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Web site ranks and links: you have to do it right

Posted: August 19, 2008 8:50 p.m.
Updated: October 21, 2008 5:02 a.m.

This is in response to an article I read in the Aug. 6, 2008, Signal titled "Online Marketing: You could do it, too!"

The article discusses ways to improve one's search engine rankings using content and links. While there is a lot more to search engine optimization than content and links, the article states that adding links on your Web site to other Web sites will improve search engine ranking results.

This is not accurate and, in fact, the opposite is true.

Your Web site's position in the search engine results is influenced by many factors, including the technical design of your Web site, keywords and key phrase selection, keyword-rich copy, Meta-Tags and link popularity.

Link popularity involves links pointing to your Web site from other sites, not links you place on your own site to third-party Web sites.

Similar to references in academic research papers, the search engines reason that the more links from important Web sites to yours, the more respected and valuable your Web site must be.

Placing links on your Web site to other sites is actually a vote for the site you are linking to and does not improve the search engine positioning of your own Web site.

Many Web site owners engage in reciprocal linking strategies by agreeing to exchange links with other sites. While reciprocal link exchange does provide some lift, it is not nearly as effective as securing one-way links coming in to your site.

Link-building is a time-consuming affair. You have to do it right for it to bring you benefits in terms of search-engine positioning.

For example, suppose the name of your business is ABC Company and you have 50 links from other Web sites to your Web site.

In most cases, the name of those links is going to be ABC Company, right? All that will do is help your site move up in the search-engine rankings when people search for ABC Company, which means they already know you!

A much more effective strategy is to label that link with your most important key phrase, or the keywords that people might type in if they were trying to find your business category.

All links are not created equal. Many factors go into the quality of your links. Linking strategies and content development are just two of the elements that help search engines like Google decide who deserves to be on the first page.

Links you place on your own Web site to other sites do not have any impact on your search results


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