Links


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Introduction

For years search engines have been developing and refining their algorithms to ensure that results consist of quality websites. Remember the days when every so often you would inadvertently land on a spam page rife with popups a¬nd you would automatically be diverted away from the original URL? It is in the user’s best interest, and therefore Google’s, that these websites do not appear in search results.

In practise this is quite a challenge and requires constant algorithm development. As you may already know, links are a key SEO signifier which search engines use to rank websites; links are seen as a vote of confidence from one site to another. This worked well until some webmasters began to manipulate the search rankings by creating an abundance of links.

Google realised that its algorithm was under threat as many spam websites were able to climb back to the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs). Once this had been identified Google got back to work in developing their algorithm further and made it more advanced than ever before.

We aren’t saying links are the be all and end all of SEO. Links are estimated to account for around 40% of SEO so clearly they are exceptionally important, but other factors must also be considered.

Google’s algorithm is more sophisticated than ever before and is now able to analyse each link, ranking its worth. Google researchers have identified an occurring trend that low quality spam websites tend to link to similar sites, whereas quality websites are able to attract and gain links from other quality websites.

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Highly reputable brands would not want to damage their reputation by referring its visitors to a spam website.

It’s important that you apply logic when you conduct link building; aim for quality over quantity. Quite simply the easier a link was to gain, the less valuable that link is for your website.

Going beyond quality and quantity, Google now focuses much more on the relevance of the links you gain. The more relevant that the page linking to your website is, the more valuable the link is.

Leading Websites

Reputable and popular websites have thousands of links pointing to them from all over the internet. The BBC website is a great example of this. As an internet marketer and website owner gain quality links to your website should be one of your priorities. This is typically achieved through sharing quality content, asking for a link in return for something, offering to guest post for websites, or to exchange links.

Local Links

If you want to rank for localised search terms then you will need to gain links from other websites and businesses based in that area. Again, the more popular and authoritative these links are the better!

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Topical Links

You should try to obtain links from other websites in your industry. Close competitors, industry relevant blogs and news sites or industry regulatory sites are the kinds of places you could consider.

Anchor Text

Using keyword rich anchor text is a proven method of achieving a good website ranking. The key is to use “the search term you want to rank for as the anchor text

It’s important not to get anchor text crazy and over optimise for any single term, as this would be deemed as spam. Instead, develop a natural and diverse anchor text profile.

Trusted Websites

Google hates spam sites and so does everything it can to eliminate a poor quality web page from appearing within the search results.

Search engines are continuously increasing the value of links gained from quality, reputable sites and decreasing the value of low quality links pointing to a website. By polarising links based on quality, poor links will eventually be eradicated.

As mentioned previously, it’s logical that quality websites will be picky with what websites it links to and in turn, links earned from these sites will enhance your website ranking.

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.org and .gov websites tend to be some of the most trusted websites on the web, so if it is at all possible to gain a link from these then do. Just one of these links is worth more than thousands of poor quality links.

Do Not Link To Just Anyone

While who links to your website it is out of your control, you control which websites you link to and Google will consider your site spam if you link to poor quality websites.

Be cautious who you link to as your reputation is on the line, both on and off the internet.

New Links

Google is aware that after time things become less popular, some businesses close down and websites get abandoned.

Most links also decay after time as pages are deleted, websites are revamped, businesses close down and content is removed. If your website stops gaining new links it may drop down the rankings because Google will assume that it isn’t popular anymore.

If your site is left stagnant then other websites are likely to stop linking to you and hits will probably fall. By producing new content your website will remain current and interesting, and you will get new links and users. In short, for long lasting success you need to keep your website fresh and create new links.

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Social Signals

The power of links shared via social media websites such as Google+, Linked In, Facebook and Twitter are making a positive impact on search rankings. This form of link carries far less weight than a traditional link, their value is unquestionably increasing. It is yet another logical measurement set by Google; popular websites would be talked about and their web pages shared.

If your brand is popular and your content engaging many more people are likely to share.

Summary

As a website owner or internet marketer it’s your responsibility to create a natural, high quality link profile. Since search engines update their algorithm regularly, we would advise you to build a broad and varied link profile.

Too many links of the same type will make it clear that you are creating rather than generating links. A variety will also ensure that your website is less affected by drastic changes in the algorithm.

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