What Lies Beneath Your Link Hunger?
Links: the eternal struggle to achieve top SE rankings. Why do we try so hard? Do we really need to beg other webmasters to swap or exchange links? Do we really need to answer any junky link exchange request we receive in our mailboxes?
New sites are desperate for links. SEO beginners are no better either. Is SEO the only reason that motivates our hunt for links? When is this madness going to end?
Let me ask you a serious question: why do you want a link? Is it for the search engines? Or is it because you found a good site, you like its contents and you honestly think that both your site and the site you’ve just discovered will benefit from a link exchange? And when I say “benefit” I do not mean a SEO advantage, but a real exchange of values that will help both sites with an exchange of targeted visitors.
And now let me reveal a paradox: the SEO advantage should be the last thing on your mind if you want good SEO results.
What Is a Quality Link?
Are you one of the Webmasters who believe that a quality link is a link from a site with a high Google PR (PageRank)? Well, you are not very far from the truth, but aren’t you forgetting something? Is the high PR site relevant for the content of your site? Is the link to your site on the high PR page or is it situated on a lower PR page designated especially for link exchanges? Is the link to your site a contextual link or is it just a pitiable addition to a links list?
So many questions! Do you have all the answers? I’ll list below the traits of what is today a quality link. These attributes might change in a year or two… You probably know that the search engines scenery is already changing towards what they call natural search. This means that (probably) links are not going to remain forever the main criteria on determining the value and the relevancy of a website.
- Contextual links carry more weight than any other links because they are identified by the search engines as “link recommendations”. Such links are enclosed within the content of a page – for example the text of an article. In the paragraph above, “natural search” is a contextual link.
- Links with an anchor text based on relevant keywords for the content of the website pointing at are more valuable than “click here” links. Above “natural search” is a keyword phrase relevant for the content of the article pointing at – an article discussing the possibility of a change of power in the SE field: the natural search engine algorithm of Powerset might knock off Google.
- Although this article is now on a PR0 page, this doesn’t mean that the value of the link I give to siliconvalleywatcher.com is low. On the contrary: This article is related to the page the link points at and it will prove its SEO value in time. It is already a valuable link because it sends you, the readers interested in the news, to that site. So basically this link will increase the traffic values for siliconvalleywatcher.com. My win? To give you a good resource. And that makes this blog a trustworthy resource as well!
- Links with a good anchor text on a “related links” page are really valuable when you manage to be at the top of the list (better exposure), you have a keyword rich and catchy title (or anchor text) and there are not more than 50 other links on the same page.
- Directory listings are good when they are in the right category and they bring you targeted traffic. That means you should only pay for listings in popular (authority) directories. If you have the chance to submit your site to free directories, do take advantage of the opportunity and vary the anchor text (seen by the SE as micro content) as often as possible to generate unique links.
There are other linking strategies that might bring good results. I think these are enough for the start. Now let’s move on to what you should avoid when you start a linking campaign.
- Don’t overdo it. As in life you take one step at a time, you should build up your linking campaigns slowly: one link at a time. The search engines might consider your linking strategies as spamdexing if you gain too many links at once. They’ll probably not penalize your site by banning it out of the SERPs, but those overnight links will carry no link juice, hence no SEO value.
- Stay away from gambling, booze and porn sites. These will destroy your credibility and many of them will get penalized for employing unethical SEO strategies.
- Stay away from bad neighbours and link farms.
Instead of Conclusion
A good link is a link from an authority site, with a decent PR and a valuable number of links from similar/ related sites. Usually you’ll find such sites listed in authority directories or listed on serious industry related sites as valuable resources.
The best strategy to gain high-quality links is to become the resource for other sites. So once again: the users come first! After all, the users are going to give you the links!
Salman Siddiqui says
boy…soo much (good stuff) to read. Just subscribed to your feed. You have a regular reader!
Mihaela Lica says
I am always happy when my readers appreciate my work. Thank you very much.
My main concern is that you can’t guarantee every page of your website will be included in the SERPs. Considering I’m constantly adding new products to my company’s website, I need to be sure that customers can find them as soon as possible.
Mig’s note: please no self promoting links unrelated to your content. You’ve got a nofollow link already with your comment signature – and you also have a keyword in that. Besides, if I find your site valuable, I will link to it.
Mihaela Lica says
SEO, your comment has nothing to do with the topic of my article. You’ve also included a spammy link in your comment. This is the last time I allow a comment from you on my blog. BTW: if you cannot guarantee it to your clients that their pages will be included in the SERPs you are not an SEO!