authority links to you, more than likely they will be agreeing with what you had to say and believe that it would be beneficial to those visiting their site. This is like when the Governor of your state comes and gives his "support" to a local mayor that is running in your city. His opinion probably means more than Tim the newspaper boy.
Staying on Topic
The main topic of the site linking to you is also important. A link from the local auto repair store isn't going to be as useful to a flower shop as a link from your rose distributor's website. Links from similar or complementary businesses will be much more beneficial than off topic links.
The more inbound, quality links you can build the better your chances are of ranking well for the given keywords. To be successful you should have a link building plan. Try adding a few links every week. You will be surprised how quickly those links add up.
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