Link Optimization 101

Even if web design and E-Commerce are brand new ventures for you, you’re probably aware that SEO is a key aspect of succeeding in the online space. Beyond that, it’s widely known that building inbound links (that is links from other websites, to your website) is the number one factor that can gain you SEO value any day, across the board. As google and other search engines scan or “crawl” the web, they see the inbound links pointing to a website, and assign search ranking value based on the quantity, and quality of these links. Note: “quality” is the word in that last sentence that is growing in importance every time google updates its algorithm. If you aren’t already, it’s time to really start focusing on optimizing your inbound links for the best quality and appearance – or you could be mission out on some of the best Link generated SEO value coming your way.

Optimize Your Anchor Text

“Anchor Text” is an absolute defining factor for any link to the search engines. This descriptive phrase that’s hyperlinked to another webpage speaks to the value someone wants to assign to the particular link. For example, 40 inbound links to your sailing website with the anchor text “cat videos” might not have as much value as 10 links with the anchor text of “sail boats.” You can see that google is actually reading the words you and your linking websites are choosing for anchor text, and respecting the relevancy of these terms in relation to your industry. Furthermore, any keyword you want to rank for should appear in your inbound link anchor text – as these are the phrases that you will get results from for having them appear in your anchor text. Even if google gives you all the SEO power you could ever desire for your links and anchor text – this won’t help you much if the only links you’ve created use text like “click here” and “this website.” You have to optimize your anchor text on every single link you get.

The Big Value of Link Relevancy

You saw me reference “relevancy” in the last paragraph, and this factor is almost as essential as anchor text. Link relevancy represents google’s extremely advanced algorithmic power to not only see the likeness of anchor text keywords to a landing page / website – but the overall relevancy of the website linking to your site, the pages being linked to and from, and the keywords that surround the link on the linking page. The more relevancy google can see among all of these factors; the more SEO power will be awarded. This means you need to be working hard to get links from sites within your industry. If possible, try to get links from their content pages on a specific keyword topic, to your content pages on a specific keyword topic. Just try to break the natural SEO habit of gearing content toward a robot crawl – and start to imagine that every link and page you get are going to be analyzed by the savviest of human beings who specialize in SEO. You wouldn’t try to fool them with spammed links, or irrelevant references would you? Link Relevancy is the sum of this effort to show a genuine connection – so be relevant!

Internal Linking: A Must

While this is more of an onsite SEO activity – internal linking is your way to be your own best resource. But your website content is all there, why should you bother to link it all together anyhow? To begin with, it’s just a nice way to create a more usable website for your visitors; and help them get the most from your site’s content architecture. However, that isn’t the beginning of the SEO benefit of internal linking… Internal linking is your way of telling google that you are your number one critic: and the review is good. While google can scan your site and come to its own evaluation of your overall content relevancy – this is going to happen faster, and guaranteed if you show google how relevant your site content architecture is. You can do this, by, linking your relevant content together. It’s also good to link out to relevant offsite content as well, but your internal links make you the number one source. Hint: if you find yourself having trouble finding relevant internal link opportunities among your own site, that is a pretty clear sign that you need more content on your website in general.

Author: Tyler Watkins is a Marketing Manager at PrintingForLess.com, America’s Postcard Printer.