Websites that are able to amass a large
number of links from related websites that contain relevant
content, tend to have an advantage when attempting to
rank well in the large search engines. The tricky part
is understanding how to build a large quantity of quality
links. With the growth of the web and increased competition,
search engines are weighing link relevance, and link
authority as part of their ranking algorithm.
Link popularity is a form of "social bookmarking". Think
about it, a link is akin to a "vote" from the source.
Just like in the real world, a vote from a source that
is known to be trusted and respected in a specific industry
carries more weight and contains more social clout,
so does a link from a credible online source. Web links
are seen as a recommendation or a website endorsement.
If the endorsements are from established respected sources
in a specific sector, the link is weighed heavier than
an unrelated link or links from a source that is not
The easiest way to earn a link is to provide
quality unique content.
How do you know who is respected?
One way to determine the value of a website is by accessing
its PageRank. PageRank is visible in the Google Toolbar
and is calculated based on the number of quality incoming
links that a website has. Alexa Rank and TrustRank are
also indicators of a websites popularity. Alexa tracks
the websites that people who use the Alexa toolbar visit.
Based on these visits, they determine the popularity
of a website and rank it accordingly. TrustRank is a
little more difficult to pin down. TrustRank is based
on the assumption that good websites rarely link to
PageRank and Alexa Rank can be used to
help webmasters assess what webpages and websites are
valued by search engines. Keep in mind, this is not
an end-all/be-all. The rankings should only be used
only as guides. Relevance matters, a link from a respected
tree website will not help a software website unless
they are selling software related to trees or landscaping.
Some websites wield great power. They are not topic
specific and are considered quality credible sources
or "authorities". Examples of authoritative sources
would be other search engines or directories like Yahoo,
DMoz and Wikipedia. They are respected resources on
almost any industry topics. Authoritative links are
desirable and can help increase a websites popularity.
Regardless of a websites topic material, if the website
is well designed and informative, its generally not
too difficult to attract links to a websites' main page.
But what many webmasters do not realize, it is equally
important to attract incoming links to a variety of
pages on the website. The more varied the links to various
webpages within a single domain, shows search engines
that a website contains an abundance of quality material.
When a publisher links to a website, the search engines
consider the link text used in the link. Varied but
related text in the link shows what the material is
about. All links that contain the same text look "unnatural"
and may be considered as "purchased" or unreliable.
Search engines are partial to natural incoming links.
Ideally attempt to establish varied linking text that
unite in a common theme.
An example: Software Marketing Resource
http://www.softwaremarketingresource.com has a number
of links with text containing things like: software
marketing; shareware marketing; software promotion;
online software marketing; promoting software; promoting
shareware. All are synonymous with software marketing
and are natural phrases that would be used to describe
the same website.
Directories should not be overlooked in linking strategies
and while webmasters should not rely on directories
solely when developing strong links, they can be advantageous.
Particular attention should be paid to topic specific
directories. A topical directories are often consider
authorities and a related link can boost exposure.
Webmasters looking for links and don't know where to
look, should have a peak at who is linking to their
competitors. Use competitive intelligence to track down
quality link sources.
Give it Away
An easy way to earn links is to give something away.
Whether you are providing quality content free of charge
or a free software application, webmasters appreciate
quality content and products that are available free
of charge. Use the free item or content to draw attention
to your website, if you are truly providing something
of value, it will generate unsolicited links that are
invaluable. Develop a linking strategy as part of your
website marketing plan.
The aim should be to attract authoritative
links from related sources.
About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll Make
RSS Editor software for creating, editing, publishing
RSS feeds and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages marketing
for RecordForAll Audio