Links are important to the search engines because it shows the engines that other sites think your information is worthy of sharing. Each link is like a vote for your website.
Links are not only good for the engines but good links open up new sources of traffic from relevant, complementary but noncompeting websites.
Linking has gone through so many transformations over the years. First all reciprocal links are good, and then only relevant links are good. Then reciprocal links are not helpful, you need one way links.
Today you are better off getting one way links, but some reciprocal links are OK. The higher the PageRank on the site that links to you, the more the link helps you.
Buying links is a hot topic now. Google has clearly and plainly stated that they will penalize sites for buying links – and they are also asking people to report sites that are selling links, so they can penalize them as well. We strongly advise you to avoid this practice.
So, how do you get links?
Hire a link expert. It is usually pretty pricey. Outsourcing to India, in my experience, has never paid off but that is always an option, I guess.
Another way is through good old fashioned hard work. Seek out sites that are relevant but not competing and propose some type of link swap.
The best way is to just write great content, create a fabulous podcast or an interesting video and then submit it to various social media sites, article directories – basically any place where you can put it. People will find it from those sources and it’ll start to spread as people repost your content with links back to you. Creating great content that enhances your site and also spreads virally is the Holy Grail.
Sharing information and being a great resource is definitely valuable. However if you can get creative and have a unique angle or even something controversial your content will spread even faster.
TIP! A URL for a links page should be resources.html. Don’t use links.html as your page name. The engines see it as a tip-off that you are just collecting links to improve your rankings – rather than building a true resource.
Some general guidelines:
- No more than 100 outgoing links at an absolute maximum on any one page. I prefer to keep it even lower – I don’t go above 50.
- You don’t want anyone with more than 50 links on a page linking to you.
- Links should be organized in categories that make sense.
- All links should be very relevant to the topic of your site. In other words, if you sell jewellery, link to jewellery cleaners and jewellery repair sites – don’t link to dog groomers and stock tips. It needs to be natural, which means the engines need to believe that someone looking at your site would actually be interested in the topic of the links you are providing.
- Links coming in to your site should go to different pages, not just one page.
- The “hot” part of the link (the anchor text) that you click should vary from link to link (coming into your site) to get you the most benefit. In other words, don’t have everyone that links to you use the same text.
- Links must be attained and grow in a “natural” way – in other words, start with a couple on each page and then build evenly across your important pages over time. If you get too many links too quickly it can be a red flag for the engines.
Here are some examples of the anchor text or “hot” part of the link using keywords. Just remember, you want keywords in the anchor text, but you don’t always want them to be the same. Vary them as you send them out to other sites to link to you.
The above sample leads to much better search engine rankings for the keyword "beads & bead supplies" than the link below.