Building for Top Search Engine Placement (Part 1)
search engine rankings can no longer be gained just by
having a well designed website with the appropriate metatags.
There are now numerous factors that are taken into consideration
when determining the ranking of your website and one to
be taken very seriously is the external links to your
Links to your site are not the most important factor in
determining your ranking and your site will still have
to be well-optimised to rank well, however, when all else
is equal (i.e. when your competitors also have well-optimised
sites) this can be the determining factor between being
found and being buried in the search engine rankings.
The first consideration you have to make in your link-building
efforts is who should be linking to you and whom you should
link to. These are two separate considerations and despite
the fact that you will be working on both at the same
time, they must be considered independently.
Should Link To You? (Incoming Links)
When you are looking for sites to link to you there are
five considerations to be taken into account:
Do they compete with
you? While you can try to request
a link from a site that provides the same or similar products
and services that you do, this is generally a waste of
time that could be spent finding legitimate links from
sites that would like to promote your product or service.
Does their site relate
to your content? If you have a site
promoting carpet cleaning products, a link from a hair
salon will not be of much benefit. Google and the other
major search engines look for content relationship when
determining the value of a link. If the content of the
two sites is totally unrelated the link is given very
little weight if any. Focus only on attaining links from
sites relevant to your own.
How does Google rate
the site? Google has come out with
a fantastic tool called the Google Toolbar. The advanced
version of the toolbar includes the PageRank of the site
you are currently visiting. Without getting into a long
description of PageRank (see Google's definition), the
higher the number the better (it is a ranking out of 10
where traditionally anything from 4 is good and anything
above 6 is excellent. If Google rates the site well then
the link will be more valued than from a site that Google
rates poorly. When looking for links give more time and
attention to those with PageRanks of 4 or higher. The
Google Toolbar is a free
download available from Google.
Will they require
a reciprocal link? Whether the site
will require a reciprocal link or not is a serious consideration.
The more links to your site that you have that are not
reciprocated the better. These links are given added weight.
This area will be addressed further below.
How many links on
the page? How many links are on the
page that will link to you, and where your link will be
placed is another serious consideration. If your link
from their site will be on a page with 100 other links
then the value of the link itself is greatly reduced.
Also, whether your link will be on the top of the page
or the bottom will also determine the value of the link
may be a lot to consider, however it can save you enormous
amounts of time and frustration. People will often work
for hours to attain a link from a site they like when
in reality the site has a low PageRank and the link won't
even carry much weight as far as search engine placement
is concerned, although as a general rule any relevant
inbound link will be of use. If you find a related site
with a PageRank of 2 that is very simple to get a link
from, it's well worth your time to do so given that the
time taken is only about 5 minutes. Not all link building
is this simple and it's in the more advanced efforts (email
communications with the webmaster for example) that you
will want to apply the above noted "rules".
Should You Link To? (Outgoing Links)
The question, "who should you link to?" is a
very serious one and can have significant repercussions
on your search engine placement. If you are linking to
sites, this is your way of saying, "This site is
highly relevant to mine and that my visitors will enjoy
the content on it." For this reason the following
three considerations should be made when determining whether
reciprocal links are in your best interest. Factors of
the website that should be considered when determining
whether to link to that website are:
Is the site's content
related to yours? Like incoming links
(sites linking to you), the relevancy of the content on
both sites should be high. If you have a number of links
from your site to websites that are completely unrelated
to you, the value of these links is negligible and further,
will reduce the perceived value of your site.
Does the site compete
with you? In this case it is your
interests, not those of the other webmaster, which must
be taken into account. Do you want to link to a site that
provides the same or similar products/services as you?
Unless the site is willing to reciprocate the link and
they have a very high PageRank it is probably not wise
to give your visitors the opportunity to go to the site
of a competitor.
What is their PageRank?
Many people falsely believe that any outbound link will
hurt website placement. This is simply not the case. Poor
link-building is the cause of this misconception, not
the link itself. When you are determining whether to link
to another site, take a look at the PageRank it has been
assigned by Google. Like the boost this gives to your
site in the incoming links, so too can this have a positive
effect on your outbound links. If all of your outbound
links are to highly regarded sites (by the search engines)
and their content is relevant to yours then these links
will help, and not hinder your rankings.
next month's newsletter for Part 2 of "Link
Building for Top Search Engine Placement")
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