A Perfect Link
Webmasters are given the advice that they must attract links, but the key is not just to attract links... they need to attract good links. But what is the perfect link?
The search for the perfect link need not be a quest in vain. Consider the following when attempting to attract links...
The best links should come from related websites which contain similar and related content but not the same type of material or content. For example: A link for baby clothing would benefit from a link that discusses baby care.
The anchor text (the "text" that is used in the link) should include keywords that relate to the topic covered on the web page that is being linked to. Anchor text should be varied; links that all have the same anchor text will appear manipulated and contrived to the search engines. Therefore, the text links should contain a variety of related words.
3. Deep Link
The links should direct visitors to a related page within the website. Do not make the mistake of directing all of the web links to a website's home page. Deep linking, and directing visitors to material that corresponds to content that is closely related to the text link is key.
Deep linking appears more natural to search engines, whereas links directing all visitors to a single page or the home page seem unnatural, and could be interpreted as an effort to manipulate search engine ranking.
4. Domain And Page Authority
Search engines trust some websites more than others. Links from "authority" websites have more weight than links from lesser-known websites. Google is said to use PageRank as an indicator of authority. Keep in mind that PageRank is not the only factor used to determine a website's authority. Authority websites should still relate to the website it is pointing to.
5. Nix NoFollow
Links should not contain the NoFollow command. The NoFollow command directs search engines to not "follow" the link. If a link contains "NoFollow" there is no search engine benefit from the link; the only benefit to having the link is any organic traffic that results if the link is clicked. As a result, NoFollow links are nearly worthless.
6. Mix It Up
Links should come from a variety of sources. Fewer links from a larger number of websites will generally "weigh" more than a large number of links from a small number of websites.
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7. Surrounding Text
Some search experts claim that the text surrounding a link can influence ranking. Whether this is true or not is difficult to determine. It is more likely that links containing surrounding text are more likely to be relevant, and as a result those links tend to be worth more.
8. Link Position
The location of the link on the page can also influence the value of the link. Some search experts claim that footer links carry less value than links which are integrated into the actual web page content.
9. Type of Link
There does not appear to be a difference between a "text" link's value and an "image" link's value, if the image link contains ALT text. The search engines use the image ALT text in the same way they use the anchor text of a text link.
10. Number Of Outbound Links
A page with fewer links is better than a page with a large number of links. This is because a webpage passes along what is referred to as "link juice". The more "link juice" passed along, the more valuable the link is. The link juice is divided up over all the links on a webpage, so popular websites with few outgoing links are more valuable than those with a large number of links.
11. Link Age
Search engine critics cannot seem to agree as to whether older links or newer links carry more value. When information is vague, it is best to garner both aged links and new links to websites.
12. Vintage Domain
The age of the domain is said to influence link power. More than likely the age of the domain simply contributes to the trustworthiness of the website, and links from trusted websites tend to have more value.
13. One Way Links
Links that are not reciprocal carry more weight than those which are simply link-for-link exchanges.
14. Page Content
A web page that is mostly just a list of links has less value than a web page that contains a mixture of links and content.
15. Updated Pages
Web pages that are updated frequently will typically be spidered by search engines on a more frequent basis. The update will not influence the power of the link, but it will mean that the link will be picked up more quickly by the search engines.
16. Link Surges
Webmasters should be encouraged to gradually build links over time, rather than all at once. The gradual increase is more natural and will have a stronger impact on organic search rankings.
The quest for the perfect link can be frustrating and elusive, but the fact is: the perfect link is logical, appears natural, and grows over time. Best of luck in your attempt to find the perfect link.
By Sharon Housley - manages marketing for FeedForAll software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds and podcasts.
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