Building Links The Right Way

As everybody in the search engine optimisation trade knows, and as we’ve mentioned countless times before, building good quality back links to your site is a vital and integral part of doing well in search engine rankings. But it’s important to make sure you’re going about building your links the right way.

Far too many people, knowing that links are important as far as search engines are considered, try to rush their link building. And it seems they don’t realise that poor link building practices can hurt your site as much as good ones can help it.

Link Quality Is Important

Because search engines, like Google in particular, bases the value of your links on their quality, it’s important to make sure that you’re building quality, relevant links naturally. Just having large numbers of links isn’t sufficient to make Google evaluate your site positively.

In the next few paragraphs, we’ll touch on some of the most important factors that you need to keep in mind when implementing your link strategy, in order to make sure you’re not doing yourself more harm than good.

Link Relevance

Large numbers of links won’t do you any good if they’re on pages which have absolutely no relevance to your site. If you sell air conditioners, it won’t do you any good to have links from a site that’s about cookware.

This is why link exchanges can be a dodgy proposition. Why should a site about goldfish link through to your site about personnel recruitment? And because Google tries to act like a human visitor, there’s a good chance that it won’t pay attention to any link that is irrelevant.

Relevance is a huge part of how Google evaluates links, and they’re getting very good at it, to try and discourage people from simply buying or trading large numbers of completely irrelevant links.

Click the link to read more on outbound links.

Who Else Is Linking From That Site?

If you’ve got links on a page which also links to pron or spam sites, then Google is less likely to consider that link a good quality one. So you don’t only need to pay attention to where you’re linking from, but also to who else is linking from there, and where their links go.

This is the main reason that link farms and “free for all” sites don’t provide much value when you build links from their. These are sites that sell or exchange links with anybody, with the intention of creating lots of links to their site in exchange.

In the old days, when search engines only counted how many links you had, it worked well. It worked so well that it threatened to make links useless in determining site quality, and it was to combat them that link quality became a determining factor.

Take Your Time

As we mentioned right at the beginning, link building should be a slow process. Sending out hundreds or thousands of link exchange requests will make you a spammer.

And if your exchange requests work, you could be even worse off than before, because suddenly getting hundreds of links all in one go could easily make Google suspicious. Search engines consider things like link exchanges to be an artificial way of manipulating search engine rankings, and tend to frown on it.

Click on the link to find out more about link exchanges and paid links.

Deep Links Are Important

Many people seem to assume that external links pointing back to their home page are enough. However experience has shown that deep links, or links to internal pages other than your home page, can have a noticeable positive effect on your search engine rankings.

In practice, at least half, and preferably slightly more than half of the links pointing to your site should point to pages other than the home page.

Optimise Your Anchor Text

Back links on their own are all very well, but plain text direct links, (ones that look like this: ) don’t tell search engines anything about the page you’re linking to.

Rather than use a plain text link like the one above, it’s much more effective to use anchor text for your links, and create links that look like this: Link Anchor Text & Google.

The link above points to an article about using anchor text, and the use of the keywords in the anchor text makes it clear to search engines and users alike what the target page is about, which makes it easier to judge relevance, and makes the link more useful.

Anchor text in your links can improve your search engine rankings by making sure Google knows what the page you’re linking to is about.

In Conclusion

Links are important to search engine optimisation, and they will be for some time to come still. But there’s more to building effective links than merely getting people to link to your site.

An effective link strategy is natural, relevant and useful to visitors, and as we’ve gone to lengths to point out, can do harm if carried out badly. A good link strategy though, conducted thoughtfully and over time, will have a marked impact on the credibility of your site.