By Catherine Potts
Mar 1, 2007
More Articles by Catherine
Q: What do you do if you see an SEO drowning?
A: Take your foot off his head
This week I’d like to discuss the importance of backlinking to your website. Sometimes backlinks are also called ‘inbound links’. Backlinks are links that are placed on other sites, directing traffic to your web address. Supposedly, the more you have the better. Also, the quality and relevance of the backlinks on the site (where the link is placed) play a role as well.
If you have a backlink on a site that has no relevance to your site, then it won’t be considered as a quality link by Google, in most situations. The quality of the backlinks to your site will usually directly reflect your link popularity. A website can have a large number of sites linking to it which helps with link popularity, but that’s not the only judge. Try this backlink checker tool to check the backlinks to your site or a competitor’s site.
“The actual number of links to your site is not the only variable used to calculate your link popularity. The search engines also examine the relevance of the links to the subject matter of your site. For example, if a website that sells vitamins has 4,000 inbound links, but the source of most of the links are websites that have nothing to do with vitamins, then the algorithm that search engines use to determine link popularity will take that into account, and the link popularity score will not be very good.”
So you can see that the more closely relevant the linking site’s content is to your site the better. Even better if you get a higher number of links with higher quality than your competitors. Do that, and you’ll be good to go for visibility in the SERPs.
“Search engines want websites to have a level playing field, and look for natural links built slowly over time. While it is fairly easy to manipulate links on a web page to try to achieve a higher ranking, it is a lot harder to influence a search engine with external backlinks from other websites. This is also a reason why backlinks factor in so highly into a search engine’s algorithm. Lately, however, a search engine’s criteria for quality inbound links has gotten even tougher, thanks to unscrupulous webmasters trying to achieve these inbound links by deceptive or sneaky techniques, such as with hidden links, or automatically generated pages whose sole purpose is to provide inbound links to websites. These pages are called link farms, and they are not only disregarded by search engines, but linking to a link farm could get your site banned entirely.”
Webconfs.com also mentiones the importance of reciprocal linking for visibility, but that we need to tread carefully in this area. It’s good to have only the highest quality links pointing to your website. Webconfs.com also says that Google is working on a patent that will deal with both link popularity and trustworthiness. So to get ready for this possibility make sure to only relate to the best possible and relevant sites. You don’t want to get penalized for being associated with a site that isn’t considered a both relevant and quality one by the search engines.
Google also gives credence to sites that link to each other and have some matching keywords, anchor text and diversity of keywords in the sites linking to your site.
“…if you have a site that sells handbags, and all the links to your site are from other sites that contain nothing but the keyword HANDBAGS, Google considers that to be abnormal. To get a higher score, you need to have links coming from sites that contain a variety of keywords related to handbags, such as BUY HANDBAGS, LEATHER HANDBAGS, etc.”
So you can see that it takes a variety of factors to increase your popularity in Google. It seems that the days of gaining popularity in a negative manner are soon becoming a thing of the past and Google helping lead the way. It’s far more respectable to gain popularity in the SERPs through a positive campaign of relevant backlinks, keywords and anchor text. It always takes some sweat equity to gain in popularity, but I think it’s worth the work.