On-page optimisation is an important part of your SEO strategy. Even more important is the Off-page optimisation of your site to meet the requirements of the major Search Engine's criteria to gain top ranking positions in their search results. Specifically, this article deals with Links on other sites linking back to your website. Just to clarify, each back-link to your site counts as a popularity vote in the eyes of the Search Engines. The more popular your site is, generally equates to how highly the Search Engines will rank your site for your chosen keywords. What will come to light here is that "Quality" out performs "Quantity" when embarking on your link building campaign.
Let's start by taking an example of a true posting on a Newsgroup I read recently. The frustrated Poster went on to explain that he had over 200 sites linking back to his website. Even with this amount, his pages were not showing in the top 100 in any of the major Search Engines for his chosen "keywords". What annoyed him even more was, when he analysed the website in #1 position for the same keyword search, he observed that the site only had 21 links! When I analysed both sets of links, the answer was very plain to see. Out of the 200+ links to the Posters website, most were of poor quality and didn't score a positive vote with the Search Engines. Needless to say, when I analysed the 20 or so links back to the site holding #1 position, most of the links were good quality, positive votes for that site. So the conclusion in this case is that Quality definately out-performed Quantity.
So the obvious question is: What criteria makes a good quality Link? The answer to this is that it must pass a Quality Control check to meet, as Google describes it to be a NATURAL Link. The check off list for quality is as follows:
1. Run a test to make sure the Links Page your link will be on is indexed by the Search Engines. Make sure there are no Robots.txt preventing it from being indexed.
2. Ideally the Links Page will have a Google PR ranking at least equal to your site.
3. If the Links Page has no PR ranking, check that it hasn't been banned by the Search Engines. Linking to a banned site can seriously damage your page ranking or even get YOUR site banned too!
4. Check there is a direct Text/Anchor Link from the sites Home page to their Links Page. This will be sufficient if the Links Page has no PR as mentioned in 2. above. Taking note that the Home page has a PR ranking at least equal to your site.
5. When you supply the text for your link, make sure your Primary Keywords are used in the Link/Anchor part of the text. Check this after the website owner has placed your Link on his Links Page.
6. Make sure there is no more than 25 outbound links from the Links Page. Over this amount will water down the value of the links on the page.
7. Don't go mad and try to place a thousand links in one day (not that it will be possible if done correctly - which is by using MANUAL submission). A sudden big increase in Links back to your site in a short space of time can be seen as Spam by the Search Engines and you know what will happen next!
There are other factors that could be discussed but, by keeping to just the seven items listed above - with no compromise, then you will be establishing Quality Links back to your website. I'll tell you now, finding links with all these seven qualities is not an easy task. It's going to take a lot of searching and a lot of hours to find that unique handful which will most definately help in achieving the top ranking positions in the Search Engines you desire for your website.
Another good tip: Go to the major Search Engines like Google, Yahoo! and MSN. Click on their Help button, find the information on URL Submission and read carefully. They will tell you exactly what they are looking for from your website to get indexed with them. Obey - and you never know, one day you'll look and find your site in #1 position. Believe me, it's a great feeling of satisfaction when it happens.
I wish you well and future success with your search engine optimisation efforts.
About the author: Steve Lodge
Web Site Optimisation UK