Search engine rankings are critical to the success of a website. And link popularity is a key determinant in how your website is perceived and rated by the search engine. Link popularity is determined by the number of links to your pages from other respected and credible websites. Inbound links are vital if your pages are to rank respectably in search results, especially for competitive search terms (those keywords and phrases often requested by users of search engines).
• Ensure your site is listed in at least one of the major directories (including http://www.google.com, http://www.yahoo.com, http://www.bestoftheweb.com and http://www.dmoz.com).
• Generate inbound links to your site from respected and authoritative sites. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by leaving well-considered comments on popular blogs and news sites. Once published these comments are often complemented by a link to your website.
• Request inbound links from websites sharing your own interests and goals.
• If possible, control the format of the inbound links’ URL. Make sure it is always the same and is used consistently.
• Use targeted keywords for the destination page in the inbound link’s anchor text and title attribute.
• Whenever possible ensure inbound links lead to deeper content pages, not just a gateway or top-level page.
• Ensure inbound links do not include the “nofollow” attribute. This is because put simply, Google search robots do not credit any links with a rel=”nofollow” tag attached to them.
• Use social media websites to increase the visibility of your content, which will increase the chances of other developers linking to it.
What affects link popularity? Many factors affect link popularity, including the:
• Number of inbound links
• Quality of the link source
• Type of link
• Link URL consistency
• Link text, attributes, and content close by
• Link destination The number of inbound links
Search engines consider the total number of links pointing at your web page and domain name as a whole. The final tally includes links from external sites with different domain names and links from other pages on your own site. For an approximate count of inbound links by going to each search engine and searching for your URL prefaced by “link:”.
For example, if you search for “link:www.hubdex.com” on Google it will return all the pages Google has indexed that contain a link to a page at www.hubdex.com. To compare the number of inbound links seen by several different search engines at once, use the link popularity tool at http://www.marketleap.com. Results should only be used as a guide because search engines don’t always provide an accurate representation of inbound links, and statistics fluctuate daily. The quality of the link source Search engines considers the credibility and reputation of the site hosting the inbound link. The more authoritative the source site, the more valuable the link. For example, a link from CNN.com is worth more to your website’s search engine standing than a whole host of links from small blog sites. Bear in mind some blog sites are considered authoritative, however, so you need to be aware of the source from which you request links.
Type of links
To maximize the benefit of inbound links, try to ensure they can be indexed effectively by search engines. Inbound links should • Be text only – not images • Not contain the ‘nofollow’ attribute in the link’s code For more about accessible links please read the crawlability section later in this eBook. Link URL consistency When search engines total the number of inbound links to a page they frequently assume different URLs point at different pages – even when this is not the case. It’s important to make sure inbound links all ‘look’ the same, using the same formatting, filename, and variables (if any).
For example, search engines may think these three URLs lead to three different pages, just because they are formatted differently: http://www.your-site.com http://www.your-site.com/ http://www.your-site.com/index.html The same rule applies to vanity URLs, jumpIDs or dynamically generated links including tracking or session IDs.
For example, the following links all lead to the same page but search engines will not credit them accordingly because theirs do not match:
Using different URLs dilutes SEO efforts by making it appear each page has fewer inbound links. This reduces the potency of your page ranking for its targeted keywords.
Stay tuned, or better yet, become a subscriber as in my next posts I will explain how to go about doing each of these steps, and how to properly format your site according to Google and other major search engines.