Friday, August 20, 2010

Backlinks for Search Engine Optimization- How Important are They?

Backlinks are a key component in search engine optimization. Search engine consultants talk about the importance of backlinks for achieving higher search engine ranking. That’s because the more one-way backlinks you have leading to your website, the more important the search engines believe your page to be.

There are two types of backlinks: one-way links and reciprocal links.

One-Way Links are basically backlinks that only go one direction. Maybe it’s a link that goes from your website to another website. Or maybe it’s a link that goes from another site to yours. Either way, it’s only going one way.

Reciprocal Links are backlinks that go from one website to another, and then back to the original website.

It’s important to differentiate between one-way back links versus reciprocal links. Many search engine optimization experts believe that one-way back links are more valuable than reciprocal links because they’re much harder to earn. The thinking is that since they’re harder to earn, they must be more valuable, which means other people think very highly of your site. If people think highly of your site, it must be an important site, which means the search engines will give it a higher ranking than those sites that do not have a lot of one-way backlinks.

As search engines like Google grow and improve, they’re putting more emphasis on how popular a website is, not whether they use all the right keywords. This popularity is measured through one-way backlinks. They’re like votes to Google, and search engine ranking is more like a popularity contest: have a lot of links to your site and your site achieves a high ranking. The easiest way to find the number of backlinks that lead to your site is to visit Google or Yahoo! and type in the following command:

You will be shown a list of all the websites that have backlinks to your own domain. If you want to see who has links back to a particular page on your site, then type in the whole URL to that individual page.

Although no one can be sure of the exact algorithm Google and Yahoo use to rank sites, it’s commonly believed that if a website has more backlinks, it will achieve a higher search engine ranking. There are other factors that go into the whole search engine ranking, but backlinks are one of the more important ones.

But it’s important you have good quality backlinks, not just links that appear on any page you can find, like a link farm or sticking a comment on a page that has nothing to do with your website at all. That is, if you sell hammers, don’t put any backlinks on a page that sells children’s shoes.

That’s because search engines like Google have started cracking down on link farms and backlinks spammers. The search engine spiders know how to tell the difference between backlinks on a link farm and links on a quality website. If you are caught spamming, you will be dropped in the rankings, or possibly even dropped completely from Google’s index.

So you need to pay attention to the quality of your backlinks, now more than ever. One way to do this is to make sure you use the proper anchor text in your backlinks. For example, do not ever hot-link the words “click here.” What you’re basically telling the search engine spiders is that the website is about Click Here. Instead, use the keywords about the site that the backlinks are leading to. If you’re creating backlinks to a site about hammers, put the word hammers in your links. “Click here” isn’t about hammers.

In short, if you want some great search engine results, be sure to include backlinks as part of your search engine optimization strategy. You’ll see it pay off with improved search engine rankings.

Link Building in Online Marketing: Tougher Than It Sounds

You probably don’t need to read the latest advice from the online marketing consultants to figure out the basic idea behind link building. Without links, your site won’t develop authority. Without authority, it won’t move up on the search engines. But even the most savvy online marketing consultant would have to admit that doing that is just not as easy as it sounds.

More Is Not Better In Link Building

Just going out and getting a bunch of links won’t necessarily help your site. You need quality links to get higher search rankings. But sometimes figuring out what makes one link better than another is tough. This is where you do need to keep up with what the online marketing consultants are recommending or you may just be wasting your time.

Targeted Anchor Text Is A Must

When you start pursuing links on sites, you need targeted anchor text. However, you don’t want to use the same text everywhere. Google will notice that in a bad way. You want to use two or three different phrases and the proper name of your website. If you can’t get anything but an image link, make sure the site owner puts your anchor text or the name of your site in the ALT tag of the image.

Pay Attention To Links In And Out

Google looks at the site where your link appears and decides how much benefit your site gets back. A site with a lot of inbound links passes more authority to your site. At the same time, being linked on a site full of low-quality, outbound links probably won’t help you much.

PageRank Isn’t Everything

Don’t be one of those site owners who sees nothing but PageRank. A site with high PageRank can still have low link value. This is especially true of sites that sell links. Steer clear of sites that use phrases like “sponsored by” or “paid for by.” Google may not let that site pass PageRank at all. Move on. They’re not worth your time.

Concentrate On Site Relevance

Let’s say your site is about red widgets. You get a link on a site about purple doohickeys. That link isn’t worth as much as one on a site about red widget management. Make sure you’re pursuing links in relevant places and look at how those places are optimized. If a site owner gives you a choice of having a link on a page titled “About Us” or one with the title “About Red Widgets,” which one do you choose? The link on the optimized page, “About Red Widgets,” has more value.

An Online Marketing Consultant Checks What’s Not Obvious

Take your cue from the pros and check sites in ways that aren’t obvious. For instance, in any search engine, you can type in “cache:” followed by a site url and find out if the site has been indexed and when it was last crawled. But what do those dates mean?

Chances are good that if the site hasn’t been crawled in 30-45 days, it’s not a good place for a link. But some domains have more value than others. For example, links from .edu domains are better than from a .com, but .info is worth less. All these factors should be weighed in judging a site’s worth in your link building efforts.

Does Social Networking Matter?

We’ve all seen the little link bars under blog posts and in forums asking people to Digg or Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, or StumbleUpon. Do you need to try to get links in places where social networking can happen? Yes. Alone those links may not have a lot of value, but Google is increasingly looking at the “active Web” in determining site authority.

It’s time consuming, but participating in forums and social sites and getting blog owners to run your articles with your linked anchor text included can be worth your time. But remember, relevance is a basic rule in online marketing consulting.

Are You Getting Clean Links?

When you get a link on a site, do you go look at the page’s source code? Is there anything extra in the “href” tag on the link? Is the site using redirect code? Is there a “nofollow” in the site’s meta data? If there is, the link is useless to you. It won’t pass any authority to your site because that code tells the search engines not to follow the link. Make sure you’re getting clean links.

When you’re on a tight budget and trying to develop your site and get higher search rankings, it can be a tough decision to work online marketing consulting into your thinking. The Web used to be pretty much a do-it-yourself place. That all started to change in 2004 when people began talking about “Web 2.0.”

It’s harder than ever to judge quality link building in the new world of Web applications and social networking. You can do it, but try to stay up to speed on what the online marketing consultants are recommending as good strategies. The Web is changing all the time. Good link building takes time and effort; you don’t want to waste those any more than you want to waste money during hard times.

Quick Link Building Tips

Link building is the most dreaded task of all serious SEO’s. Here are five quick and easy backlink building tips that you can apply today!

Link Building Tip #1 – Get Active in Your Community

I’m not talking about joining the local country club here (although that would be fun…), but rather about joining forums that are relevant to your niche. You want to find a forum (or forums) that is active and well ranked, and place your link in your “signature” section. This way, whenever you contribute to the forum (i.e. say something), you’ll be building backlinks. It is vital that your posts are of informational and educational use, and that you don’t just abuse the system in order to gain links. You’ll get banned quicker than you can say “backlink” if you do this. Contributing to the community is of the essence here.

Link Building Tip #2 – Suss Out Your Competition

Write down the website addresses of the top five results for your desired keyword. Then, using Google, type in “link:website” (replace website with the actual website address). This will show you where each site is getting their links from (well, most of them in any case) and hopefully spark some ideas for your site.

Link Building Tip #3 – Get Writing…

Writing and submitting articles is definately one of the most popular link building tactics around. You simply write a short article (400 – 600 words) and publish it on as many article directories as possible. Each directory will allow you to place your link in the “resource box”, thus growing your number of backlinks. You might be wondering “But what do I write about?”. The answer is simple – write about your area of expertise. So if you’re a handyman, write about some basic DIY tasks that people can carry out. Write how-to’s, 101’s and the like – Just give it some thought, it’s well worth it…

Link Building Tip #4 – Submit To Directories

Wherever there is an industry, you’ll find directories, especially on the internet. Do a search for your keyword and the word “directory”. Sign up to as many of them as possible – it’s a free link every time, and you might even find organic traffic (people) finding you on these directories (that’s what they’re there for, after all).

Link Building Tip #5 – Get Blogging

My final tip is to get blogging, or at least commenting on other people’s blogs. Have a look for relevant blogs and post some useful comments where suitable. Each comment will earn you a free link, plus potential direct traffic if the blog is popular and well followed. A word of warning though – make sure that the blogs don’t use “nofollow” tags, as this will render your link null and void in the eyes of the search engines.

And there you have it! Five easy link building tips that you can apply today. Best off all – they’re all absolutely free… Remember, link building is an ongoing exercise, and the more you make it a habit, the easier it will become. The only cost is your time and effort.

Five Tips To Increase Your Backlinks

Getting a top position in the search engines is no easy task. The key to achieving this is constantly building links to your site – here are five simple strategies…

Put Pen to Paper

Whatever industry or niche you’re in, you should have an above average knowledge of that topic, so put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard!) and write some informative short articles (300 – 500 words) that would appeal to your target market. You can either syndicate these articles through article directories, or head to the publishers and try to get them published on high ranking sites. Doing both is always a good idea. Every time your article gets published, you score free links – so get going now!


Explore the realm of social bookmarking and get your links featured on as many social networks are possible. The potential for a viral linking explosion is huge in any social network, so work on a good value offer to promote to these networks (something free and useful).

Break Into the Forum Community

By registering on, and actively participating in forums that are relevant to your niche, you can quickly build up the number of back links to your website using your signature file (provided that they allow this and that the links are “dofollow”). Whilst the “SEO weight” of these links is debatable, you still get the benefit of publicity and who knows, you could learn a thing or two whilst online! A word of warning though – don’t spam the forums with rubbish comments purely to score back links to your site – you’ll get kicked out pretty quickly.

Follow Some Blogs

Blog commenting is quite a popular link building technique in the SEO community. You simply follow some popular blogs in your niche or industry, and provide constructive comment where suitable, leaving your link in the comment. Make sure that the blogs are “dofollow” type, as the “nofollow” ones are useless.

Differentiate or Die

This classic business phrase has a slightly different meaning in terms of link building. When building links (whatever method you may use), always try to differentiate your anchor text used across the web – at least to a certain degree. Having identical links and anchor text all over the web is likely to raise a brow with the search engines.

Most importantly, commit to the journey of link building.

The best link building strategy is a long term, consistent one. Set a target for how many links you want to build monthly, and aim to achieve this amount every month. Be patient and have a little faith – your hard work will be rewarded.

10 Steps To Getting The Click

There are a number of steps a webmaster can take to encourage visitors to “click” on a link or graphic located on their website. The following steps will help “get the click

1. Colors

Use contrasting colors for links. This makes the links easier to discern from other text on a web page. Also, avoid placing links against a patterned background, as it will make it much more difficult to read the link text. Bottom line, the link color should stand out from the rest of the web page, and be easy to locate.

2. Link Traits

Underlining is still the universal indication of a link. Using the “underline” for links will send a clear message to website visitors about which text on the webpage is just text, and which text is actually a hyper-link. And along this line of thought, you should avoid using underlining for text that is not a link, just to avoid confusion.

3. Visible

Make all the links visible. Do not hide the links or navigation on a web page. Avoid using scripting to display links, as these links will not be visible to website visitors who have turned scripting off in their browser for security reasons.

4. Textual

Text links have a higher rate of clicks than linked images. The one exception is typically a “Buy Now” button, which tends to be more effective than text-only “Buy Now” links. Keep this in mind when creating a linking scheme for your website.

5. Consistent

The location of links should be consistent as the visitor moves from page to page through your website. Do not move links around as the content of the web page changes.

6. Position

Place important links in a location that is easy for the website visitor to see without having to scroll. Position important links “above the fold” on the website.

7. Font Style & Size

In order to make links easy for the visitor to see, be sure to use a font style and size that can be easily read.

8. Graphic Links

If you use image links, the clickable graphics should be vibrant and should stand out from the other content on the page. Use bright or bold contrasting colors for the graphic. Be sure to include appropriate ALT text for each linked image, so the visitor will have an indication of the material being linked to as they move their mouse over the graphic.

9. Split-Test

Conduct split-testing by changing colors and moving links around, and then monitor and track which options and locations result in the highest number of clicks. What may seem intuitive is not always as obvious as you might think.

10. Fresh Eyes

Ask a friend or family member to navigate your website. It may surprise you to learn what they see and where they click. A fresh set of eyes will give a good indication of how others will perceive your website and the clickable content.
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