Link Building

September 11, 2008

Search Engines – this is the vehicle that can bring enough traffic to your site to take you from an unknown, to an authoritative force. Anchor text – Also known as “Link Text” and “Hyperlink Text”, it refers to the linked text that is visible in the browser. For example:
This is linked text in a web document.
The code would look like this:
<a href=http://www.yoururl.com>linked text</a>
The text “linked text” is the anchor text. This text is indexed by all the major search engines and Google gives high priority to the text listed in this area in terms of the site the link is pointing to. Keyword – A word or phrase that you type in when you are searching for information in the search engines. Placing your keyword in the anchor text tells the search engines that this link is for something specific. We’ll discuss this in more detail later in this document. Incoming link (back link) – A link from a site outside of your own website that points to a page within your site. Inbound links directs the visitor and search engine bot traffic to your web site which is a good thing. Incoming links also tell the search engines that your page exists and how to find it. Outgoing link (external link) – A link to a page outside of your site. Outbound links send visitors and search engine bots away from your web site. Same site link (internal link) – a link from page A on your domain to Page B on the same domain.

One way links – links that point from one site to another with no return. These are the links that search engines prefer, especially if they come from pages within an authoritative site. In this method of linking PageRank can be passed from the page on site A to the recipient page on site B.
Site A Site B

Reciprocal links – In some cases sites trade links with each other. This is called reciprocal linking. Reciprocal links are often less valuable than one-way links in terms of search engine ranking and PageRank value. The search engines know that webmasters often swap links in an effort to manipulate rankings and so they may discount reciprocal links. This is most often the case with links from link pages or “recommended resource” type pages. In this method of linking PageRank may be passed back and forth between Page A and Page B. Reciprocal links can still be very effective when they’re done properly such as in an article exchange or as link text from within the body of an article.
Site A Site B

Three-way or Triangular linking – Three way linking is often used in place of reciprocal linking as a way to “skirt” around filters believed to be present for reciprocal linking. In this case, three or more sites will exchange links without any of them actually being reciprocal. Instead, they link to each other with one way links. Although they can be slightly more effective than a direct reciprocal link, search engines are getting better at detecting and discounting these links.
Site A Site B Site C
Link Popularity – A few years ago linking was a numbers game. It had very little to do with the quality of incoming links you had but more with the quantity. The more in-links, the more popular the search engines thought your page was and so therefore they ranked it better. This made it fairly easy to manipulate the search engines. As a result the engines have moved away from pure popularity and now evaluate links on quality and importance. A single link from an authoritative site can be more valuable that dozens or even hundreds of links from non-authoritative sites.

Page Rank – PageRank is Google’s solution to link popularity and a means of “ranking” a single page’s importance or authoritativeness. PageRank grades pages on a scale of 0-10 with 10 being the highest authority. It takes into account not only the number of links a page has pointing to it but the quality of the links. The simplest way to think about PageRank is as a weighted vote.

Here’s an example:

Page A has a Page Rank of 5. If Page A links out to page B, it passes or lends its PR weight of 5 to page B which increases page B’s relevance. But there is a drawback. If Page A also links to 10 other pages then the weight of the “vote” from Page A is divided among the 10 recipients, thereby decreasing the weight of importance for each vote. Keep in mind that the PageRank that Google shows for a site is often 3-5 months old so although it can be a good tool to use, don’t rely on it as your only tool for selecting potential link partners. Directories – Directories are the predecessor of search engines and still play an important role. There are a few major directories such as the Yahoo! Directory and the Open Directory Project (ODP) that the major engines crawl on a regular basis. The difference between a search engine and a directory is that if you have a link pointing to your site from somewhere else the search engines will eventually find and add your site to their listings. Directories on the other hand do not crawl the web looking for links. You must manually submit or add your site to their index and often times the submission is reviewed by a human editor. For this reason search engines place weight on links that come from quality directories. Directories often have several methods of adding your site to their index, paid and/or free. Free listings can often times take up to several months before your listing is reviewed and
added, while paid listings offer better placement and quick review times. It should be noted that the number of quality directories is diminishing rapidly. Nofollow links – the rel=“nofollow” in a link does not prevent a search
engine from following a link. What it does do is prevent any PageRank or
importance from being passed to the recipient page.

Example:
<a href=”http://www.linkeddomain.com” rel=”nofollow”>Linked Text</a>
It is recommended to have nofollow links within your site such as the “about us” or “contact us” page to focus PageRank to the important pages. However, it is often used by unscrupulous webmasters with reciprocal links in an effort to hoard their own PageRank, and cheat you out of link popularity. There is a handy little plug-in for the FireFox browser that you can get that will automatically highlight all links that have been tagged as nofollow called Search Status. I recommend you get.

Link Baiting– Back in August of 2005, an SEO I greatly respect, Aaron Wall came out with the term “link baiting.” At the Webmaster World in Las Vegas in November, 2005, Matt Cutts, senior engineer at Google stated that “link baiting” was a good idea and commended that people such as the guy who thought up the “Million Dollar Home Page” and others who had original ideas that made one-way quality links a natural thing. However, the idea of “link baiting” has been alive on the web for over a decade; it just wasn’t called “link baiting.”

Link Baiting is creating a page with content that naturally causes many websites to link to it. It can be an expose article, new software, tool or a cool new idea. The problem is many people are not giving heed to the ethics
behind reporting information. Many don’t have the necessary skills, or are outright lying to get attention. This is where link baiting is getting a bad rep. If you do go the route of link baiting, ensure that you intent is to help to inform and educate on the topic at hand. If you lie or exaggerate, it will come back to haunt you later.

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