Search engine optimization (SEO) uses a number of factors to rank your page, and business analytics tools can help with both SEO and overall website/business performance. Unfortunately, you didn’t leave popularity contests behind in high school. Google only has so much space on the first couple of pages, and it’s important that your site is on there. You already know that it requires high-quality content with well-placed SEO words and phrases.
However, another way to boost your page rank is by having high-quality links. Backlinks on your website can help make or break your ranking. For example, drug rehab facilities can greatly benefit from .gov addiction counseling backlinks while chocolatiers can get a boost from backlinks to an expert’s theory on the benefits of cacao. Here’s how links can help you.
Quality, Not Quantity
You may have heard that the more links you have, the better your search engine results (SERPs) are. That’s only true when talking about high-quality links that make sense to your page. It’s pretty easy to provide a host of spam-ridden links, but that will devastate your page rankings. This isn’t purely a numbers game.
Good links should have SEO qualities that complement your site. For example, you should only be using links that make sense to your own site. A pet store that vehemently links to everything from guitars to plantation tours in Louisiana isn’t going to get far. It’s always best to have fewer quality links than a slew of bad ones.
Types of Links
There are two primary types of links, internal and external. Internal links are ones that you provide on your site. For example, you might link to a Wikipedia article about a certain service or product you offer. This will take visitors away from your site, and should only be used very sparingly (if at all). You might think you’re being helpful, and the link might be high quality, but you’re driving visitors away.
External links are links that bring visitors to your site. You don’t have much control over these links. However, if you’re involved in a link exchange, you can regain a little control. Make sure you only exchange links with quality sites that are complementary to your own. Otherwise, it might read as spam and your rank will take a hit.
Know Your Backlinks
There are multiple types of backlinks, and some are more desirable than others. An exact match anchor text completely matches what your potential visitors might be typing in, such as “jewelry stores in Boston.” A partial match anchor text might be “Boston jewelers.” A URL link is self-explanatory and lists your website as a URL.
There are also image backlinks and unrelated backlinks. Some say that it doesn’t really matter how visitors get to your site as long as they get there. However, working on quality links will up the number of people who do get there. The more people who visit (and wanted to get there), the higher your rankings will be.
Links as an SEO Foundation
SEO is an integral part of your web presence, and no site should be designed without SEO in mind. However, how links work with SEO is more flexible than other elements (such as writing a daily blog with organic, naturally placed SEO words). Just because a link was a good, high-quality fit in the beginning doesn’t mean it’s kept that same integrity. Properly using links requires checking them and updating them as needed.
There are many aspects of SEO that a non-pro can utilize, but links are a little trickier. It’s best to consult with an expert to ensure you get the kind of rankings you deserve. Otherwise, you might get stuck with sub-par links that do more harm than good.
About the Author
John Rampton is an entrepreneur, investor, online marketing guru and startup enthusiast.