An Important Link
Last week, I talked about how important it is that your site is SEO friendly, making it more likely to rank well within the various search engines. In this week’s edition of my Zazzle Media Beginner’s Guide to SEO, I’m going to discuss how important the links of your website are in a successful site.
While the architecture is a very important part – as you’ll recall from last week’s article I mentioned the ‘crawlers’ that try to work their way around your site, with their success reflecting in your ranking – and similarly, my colleague previously talked about how to write the best possible SEO content – SEO Articles, The Easy Way.
But the content and structure of the site are just two of the three vital parts of an SEO friendly website. The main contributor is the links associated with the site, both internally and externally.
The PageRank algorithm, made popular by Google, first introduced the use of links in measuring the quality and importance of a site. But what does that mean? Well, put simply, each link to a page is seen as a vote and the site with the most votes wins. The links essentially work as endorsements and those with the biggest and best influence Google.
Hold your horses!
But before you go out and flood your site with links to here, there and everywhere, Google reacted to the initial reaction of site owners and the engine adjusted its algorithm through a series of updates, including Panda and the very latest Panda 2.5 which took everyone by surprise earlier this month, to prevent them from manipulating their position.
So what became obvious was that rather than just throwing your links out into the World Wide Web like a form of bait, hoping to catch a juicy bit of PageRank, site owners should link to other quality and relevant pages around the web.
But before you start thinking that PageRank is the key to the success, let me put the brakes on slightly. There are a number of other influences in the linking process that the search engines take into account.
One of these is the anchor text of the site. This refers to the part of a link you can click on to take yourself from one page to another. This is usually the part underlined in blue, which you’ll notice in other parts of this article.
The search engine uses this specific text to help it understand what the page is about. For instance, if it sees a link titled ‘Beginner’s Guide to SEO’, it will be made aware that the site is about search engine optimisation.
Also, links that have their foundations in sites or pages on the same topic as the site belonging to the publisher are worth more than those from an unrelated topic.
Trust is another key concept, with the evaluation made on the link neighbourhood of the site, and which other trusted sites link to and from it. The more links you have to trusted sites, the more the search engines will think your site is a good one.
How the Links are Used
The primary use of links is to discover web pages, and to count the links as votes or hits, making the search engine want to take a look at it. Once it has that information, the links are indexed if they’re good enough. If the links have little or no value, the engines won’t waste the valuable space in their index on that site, because it has no value to those who use it. The cumulative link value, or link juice – which is a fantastic term by the way – is a factor in the decision.
The crawlers sent out by the search engines go about their jobs on a daily basis, and the guys at Google have said that they decide on the starting point based on PageRank, starting with the PR10 sites, such as Facebook, and working their way through.
The links play a critical part in those rankings, as I mentioned, so consider two almost identical websites, by which I mean the online content is the same quality on both. How does the engine decide which one ranks better? You guessed it, a coin toss – no, it turns to the links for the deciding vote.
Does that make it any clearer? In summary, don’t clog up your site with links to every site on the Internet. Focus on the quality and relevant pages and keep progressing good quality content with solid link structures that the crawlers can work their way through.
If you missed the previous part of my blog, you can catch up with the link below, or get in touch with Zazzle Media, the experts in SEO in Peterborough to find out how one of our campaigns can help you. Call today on 01778 382713 or leave us a message on our online contact form.
We hope you enjoyed reading this blog- this blog was written by Chris White, a Content Executive at Zazzle Media.