Back Links – The Big SEO Muscle
The single most important factor in determining how highly your site ranks on Google's results screen is, in fact, mostly out of your control.
I'm talking about backlinks from other websites. Depending on who you ask (since most of Google's processes are proprietary secrets) the quantity and quality of links to your site determines between 60%-70% of your final “score” with Google. You could have the single best selection of content online in your field, but if no one is linking to you, you'll never get seen in search engine results.
Now, this matter isn't totally out of your control, but fundamentally, the most you can really do is try to influence what happens. So, for the next couple blogs, we'll be talking about backlink strategies in SEO.
Today's post will focus primarily on things you should do yourself on your webpage to help encourage links.
On-Page Search Engine Optimization Backlink Strategies
First, just a quick note about PageRank ratings: PageRank is an internal evaluation Google does of the quality and trustworthiness of a webpage. This used to be a direct influence on a site's search rankings. Now, it's an “invisible” statistic that mostly determines how much weight they give to shared links. The higher a site's PageRank, the more impressive it is that they linked to you.
A lot of people obsess over PageRank, but honestly, it's a pretty minor factor these days. You want links from popular sites, but aside from that, it really doesn't affect you directly.
Have good content! Honestly, this is the #1 best and most effective way of garnering quality backlinks. Put up quality content that people want to share, and they will. This is known as “organic” backlink building, and it's by far the best method. Attempts at “gaming” the system might not hurt you, but you won't get optimal results either.
Make your website linking-friendly. You should hopefully have a domain name which is relatively short, easy-to-remember, and relevant to your business. You should also try to keep individual page URLs as short as possible, with human-readable filenames rather than random letters or numbers.
Include plenty of links of your own. Don't be stingy with your outbound links. Linking to good content can sometimes get you on those websites' radar, resulting in a mutually beneficial (and totally organic) swapping of links and discussion. Besides, writing good content means including good citations for your information.
Don't forget to link to yourself. While internal links may not directly contribute to building backlinks in SEO, they help establish you as an authority worth reading. Including links to other pieces of content you produce makes it more likely someone will see something they want to share.
Mix up anchor text links and image links. Use some of both. Anchor text links make it clear how the linked content is relevant to the current text, but image-based links allow you to cram more metadata into its tags. Plus, they attract people's eyes.
Like I said above, building good backlinks is tricky. This is what really separates the search engine optimization successes from the failures. However, it all starts with putting good content on your website.
So, tune in next time, where we discuss the use of secondary backlink strategies, such as social media and article directories!
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