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Link Building Strategies

No one knows how many quality links it would take to dominate search engine visibility, there are too many extenuating factors. Therefore the best strategy is searching for the most influential links, get as many as possible and make it an ongoing process to ensure a competitive advantage.

Linking should be from sites with a PageRank of greater than three if possible. Doing this will give a site a PageRank increase. On the other hand, linking to sites with lower PageRank may bring a site down in ranking.

Here are some other criteria to use when choosing sites:

1) Natural links (one-way, non-reciprocal) are the best type. Useful content which provides value to an audience will attract unsolicited links from other web sites.

2) Create articles and grant republishing rights. There are many webmasters on the lookout for articles that provide useful value. Granting republishing rights conditional upon linking back to the web site is a great way to accumulate one-way links.

3) Contact vendors, as a return favour for business or request links from suppliers’ web sites.

4) Post to industry related forums and take advantage by including links to the site with each post or including the URL in the user profile settings.

Thinking Creatively

There are multitudes of ways to get links back to a site by thinking a bit “out of the box”. These include:

1) Making comments in the press. It is common practice in many organisations to make comments to journalists for articles. If someone from an organisation makes a comment, be it for an article, feature or otherwise, it can often be productive to ask for a link back in return. There is no need to go over board when requesting a link, but simply asking definitely won’t hurt.

2) Sponsorship Deals. Sponsorship deals are a great way to build additional links. Virtually everybody that is in need of sponsorship, from charities and schools to sporting teams, will have a web site. It is not much of a stretch that such an organisation would be open to the suggestion of supplying a link in return for sponsorship. The key in this situation is not just getting a link, but to maximise the value of these links. Most marketing departments push for the logo to be the link, while this is not a bad idea, a text link is far more valuable. This is true as long as the text includes the sites primary keyword phrase. This will not only improve the link popularity, but also the link reputation of the site. If all that can be used is an image, it is vitally important that the image’s ALT tag uses the sites primary keyword phrase. A textual link is still preferable, but a descriptive ALT tag is the next best option.

3) Reviews. A link from a positive review is the best link of all. The result can be pre-qualified visitors with a positive outlook on a particular product, and also the added benefit of additional link popularity. Offering incentives to sites to review products is great way to build additional links. This is particularly true for high tech products, for which there are a plethora of sites online offering news and reviews.

These are just a few potential ways to increase the number of inbound links, and with a little brainstorming, many more can be dreamt up.

Summing Up

By thinking creatively, there is a multitude of ways that the number of incoming links can be increased. By thinking laterally, and keeping links at the front of everyone’s mind, not only will a site’s rankings improve, but additional sources of targeted, relevant traffic can be created.

Before running any link campaign it’s advised that acidgreen is contacted for help, link building strategies and advice.

By Author admin

SEO Off-Page Factors

Search engines are constantly striving to provide relevant search results for each search query. Up until now, search engines place high importance on SEO off-page factors – namely links.

Link Popularity

Link popularity is based on the number of links a search engine finds pointing to a particular site – the more popular the site, the more likely it is to have quality content. Quality sites are more likely to have content rich pages, allowing the search engine to provide relevant quality results to search queries. To this end, search engines still give higher ranking in their search results to pages that come from a site with high link popularity.

Google PageRank

PageRank is Google’s method of ranking web pages.

The best explanation of PageRank comes from Google itself:

“PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page’s value. In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But, Google looks at more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives, it also analyses the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves “important” weigh more heavily and help to make other pages “important.”

Reference: Google Technology Overview

A high PageRank gets progressively harder to achieve. No one is exactly sure how Google measures PageRank, although it is frequently associated with the number of inbound links to a site.

There is a lot of confusion over the value of PageRank, with many people believing that it directly relates to the returned results. This is untrue. When a search is conducted, Google uses a variety of factors (currently over 200) to find pages that are both important and relevant to the phrases searched for. PageRank is just one of these factors. A great way to track PageRank is with the Google Toolbar.

Every link improves PageRank, however the higher the PageRank of the originating page (not the whole site but the actual PAGE that the link comes from), the greater the benefit to the follow-on PageRank.

What this means is, if a page with a PageRank of 8/10 links to another site’s homepage, this will inevitably improve PageRank for that homepage more than if a page with a PageRank of 2/10 links to that homepage. There are of course a lot of other factors involved, but essentially, this principle forms the basis of it all.

When it comes to rank (i.e. where in the results a site appears on the SERP for a specific query), what the pages that link to a site are about will also influence how well a site ranks. For this reason, it is very important to foster linking relationships with sites that are related in nature and similarly themed. The best way to increase rankings is by making sure the links pointing to a site match the “theme” of the site. These are otherwise known as “themed sites”.

Link Reputation

An important area of SEO is what is referred to as “link reputation”.

In the traditional model, whenever a page links to another, that page was thought of as “casting a vote” for the destination page. With link reputation, it is not just a vote that is cast, but the link is also saying something about the destination page. The words used in that link have a large influence on the rank of the page that the link points to. This is referred to as “link reputation”.

Link reputation has an even greater influence on a page’s rankings than link popularity. Specifically, link reputation is derived from the text used to link from one page to another page.

The rationale behind link reputation runs something like: “We know what THEY think their page is about but, what do other people have to say about it?”

By incorporating a link reputation strategy, the search curve can be bent in a sites favour, and rank extremely well.

For copywriters and other people involved in creating copy that is to go onto the web, it is always best to use existing copy within documents to create links.

As an example, if a person is mentioned on a page, and that person has a page on the site, such as the CEO, Directors etc, then using that person’s name to link through to their page is an excellent way to improve the relevance of the page that the link points to.

Improving Link Popularity and PageRank

For now, Link popularity and Google’s equivalent PageRank is an important part of organic SEO. It is also the hardest area of SEO to get results from.

Developing link popularity is time-consuming and requires a dedicated effort of implementing a successful link campaign strategy. Although prominent rankings can be achieved without strong link popularity for non-competitive terms, a sensible linking strategy is essential for high volume, competitive search terms.

For more information on link campaign strategies offered by acidgreen, please contact us.

By Author admin

Will Google+ and the Google +1 Button Influence Organic Rankings?

Organic rankings are already being influenced by Google+ activity and the Google +1 button!

In order to currently see this in action, you need to be logged into your Google account and have created a Google public profile. Once you add people into your Google+ circles, any activity from those people, whether sharing content or clicking on the +1 button, will influence what you see in organic listings when you search with a connected phrase.

For example, the other day while logged into my Google account with my public profile, I searched with a particular phrase. The organic listings on page 1 of Google included URLs shared by people in my Google+ circles!  This is an example of social search at its best where organic listings are influenced by what people in your circles recommend or share. When I logged out of my Google account, the page 1 organic listings for the same search term obviously did not include these URLs recommended by the same people.

For the present time, you need to be logged into your Google account and have a Google public profile to see recommendations on the search results pages and to be able to recommend yourself via the Google +1 button. The question is, will people not logged into Google accounts and without Google public profiles be able to see public recommendations for organic listings and will these recommendations influence their search results?

At the moment, organic listings are influenced by back links so why shouldn’t they also be influenced by recommendations by people?

I think eventually they will be, whether logged into a Google account or not. And if you want a social search experience where your search results are influenced by people you follow or people you know, or if you want to be able to recommend yourself, then this will always be an option to you by creating a public profile and logging in!

A similar situation can be seen with Facebook and the Like button. If you are not logged into your Facebook account, you still can see how many people ‘Like’ a particular page (say) on a website you visit. If you are logged into Facebook, then any friends who have ‘Liked’ this page will be visible to you.

So we are currently looking at two scenarios, organic results influenced by Google+ and +1 button activity even though we are not logged into any Google account (not happening yet), and the second scenario (which is available now) is when we are logged in with a public profile and organic rankings are also influenced by people in your Google+ circles!

With the first scenario, the obvious challenge for Google is the numerous ’spamming’ techniques that will arise.

Google public profiles are currently only allowed for individuals though Google will soon make this officially available for businesses and brands. How these business public profiles will tie in with Google Places accounts is yet to be known though the rumour is that there will be some kind of connection. Time will tell.

It is also evident that the more followers a brand or business public profile will have, the more visible it will be to those people in their search results (when logged in and searching with relevant terms). For example, I plan to follow the Toyota Google public profile when it is created. This means there is a good chance Toyota listings will be more visible to me when I search for car related phrases (and logged in).

If you haven’t implemented the Google +1 button on all pages of your site, I highly recommend that you do as Google+ and social search is here to stay. You want to give people the option of recommending your pages via the +1 button at every opportunity.

Google has tied together its social network and +1 button with its search product (organic and paid) which means if your business site doesn’t get on this search band wagon soon, it will be left behind.

For more information on implementing the Google +1 button and our social media optimisation services, please contact us.