Quality Links Are a Main Ingredient of a Well Optimized Website
Links are part of a healthy diet for any optimized website, along with strong keywords, relevant content, and maximized meta tags. Yet, if you look at many websites, you see a wide range of link practices, from none at all to dozens on a page, and from links that mean nothing to links that rate very high. For someone looking to rank high in searches, the highly optimized website should always include at least a few links on every page, focusing on quality links, and here are a few guidelines you should work toward:
Quality Link Types
- Home Page text links to main navigation home pages like main product or service pages, about pages, contact, news, and testimonials. (In the body text and at the bottom of the page.)
- Home Page text links to other pages on your site that contain valuable keyword-relevant content, including news articles, biographies, product or service sub-level pages, special topic and special offer pages, and about sub-level pages. (In the body text and sidebars or tile ads.)
- Links to the Home Page and main navigation home pages from sub-level pages which tag valuable relevant keywords. Anywhere you can reverse the direction of referral to reinforce the relevancy is a good place to link back.
- Link to authoritative sites like news organizations, reference sites, and sites highly regarded in your specific topic area. Linking to their home pages is fine, but linking to specific internal pages that relate even more specifically to your keyword is even better. If a home page is good, an about page is even better for a general information link. Link to the highest ranking page from a search if you don’t have a general page for linking.
- Remember to link to association and verification sites like the Better Business Bureau, which also carry high authority. Check with them for application and approval rules.
- When non-authoritative pages are all that you have, the same rules apply: For general linking, link to the home page, about page, or highest ranking results page from a search. (This would be for linking to a business page, for instance.) Naturally, if you are referring to a specific item on the site, link to that page.
- Keep your outbound links natural and relevant to your content. In other words, don’t force links just to have links. Consider your reader’s desire to find more information and link to sites that will best supply that information. Yet, don’t get link-happy; create value-added links for both you and your reader.
- Where possible, create a “mesh” of links: When the opportunity arises, arrange for links back to your site from sites to which you link. For instance, if you link to a vendor site that supplies you with products, they may be able to provide a link back to your site. The best mesh is between pages that link to each other.
- Be careful of the links you accept to your site. Spam links can damage your ranking as can doorway sites (sites set up as lists of links that are not related). Be wary of offers to simply trade links – those are often doorway sites!
- Some inbound links look all right. The immediate site seems okay, but if you further trace the links in them, they go to pages that aren’t all right. Because the search engines follow all those links, such links can damage your ranking. You often see these in the comments section of blogs.
- Trackbacks can be as questionable as links. If they are to a blank page or an aggregate content page that may be penalized by Panda, they could negatively affect your ranking.
- Good inbound links you can set up include Yellow Pages links, directory pages links, professional pages links, Google Pages links (and similar pages on Bing), Google Locations (and Yahoo and Bing), Facebook Fan Pages, Google + Fan Pages, and locality pages like Local First. You can spend hours setting up these!
You don’t need all your links set up at once. In fact, other than the main links on your Home Page, it’s probably best to add links a bit at a time. All-at-once looks like a spamming effort, whereas building links over time looks like a sustained campaign, adding links with content showing attention to your site.
Next Time – Tightening the Screws on Cheaters
With Panda, Penguin, and now EMD, Google is tightening the screws on optimization cheaters. Don’t get caught between the screws.