When it comes to increasing web traffic and optimizing your website for search engines, external links to your site are the key. In general, the more websites that link to your site the better. But first, it’s important to know the basics about links.
A link is simply a means of navigating from one webpage to another. An internal link takes you to another page within the same website, while an external link takes you to a completely new website. The term “back-link” refers to another website providing a link to yours. Back-linking is great for getting your website exposure.
Links can also take on different forms. Being able to recognize and identify the various types is important.
The 4 main types of links are:
• URL Link: A website’s URL listed out as a link.
• Text Link: (also known as Static Link). This is when a word or a phrase is clickable and takes you to another place.
• Image Links: When clicking on an image navigates you to another page.
• Dynamic Links: Inbound links from websites where the page is dynamically generated via a database query.
Besides allowing visitors to navigate around the web, links are also important to computer programs used by popular search engines called spiders. Spiders “crawl” around the internet gathering information about various sites and then index those sites. This is why the more links to your website that exist on the web, the higher your ranking will be on search engines like Google and Yahoo.
Different Links, Different Values
Not all links are created equally in the search engines’ eyes. One-way links—which occurs when another website links to you but you don’t link back to them—are more valuable to the search engines than reciprocal links. Search engines also assign value to links based on various factors, such as the link’s relevance to your site, the text around the link, and the authority the website that links to you has.
There are also links that mean nothing at all to search engines. Dynamic links and links that have “no follow” codes built into them are of no value to spider programs. However, that doesn’t mean they should not be used on your website. While a link that cannot be followed by a search engine spider may not be useful from a search engine optimization perspective, it can still provide increased traffic and visitors to your website.
Ideally, your website should contain links of all types, but should contain more high quality links than anything.
What are High Quality Links?
High quality links are those that produce Page Reputation and PageRank, both of which are ranking methods used by Google. Linking to target keywords is one way to get higher rankings for your website.
Anchor text are links that appear as words that can be clicked, and they are very valuable in the eyes of search engines. The clickable text should always include some of the primary and secondary keywords that you have identified in your keyword research. Because anchor text links are higher quality than URL links, remember when building one-way links to use them as much as possible.
Don’t let your focus on keywords and links compromise the quality of your site’s content. It’s important to make sure you have valuable, relevant content on your website for actual people, and not just filler pages loaded with your target keywords. Google’s spiders have figured out how to spot those who try to cheat the system that way with technology called Latent Semantic Indexing. Basically, this means that their programs are able to analyze all of the words on your page and how they relate to each other, easily spotting and disregarding nonsense pages loaded up with keywords.
Be Selective with Targeting your One-Way Links
When targeting your one-way links, be aware that Google also ranks your site based on the relationship between your site’s content and the content of the sites that link to you. One way links from sites with content similar to yours (i.e. yours is a pet related site and other pet related sites link to you) rank higher than one way links from sites with very different content.
One final word of advice: Think twice about paying another person to link to your site; if caught, your site can be banned from the ranking system all together. Instead, focus on building your links legitimately by taking advantage of as many social media networks you have time for, and also by blogging.