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Link Building for Top Search Engine Placement (Part 1)

High 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 website.

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.

Links That Work
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.

Who 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:

1) 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.

2) 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.

3) 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.

4) 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.

5) 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 itself.

This 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".

Who 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:

1) 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.

2) 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.

3) 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.

(Check next month's newsletter for Part 2 of "Link Building for Top Search Engine Placement")


A great way to improve your link popularity which is directly related to your search engine ranking, is to take advantage of our FREE classified advertisement offer. We have "classifieds" on our four town websites (www.matamata-info.co.nz/classifieds.html - www.morrinsville-info.co.nz/classifieds.html - www.tearoha-info.co.nz/classifieds.html - www.thames-info.co.nz/classifieds.html) and they receive an enormous amount of visitors - if you're not there you're missing out !! All you have to do is forward us 25 words about your business - a breeze surely !! Your classified advertisement will be linked to your website and can also have an email link on it if requested.

Leanne Taylor
:: www.wwwdesign.co.nz ::
Award Winning Website Design, Hosting & Maintenance
Phone/Fax (09) 817 9656 ~ Mobile (0274) 701990


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