Friday, March 31, 2006

Link Value is Like Real Estate - Location, Location, Location!

Unless you're just starting out in learning search engine optimization, you should already know that the quality of search rankings for your website directly correspond to the quantity of links pointing to your site from other sites. That’s true as a general statement, but it also makes sense that search engine algorithms do not blindly weight all links the same.

In using links as a primary weighting factor, search engines are really trying to extract the honest, unbiased, expert ‘votes’ from the Internet community about which sites are the best resources on a given subject. Search engines are not perfect at this of course, but if you keep it in mind while building links to your site, you will make yourself far less vulnerable to future search engine algorithm updates. Lets take a look at some of the primary factors search engines use to determine the value of a link:

The theme of the site your link is on tells a lot about how well qualified that ‘vote’ for your site is. For example, it follows that a link to your lawnmower site from a site dedicated entirely to lawn care is a more knowledgeable recommendation than the same link coming from a site that’s dedicated to travel.

The contents of the page your link is on will also affect the value of it in the eyes of the search engines. The more closely related the linking page’s theme is to your own, the more weight will be given. The same logic applies as above in that an article about finding the best mowers will provide a far more relevant vote for your lawnmower site than an article about places to visit in Singapore.

At a finer level, the surrounding text around a link will affect its value as well. Perhaps your link is on a travel site inside an article on places to visit in Singapore. The writer visited Singapore and found an amazing new Chinese-produced mower that can only be purchased online through your website. It’s commonly believed that having your link directly surrounded by related content will also boost its value, although to a lesser degree than the previously mentioned factors.

The last key factor, the actual anchor text of the link, is still extremely important to what terms your site ranks highly for. While this is slowly becoming slightly less dominant of a factor, it’s still the number one most important factor that search engines look at to determine how your site should rank for a given keyword phrase. As often as possible arrange to have the anchor text of the link pointing to your site include the keywords you are targeting. The easiest way to do this is to choose a domain name with the keywords in it. It will be much more reasonable to arrange a link to your site with the anchor text ‘lawnmower deals’ if your domain name is www.lawnmowerdeals.com than if it were something like www.joeslawncare.com.

In the end, all you really need to do is to keep in mind that the search engines are constantly striving to find natural, honest, expert ‘votes’ for websites and those votes will be given a great deal more value than those links that appear to be purchased or manipulated in some way. So seek out links from relevant content on relevant sites. Provide good interesting content and services that people will want to talk about and recommend and you will find that the number of links you actually need to get to the top of the search rankings is very often far fewer than you think!

Joel Carlson is one of the Backlink Boys, a group of link building experts that provides tools and services to assist webmasters in building their link popularity.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi ##name##, I'm trying to learn about lawncarelawncare tips as spring is approaching. this year I plan on having the best yard in the neighborhood.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi ##name##, I'm trying to learn about lawncarelawncare tips as spring is approaching. this year I plan on having the best yard in the neighborhood.

4:06 AM  
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