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Good links or bad links, which kind does your site have?

 

Good links or bad links


One of the most important on site factors for search engine optimization is the number and quality of links your site contains.  As strange as it may sound some links help, while others hinder your rankings with major search engines.

 

Anchor Text

For those of you that are new, anchor text is the link text that appears highlighted (and typically underlined) when you place your mouse cursor over it.  The anchor text of all links should be descriptive, and should relate to the subject of the source & destination pages.  Ideally it should contain keywords for your site and for the destination site.  Using the site name is generally ok, if it's descriptive enough. 

 

Internal Links

Internal links on your site (those links that reference other pages on the same site) can improve your pagerank if implemented correctly.  Without discussing specific algorithms, the upshot is that you should ensure you do the following:
  • add a navigation menu that appears on every page of your site (this ensures every page will be linked at least once from every other page)
  • add breadcrumbs to your site which will add a link to each page from all sub pages below it in your site heirarchy
  • consider adding other navigation aids that appear on every page, such as important pages at the top and/or bottom of the site
  • cross reference pages where relavent from within page content
Avoid having more than four or so internal links that point to the same page on any given page.  To clairfy, an exmaple would be your home page having seven different links to your contact page.  Having more than four, in my experience, will cause Google to penalize you for spamming.

 

External Links

In this case, "External Links" refers to links on your site that point to other sites.  First it should be clear that Google doesn't penalize you for having a lot of outbound links on your site.  If that were the case DMOZ and virtually all web directories would have a Google ranking of zero.  Many SEO experts will disagree with me on this, but Google even says so themselves.  That's not to say that you should start linking to every page you can think of either.  There is a possibility that Google and other Search Engines will penalize you if you link to sites that aren't at all relavent to your business or those that have no Google page rank.  Here are some basic guidelines:
  • only link to sites that are related to your core business; if your site covers a variety of different topics then only link to and on pages with the appropriate topic
  • only link to sites that have a Google page rank of 1 or higher; this is not only respected by Google, but also by other search engines
  • don't create multiple links to the same page from the same page

 

Exchanging Links

Exchanging links with another site to swap visitors (reciprocal linking), besides paid banner ads, was the primary source of web traffic back when the Google founders were first enrolling in University.  Unfortunately this practice causes the value of each reciprocal link to be discounted by search engines.  Still there is some value in it, particulary if the topic and keywords for each site are similar.  It's also worth while noting, search engines aside, that link exchanges are still a great way to get direct traffic from your partners.  Remember that you are in charge of your own site.  Consider all link requests carefully and ensure they are relavent for your site and your visitors.

 

seo Tools

You should use an seo tool to keep track of your partners' page rank.  To see Google Page Rank you will need to insall the Google Tool Bar or use a service; there are a number of free services around.  I use the Google Tool Bar because it automatically shows me the PR of every site I visit and it has a number of other good features built in.
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