We’re approaching the last few articles in this series and we’re moving into the big action area of SEO.
Following on from my blog “I want to do my own Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) where do I start?” this series covers each of the seven areas in a little more detail so that you can really boost your rankings online.
Links – A.K.A Hyperlinks
The way I describe links from one website to another is to think of the way we vote for MP’s and Politicians. Each link in the eyes of search engines acts as a vote that assists with your website rankings performance – almost like casting enough votes to elect your favoured Politician. The one difference here is that with search engines one websites link can be valued (ranked) higher than another. So it’s not purely a matter of the most links the better, it’s more quality rather than quantity.
Just so you get a good grasp of what links have to offer with your SEO results, read on through these important factors.
- Internal – Linking to your own web pages
- Anchor Text – Use a good descriptive phrase
- Outbound – Who you link to
- Back links / Inbound – Who links to you
- How to get links
- Authority sites
Linking to your own pages through use of a good main menu, a site map page, internal content links and footer links are all great ways to ensure your website is well connected. This is important because once search engines begin indexing (listing) your pages, you want them to be able to find all of the pages on your website and associated with the correct anchor text.
If you’ve not heard of it before, anchor text is very important when linking to another page on your website, an external website or how external websites link to you. You may have seen links on web pages and have an understanding of how they normally look, but just to make anchor text clear here are a few examples.
- This is how you may see a normal link: www.google.co.uk
- Here is the same link as above pointing to the same place, www.google.co.uk but with anchor text Google Search UK
What you will notice is that the first example uses the web address as the anchor text, where as the second uses a descriptive phrase “Google Search UK”, but still points to the same web address.
Very Important! When it comes to great SEO the second example above, where the descriptive phrase is used for your link anchor text, this is what you should aim for every time you place or receive a link.
Search engines when indexing your pages will read the links on your web pages and where anchor text is used, they will associate the anchor text with the link that it points to, thus placing importance and relevance of anchor text with the underlying link.
When ever you place a link to one of your pages or receive a link from another website to your own, make sure you use anchor text. A good rule is to use a key phrase from your keyword research, see article 1 of 7 from this series, as this will have a positive impact with your search rankings and results.
These are the links you put in place on your website and web pages pointing to other websites.
Linking from your website to others is also important with improving your search engine rankings as who you link to online is in effect who you are voting for.
The negative effects of out bound links:
Unmonitored or user generated links can reduce your websites credibility, especially if the link has no relevance or offends your website readers. Especially for more advanced web savvy users, so try to keep to no more than 100 outbound links per web page, which is generally good practice on the internet.
In terms of SEO receiving a hyperlink or link from one web site to your own web site is a highly IMPORTANT factor. External hyper linking can be both good and bad, so to get it right only accept links from web sites who have similar content, or web sites of good quality (E.g. Do NOT have web site links from Casino’s or web sites offering diet pills etc).
How to get links
Exchanging links with other websites is a great way to get back links, some websites may have a submission page whilst others you will need to contact. If you are planning on exchanging links its good practice to exchange links with websites or companies who fit close to your industry and website content as this will emphasise relevance.
Below is an example email that you can use for FREE to exchange links with your website and another:
- First Get the web address (URL) of the company / website or web page, you wish to exchange links with.
- Find the company email address so you can contact them later on.
- Place the link onto your e.g. links page.
- Now create your email with instructions to exchange links and send to the email address you got at point 2 of this list.
- Email Subject (Pay a compliment): Your Website is fantastic.
- Create the email Content:
Hi (If you know the contact name put it here!),
I have been on your website and found the content and what you have to say great. It’s obvious you have put great effort into it. I wish to exchange links with your website as this will be mutually beneficial for both our websites for achieving good rankings with Search Engines (E.g. Google).
I have already placed your link here: (Put the web address of your own links page here)
My Link details for you to place on your links page are:
Title: (Put your website Name OR Your Product Name OR A Key Phrase)
URL: (Your website address OR The page you wish to link to on your website)
Description: Short description of the page they will be linking to.
Please reply to this email to confirm when you have added my link on your web page.
(Put your name here)
To make the exchanging of links an even easier process you could setup a links page on your website ready with the details of how you wish to exchange links, making it easy for people to link to your website with the details you want used. Here is an example of how you may lay this out on your links page, with three key pieces of information, Title – Anchor Text, URL – Web Address, Description – A 25-30 word sentence describing the page to be linked to.
Title: Online Marketing Strategy
Description: Leon Streete is a professional who focuses his experience on Online Marketing Strategies to boost the ROI of his clients online marketing budget.
Article submission websites allow users to submit and post articles on any given subject area and can result in the author becoming known as a professional or export in the area that they write about.
Article submission websites offer some great options for back linking to your website. Most are set up and require you to register with a profile where you enter details as part of your individual biography and come with options to enter your web address, blog web address and more. The great thing with article submission websites is the rankings they hold with search engines because of their age, social use and traffic volumes. Some examples include; www.ezinearticles.com and www.scribd.com
Directory websites are a great way to get back links. Most will offer a free submission where you can create a profile entry and get a back link to your website, whilst others you may need to pay for, or they offer a paid featured listing which you will need to pay for, for your back link to be visible to search engines. What I will say here is that most of the websites that offer you great rankings from a back link are FREE.
One way to look at search engines is that they in themselves are big directory websites, they list and order web pages by country, topic (page content) relevance and more increasingly locality and socially. In fact the main directory websites that are free are also classed as authority sites.
Authority sites are normally websites with a mature domain age. Through the age and a mixture of longevity, consistency with content and traffic, they indicate to search engines their importance and long term appeal in their industry as apposed to a website set up with a short term goal.
Quality natural SEO results, back links, outbound links and more recently mass social appeal and usage, demonstrate to Search engines their authority over other websites. These are only a few factors that give authority websites their title, and in terms of SEO if you can gain a back link from one of these websites it will be worth a lot to your rankings. Authority is Trust from Search Engines.
Links and Hyperlinks are currently with search engines, one of the most important ranking factors for SEO, don’t get me wrong there are a number of elements to SEO but having great backlinks can have a really positive effect on your rankings (Search Engine Results Pages – SERP).
My advice to you is to go for quality over quantity. I’ve witnessed the power of one good link, on my own website, out do another competitor who has 50 – 100 back links.
When I’m creating links or exchanging I look for rel=”dofollow” in the html source code view, links from authority sites – websites that the search engines rank very highly, and high page rank domains, as the domain PageRank can eventually pass down to lower or non ranked pages. Whilst PageRank is not an indication to how well your website is ranked, I’ve found it does play a part.
Link building must be a continual process that is reviewed as part of your marketing, monthly and quarterly. Why should it, you may ask? Well just think if you’re optimising and link building, are your competitors?
So long as you put the right effort in you’ll get the right results out, don’t leave it to chance or be reactive – your link building should be proactive and work for you, so that you get the right level of Return On Investment (ROI) from your SEO activity.
Read the follow up to this blog: SEO 7 of 7: Social Media – Who likes you, who do you follow?
I want to hear from you and your views on this topic, if you’ve got any great comments, achieved some great SEO results of your own or advice to add to this, please do. Good luck with your online marketing.