Archive for the ‘links’ Tag

Inbound Links from Other Sites   15 comments

Inbound Links from Other Sites can help a website move up in natural search rankings. But if the search engines conclude that your website is  stockpiling links solely to move up in search results, your website may be penalized and see the  site virtually disappear from search engine pages.

Links had evidently been purchased solely to enhance search engine rankings, in violation of Google’s rule against buying links in order to manipulate search results. Google typically gives more credit to links from educational sites with .edu domains because they are deemed to be more objective than commercial sites.

Only Google’s own Webspam team knows exactly what search engine optimization tactics raise red flags, but certain SEO practices are known to be risky.

Manipulated anchor text in inbound links: Search engines can easily identify inbound links that contain manipulated anchor text, the highlighted word or phrase in web content that someone clicks to get more information. A
classic example of this violation occurs after you identify a specific keyword phrase or group of phrases that command high search volume, and then you attempt to own these phrases by purchasing many identical links that use the exact words in the targeted phrases.

When search engines see unnatural repetition of precise keywords within the text of these links, originating from hundreds or thousands of sites, they may deem this to be an indicator of manipulated anchor text.

Links from irrelevant sites: Relevance is one of the most important aspects of any link portfolio. Just as search engines evaluate each site in terms of its relevance to particular search terms, so, too, do they evaluate sites linking to that website. If the linking sites tend to be relevant to the website and the products it sells, this provides a greater boost than links from irrelevant sites.

However, garnering many links from sites that have little or nothing to do with your site content not only provides little benefit, it can be seen by search engines as an indication of unsavory SEO practices and lead to penalties.

Links from unrelated foreign sites: Links from sites based in countries where a you do not do business can also raise a red flag. If you do not sell in Russia and China, Google may look askance at links from sites using the domains .ru
(Russia) and .cn (China). Though these links can occur naturally, and are not under a retailer’s control, the rapid acquisition of many such links may suggest intentional link manipulation and trigger penalties.

Link Spam: Each inbound link your website can be evaluated for the contextual relevance of the linking source page. But if that source page also links to a number of other unrelated sites—most likely taking payment for that link spam—it can raise a red flag and get labeled by search engines as an undesirable inbound link for your site.

Links from bad neighborhoods: your site can be evaluated for links from sites with low PageRank scores and or questionable incoming link portfolios. Google prefer sites to avoid links to web spammers or ‘bad neighborhoods’ on the web, as your own ranking may be affected adversely by those links.

Social Media and SEO   19 comments

As people interested in growing website traffic, it is important that we understand social media and SEO. SEO is the one that, through time and understanding, will bring you the most traffic, most consistently. But social media can do some surprising things for your business.

The main way that SEO and social media intersect is in the area of links. Social media sites have them, and SEO needs them. You can use social networks such as Facebook and Twitter to generate inbound links from popular, high-TrustRank websites. You could use social media campaigns to attract links from news sites, social bookmarking sites, and popular blogs.

Social networks like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter represent the masses. And while a single link or status update on one of these social networks has no significance, there is great power in numbers. If you post a link to a video you took, and it strikes a chord in the average person, she will share it with her friends, who will share it with their friends, and so on. If you are the creator of a piece of content that goes viral, your website can get links rained upon it. This is why social media is a powerful complement in the world of SEO. In the future, SEO and social media will evolve together to incorporate our profiles, preferences, and relationships into search results.

The flow of information: Traditionally, the most powerful ways of getting exposure have been advertisements, press, and word of mouth. Although these tools have always been the backbone of marketing, the rise of social media websites has opened up a whole new world of possibilities for online marketers.

In the past,you might see an ad in a magazine, stare at it for a few seconds, and then either remember it or forget about it. Now the same company might place an ad on Facebook. Recognizing the company, you might click Like underneath the ad, indicating your acceptance of the brand. The next day, because of that “like,” you might get a status update showing you a YouTube video that the company made as part of a campaign for a new product. Finding the video interesting, you might then post it on your friend’s profile page. His 1,000 friends might then see it, and 3 of them might post it on their friends’ profile pages. An additional 2 of your friend’s friends might tweet about it, exposing it to their 800 combined followers. One of those peoples’ followers might then submit it to a social bookmarking site such as Digg, where the best content of the day gets posted on the home page. If enough people voted for this video, it would hit the front page of Digg, get 150,000 additional views and 550 comments, and even more sharing would occur. Because of the Digg exposure, 15 blogs might repost the video, including a major outlet that gets millions of visitors per month. And on goes the sharing. That entire journey started with just one click.

The significant event, SEO-wise, in that story was the part where the blogs reposted the video to their sites. If 15 blogs repost a video, that’s 15 links to a single web page. In this case, the web page hosting the content was on YouTube, but it could easily have been hosted on your website. As you know from earlier chapters, acquiring a link can be pretty tough in an age when most webmasters understand the value of linking.

Link Building   Leave a comment

Buying links can be an effective supplemental strategy in a link-building campaign if it is done cautiously and sparingly. In fact, no method of building links should dominate the overall effort, as the best way to appease the search engines is with a portfolio of high-quality links obtained through as many different means as possible.

Below are just some of the proven methods of building links.  All of these strategies require long hours of hard work, but they also come free of the financial cost and professional risk of link buying:

Press Releases/News Outlets
Sending out press releases to news organizations and PR sites is a great way to attract visitors to your site and to build new links. There are numerous free sites online to help facilitate the process, but it’s also not a bad idea to get acquainted with your own local media resources.

Blogs
Blogs are another great way to get the relevant links you need, especially since you control the direction of the content on your own blog. Featuring compelling guest bloggers is also a very effective way of expanding your audience and gaining high quality links.

Community Forums
Posting on forums and discussion boards is well worth the effort it takes to find the communities that are going to be most interested in your products and services.

Nonprofit Organizations
Nonprofit and charity organizations are excellent vehicles for building inroads into your local community and beyond, often leading to increased traffic and possibly valuable links for your website. One way to initiate a relationship is by offering your services for free or by making a donation, both great ways to build your business’ reputation.

Social Bookmarking
Social bookmarking takes a lot of time, but there may not be a better way to gain favor with the search engines today than through building great links across the many social media channels.

Building quality links to your site requires many long hours that will pay off in the long run — despite the fact that it doesn’t always feel that way. Technically, the second point is also indisputable, as anyone who buys links to avoid the hard work of painstakingly building a portfolio will wind up on Google’s radar, and possibly on its blacklist.

Although some of today’s SEO’s might consider them somewhat antiquated, directories are still among the safest and best resources for establishing a site’s reputation with the search engines.

The only three links you would ever buy  are the Yahoo! directory, the Best of the Web directory and the Business.com directory. The reason why these sites aren’t penalized, which is because of their ‘strict editorial processes.  Each one of these links will really help build a site’s credibility for about $300 a year. But it is by no means the end of the conversation, as link buying and selling has grown into an industry all its own. The key to making it a legitimate component of your link-building strategy is doing it sparingly — and knowing when a link is worth the cost and the risk involved.

The criteria, then, for any link that justifies spending your money and risking your online reputation should be considerably harder to meet than links obtained traditionally. There are five categories to examine, and a paid link should rate favorably in all of them even to be considered. The first category is the relevance of the content on the website providing the link to the content on your own site, followed by the SERP ranking of the site providing the link. Where relevance is less of an issue for the links you get through friends, associates and general networking, it is of vital importance for a paid link, as are very high rankings in search results.

The third area to explore is the amount of monthly unique visitors that go to the site providing the link, as high search rankings do not always guarantee that a site is heavily trafficked. Fourth is the placement of the link, and a good rule of thumb is to avoid the more suspiciously viewed sidebar and footer links in favor of links on the homepage or another page where the content is most relevant to your own.

The final factor to look at, of course, is the price of the link, and only you can determine its relative value for your own budget. Another general rule, however, is to avoid discounts on dozens or more links at once — which is simply inviting trouble from Google. You should be purchasing one link at a time and no more often than one per week, anyway.

Link Development   2 comments

Link  development and link building are not the same. Link development is based on a strategy to build organic backlink growth. Developing links of the highest quality and the  best value to search engines.

Link Placement

-Links that are part of the content are more valuable than footer links or blog roll links.

-Links on the left side of a web page are indexed first and are also more influential than those on the right side.

Anchor Text

-Search engines can easily detect anchor text frequency. Constantly link building for one or two keywords and using those terms repeatedly in anchor text will be set as non organic link building by search engines.

No Follow/Do Follow Blog Comments

-Spammy blog comments should be avoided.

-If your vertical is heavily influenced by blogs, it is beneficial to engage with these blogs as enthusiastic user and consumer irrespective of whether the links that point to your site are do-follow or no-follow.

Link Development Techniques

Building Widgets

Building useful widgets is a powerful link development technique. Creating a widget is simple but getting mass adoption is tough. The widget should have a strong value proposition-  strong enough for hundreds and thousands of other owners to add to their web sites.

Infographics

Infographics is a good way to develop topically relevant links to your website. The sole purpose of the infographic should
be to create viral-worthy content and gain user adoption. Of course, to succeed, the infographic must be useful and/or
entertaining.

Tracking and Reporting

Tracking your link development process is very important. Tracking SEO campaigns will help you understand which strategies are working and which are not. You can then double your efforts the winning strategies for even greater link development.

Link Tracking Tools

Open Site explorer  is a robust tool (if you use the API) that gives insight into your site’s link graph, anchor text distribution and trustrank.

-Link Graph: You can plot your very own link graph by tracking changes on Open Site Explorer’s “external followed links”. By plotting the number of links that point to your site each week you can keep a close watch on your link graph.

-Anchor Text Distribution: This metric helps with competitive sizing. You can compare the amount of keyword-specific anchor texts that are pointing to your competitor versus your own site. Although anchor text volume is not the only ranking factor, it helps benchmark yourself against the competition.

Google Webmaster

The Google Webmaster Tool has come a long way since it started — it now offers day-by-day updates on your site’s health,
internal and external links, keyword ranking, visits and click-through data. This is extremely powerful data for all SEOs.
Some of the most useful features are:
• Monitor internal links
• Monitor external links
• Evaluate site performance
• Project traffic/revenue based on search query analysis
• Track duplicate Title/Meta Tags
• Track crawl errors
• Submit sitemap

Out the features above, my personal favorite is the Search Query Analysis. This tool can be used to predict the effect of increasing a keyword’s rank, on traffic and even revenue.

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