|Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Information|
The Fundamentals of Inbound Links
We have all heard that adding quality content to your web site will give the search engines a good idea of how to index your web site, it's a topic we covered in "Content, Content, Content" back in November 2004. But the secret to luring the search engines to your web site, and in part to improving your position within those listings is your inbound links.
So what are inbound links? Inbound links are simply the links from an external web site to your web site. You will also hear the phrase "link popularity" which is simply a search engines measure of the number and quality of links pointing to a single URL. We will cover "quality" later in this article but a site's home page usually has the highest number of inbound links, or highest link popularity, because site owners tend to link to home pages rather than any other content page.
What makes a quality link?
Achieving good rankings using links used to be simple; today things have become more complex, with search engines using very complicated algorithms to measure the quality of the links that involves:
· Number of links to your site?
· What is written in those links?
· What key phrases are used in those links?
· What is the quality of the site that is linking to yours?
· How many other links does that site have?
A link from a web site that the search engine recognises as a leader in your industry carries a lot of clout and means that your web site is important. Two links from industry leaders means your site is even more important. But 100 links from random web sites, from industries you are not even related with, means almost nothing. Thus, getting links is only the start; the important thing is getting good links from quality (high ranking and relevant) web sites.
How Do We Get Links?
It all starts with content ? yes we're back to that again. No one will link to you unless you offer quality information about a particular subject. If you are an estate agent, why not offer information about the area you are selling in. People will be interested in local schools, clubs and associations, crime rates, etc. Once you have completed your information; find web sites whose visitors would benefit from your site's content; solicit links from nearby leisure facilities, local towns, builders, gardeners, removal companies, etc.
How Do You Solicit Links?
To solicit links takes a lot of work. First you need to find web sites that are appropriate to your audience and also bear in mind that often, web site owners will require the link to be reciprocal; i.e.; they want one back from you. As a general rule, if you think your target market may visit a web site, you would benefit from a link from it. Type your search phrases into a search engine like Google.com and see what sites are listed in the first page of results and if appropriate, ask them for a link. Also check which sites are linking to these well-listed web sites and ask those sites for a link. For a list of inbound links to a third parties web site type in "link:theirdomain.com" in Google.
Send out personalised emails to the web sites you have identified giving some evidence that you have actually visited the web site. Don't waste time on approaching web sites that haven't been updated in years, many web sites are perfect but if they are rarely updated, your link wont be added. Be friendly and polite in your approach, and point out the benefits of linking to your web site. If you are lucky, around one third of your emails will get a response. It can be frustrating and discouraging when you get little response or a whole string of no's, but it's important to keep going.
It is also important to follow up. Until you get a definite no, keep in contact and keep it personal. The trick is to let the recipient of your emails think that they are the only web site that you are approaching for a link so make sure you keep track of who you have contacted and what you have written or said. If your linking prospects think that you are sending out mass emails, or that you are using the exact same approach with other sites, you will probably lose their respect - and any chance of a link.
Directories and Links
Do not forget to submit to the directories, relevant business directories and local listings. Getting listed in some of the larger directories such as the Open Directory Project counts for a lot in the major crawler based search engines. Take your time and choose the right category to submit to. Also, make sure you read the advice about how to write the descriptions and titles and write them in the way they ask, bear in mind that human beings edit these directories! Also consider submitting to Yahoo and Business.com, both charge annual subscription fees but both would provide high quality links. If the links turn out not to be cost effective, simply don't renew your subscription.
Buying links is also becoming more commonplace. It is a form of purchased advertising that is less obvious than banner adverts or pay per click listings. Often the link will be placed on multiple pages, or all pages within the site. If purchasing a link, make sure you are clear about why are you buying it? Is it for search engine ranking purposes only, or to get traffic directly from the link?
Make sure the link is worth what you are paying in terms of the traffic it will send you and not solely to improve your page's ranking. If the link partners page is well ranked in the search engines under a specific key phrase but receives few visitors, it won't be sending many visitors to your web site. If the page is well ranked, it may help with your ranking in Google and the rest, but that would be the icing on the cake.
Join forums and discussion groups related to your business and place links to your web site in your signature line. Use your main search terms as the link text. But before spending time writing lots of posts with your signature line in each post, make sure that the forum is spiderable by checking the robots.txt file. Also make sure that links in signature lines are not hidden from spiders (view the source code to make sure that signature links are in plain HTML and point directly to the site).
Link Exchange Centres Find and join free link exchange centres like LinkPartners.com. There you can find a categorised directory of websites that also want to exchange links. Be careful not to sign up with FFA (Free-For-All) sites because they are mostly email address gatherers and you can expect a sudden increase in email sp@m soon after you sign up. Also, only sign up with centres where you can approach other sites personally, and where they can approach you personally.
Controlling Your Links
When providing your link partners with the text to use in your inbound link, make sure it contains the key phrase you are targeting. Search engines will take into account the words that are included in the actual link as well at the text around it so include a brief paragraph about your business and if possible link your top key phrase to your URL. Make sure that each link points to the page you are promoting for that particular search term. This should improve your ranking in their listings. Pointing all the links to your home page, with various target search terms, won't achieve the same as pointing targeted links at specific pages within the site.
How not to link
Under no circumstances join any link farms! Link farms, such as LinksToYou.com, sound simple and effective, but search engines, Google in particular, disapprove of them as blatant attempts to manipulate the rankings and they will penalise sites that use them. Once a site has been penalised, it is very difficult to get the penalty lifted, so avoid all link farms at all costs. Search engine software engineers always look for spam tactics, when a software engineer discovers a link farm; all the domains in the link farm are banned. Result? Link popularity vanishes.
Acquiring links can be time-consuming and tedious. There are a number of ways to get them, some being easier than others. However you get them, inbound links are important for websites that want to move up the rankings. Inbound links, with the right link text, are essential for achieving top rankings when there is any competition for the search terms.
Link development's main advantage is dynamic, cumulative, and difficult to imitate. Many sites maintain search engine visibility and the resulting qualified traffic because of successful link development, not just based on the number of keywords on a page.
For top rankings, it is essential to take the time to get as many quality inbound links as possible. It should be treated as an ongoing task. Getting your first link is like getting your first sale. It is just as hard - and just as satisfying.
Linking strategies are just one of a wide range of subjects covered in our guide "Start at the Beginning". It covers all the basics of building and optimising your web site for both your customers and organic search engine rankings. For an excerpt and contents list visit: http://www.enable-uk.co.uk/html/book_2.html
For a complete guide to marketing on the Internet, including: · The General Principles of Internet Marketing · Start at the Beginning · Writing Text that Sells · Building Online Relationships · Maximising Your Pay Per Click Campaign · Measuring Success Why not purchase the whole series of downloadable guides for the discounted price of £64.95. Click for more information: http://www.enable-uk.co.uk/html/promo_ebooks.html Justine Curtis Enable UK Internet Marketing Information and Resources Make your web site work harder! Web: http://www.enable-uk.co.uk Email: email@example.com Article from Internet Marketing Tips Newsletter, a monthly publication of Enable-UK Copyright © 2004 Enable-UK.
How to Avoid the Google Duplicate Content Filter?
More and more webmasters are building websites with publicly available content (data feeds, news feeds, articles). This results in websites with duplicate content on the Internet. In cases of websites build on news feeds or data feeds you can even find websites that match each other 100% (except for the design). Several copies of the same content in a search engine does not really do any good and so Google apparently decided to weed out some of this duplicate content to be able to deliver cleaner and better search results.
Optimizing Online Catalog Copy for the Search Engines
It only makes sense. You have an e-commerce catalog site. You want lots of visitors to come to your site and buy. The best (and most cost-effective) way to do that is with great search engine placement. However, search engines are text machines, and most catalogs don't have a lot of text, so herein lies the problem.
How Important is PageRank, Really?
Webmasters can spend most of their waking hours doing everything they can to raise their Google PageRank. It is common knowledge that PageRank, which is largely based upon the number and quality of backlinks a webpage has, is an important factor in how well a particular webpage ranks within the Google search results. Since webmasters spend so much of their time worrying about PageRank, an important question is: how important is PageRank, really?
A Play In The Sandbox Is Necessary
There has been a good deal written about the Google 'sandbox' effect, as it's known. It has been taking up a lot of forum and article space over the last few months. I can't help wonder why most of the comment I've been seeing is negative or at least ambivalent about the concept (if of course, it really exists, as is the case with much about SEs that we don't truly know).
Cache in the Bank: Understanding Googles Advanced Operators
If you would like to know when your site was last indexed by Google, you can find out easily by using the Google cache command. By typing "cache:www.logcabinrustics.com" into the Google search engine, I learned that my site was last indexed yesterday. The Google cache also displays the web page at the time of indexing, so you can see the latest version of your page that was indexed by Google.
How To Syndicate Your Content
Note: In order to preserve the proper format for the HTML code snippet in this article, copy and paste the article into Notepad, then copy and paste it from Notepad into your HTML web page.
SEO Expert Guide - Keyword Analysis (part 3/10)
If you imagine that building an optimized site is like cooking a meal, then keywords are the essential ingredients. Would you attempt to cook a complex new dish without first referring to a recipe? Would you start before you had all the ingredients available and properly prepared?
Possibly The Biggest Misconception About Ranking Well In The Search Engines
Onpage search engine optimization are things that you can change ON your webpage.
Press Release + PRWeb = Top Google Rank... True or False?
I've always been a big time press release aficionado.
Alert Marketing - Get Google Search Results By E-mail
Sometimes our jobs as marketers means we need to look beyond the obvious. Google, for example, offers their Google Alerts service. At first glance, this may seem most useful to companies who want to track certain searches within their industry, or to hobbyists who want to stay on top of changes in their topics of interest.
Is This A ?DMOZ Killer? In The Making?
Is building a Human-Edited Fully "Democratic" Search Directory Possible?
What You Did Wrong With Your Domain Names!
Trying to improve search engine rankings is just like a rubics cube. A puzzle that can keep you occupied for hours. How many times have you heard "They keep changing the rules?," and the frustrating part is...they don't even tell you what the rules are in the first place!
The Real Search Engine Optimization Guide
Nowadays, there is so much talk about SEO (search engine optimization) that it has become an industry of its own. Still, 90% of webmasters don`t know how to achieve high search engine positions. In this article, you`ll learn what the 90% doesn`t...
How To Avoid These Ten Costly Search Engine Mistakes
If you have a website then you already know the importance of traffic. Traffic is to Internet marketing as location is to real estate. It's the only thing that really matters. If you cannot generate targeted visitors to your site, you will not make any sales.
How To Rank High On MSN Search
The new MSN Search is quickly gaining popularity among internet search engine users. Google still being the #1 search engine with Yahoo in #2, and MSN in a strong #3. Each of the three major search engines has their own unique algorithm, and MSN is no different. Over the past several months I have had amazing success with MSN. With a few tweaks and tricks I have all of my sites ranked top 3 (mostly #1's) with my targeted key words. This article will give you a quick look at how I have managed to rank so high so often.
Google Slavery...Old Habits Die Hard
For the first few months after Yahoo decided to go their own way with natural search (and MSN decided to get serious about the search business), the search results provided by those two could only be described as bizarre. Enough time has now passed that the dust has somewhat settled and there are three main (from a traffic standpoint) sites for quality natural searches.
Pay Per Click Versus ?Organic? Search Engine Listings - The Pros and Cons and Best Uses for Each
What's the difference?
7 Essential SEO techniques
1) Title Tag ? When we're talking about SEO Technique, the Title tag is one of the best and most powerful tags that you can use. Every page should have it's own title tag, each tag should include the keyword that you are targeting, along with sub-keywords associated with the main keyword that you seek to drive traffic from.
Work With The Search Engines - Dont try to Outsmart the Search Engines
Contrary to the claims of high-priced SEO firms, optimizing your web site for search engines is not brain surgery. But you must first accept the fact that "spiders" - the search engine programs that read web pages - run away from non-HTML code. This is why the first thing any SEO expert does - before researching keywords or rewriting your copy - is look at your web site code.
What is The Google Sandbox Effect?
In the age of fair competition you may find it hard to believe that a search engine may hinder the appearance of a new website. This is what is currently believed to be happening on more web servers today. Some programmers have viewed Google as uncomfortable to rank newer websites until they have proven their viability to exist for more than a period of "x" months. Thus the term "Sandbox Effect" applies to the idea that all new websites have their ratings placed in a holding tank until such time is deemed appropriate before a ranking can commence.
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