Edinburgh Web Development

Links - votes for your web site

by Iain Wilson

14 January 2006

OK, so you've got your web site on the search engines, and that's good progress. The site content has been set up to be friendly to the search engines, and that's important too.

The next piece in the jigsaw is the link popularity aspect. This is the number and quality of links from other sites that point to your site.

Without quality links, your site will never become highly placed in some search engines (particularly Google) no matter how well the content and structure of the site has been crafted.

Lots of links, right? It is good to have lots of links to your site, but of course it is not quite that simple. In the old days the more links the better your site was placed, but unscrupulous site owners found ways to generate huge number of artificial links.

So the search engines got a lot smarter. The quality of the links is now very important.

Link quality By quality, we mean the relevance that the linking site has to your site. This can mean consistent copy content, a rating that the search engines have given the site based on historical data or any other method of subjectively assessing the site. So you want lots of good quality links.

How do we get links? There are two main ways; paid and not paid. If you go down the paid route you pay directories and search engines to list your site.

Paid links have their place, but let's assume you don't want to spend just now. With a little work you can orchestrate your own link campaign.

Your link campaign Here are three key places where you can aim to get links to your site.

  • Business associates and professional associations
  • Local business directory sites
  • Industry directory sites

Business associates. Contact your business associates and ask if they will link to your site. Associations are a great place to link from because they will by default have a creditable rating.

You may need to reciprocate by placing a link to their site from yours. Reciprocal links do not help you at all. In fact, they will dilute the power of the incoming link, so avoid this if you can.

Local business direcories In every area there are directories for local business. These directories contain good content about businesses in the local area. In Scotland, for example, The Edinburgh Directory and Scotlinks are great places to list your business.

There may be directories that are specific to your own industry. For example, web design companies might want to list in the UK web design directory.

Industry directories Many industries have national directories that will take free submissions. A finance example is www.financelink.co.uk

What to ask for A simple text link is all that's required, but if you can, make sure that the hyperlinked text to your site is your targeted search phrase, not the url. e.g.

Imported Russian caviar - good, the link text contains a text phrase.
www.cafeczar.com - not so good, the link text just contains the address

A little caution! OK, you've just had a crash course in improving your link popularity, but tread carefully. Don't expect results overnight. This takes a lot of time.

Also, don't get too many links too quickly. Google will recognise this and penalise your site. Make no mistake, this is work and it is an ongoing activity, but if you stick at it you will get results.

Update 2014

Well, this article was writen in 2006, and although much of the article still holds true, like a lot of things on the web, the position has changed.

Google still wants you to have links, but they really, really want you to have quality links. Penguin and Panda updates have really enforced this, so if you have low quality links from say, low quality directories, they will not help at all.

In fact, perhaps the exact opposite.

They also don't want you to be spamming them with artificial link text.  So use links with link text containing your keywords more sparingly now (maybe only 10% of links to a certain page), and link to different pages

So yes, keep getting links, the emphais is on quality links and quality content and don't spam the link text.


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