Link building

Search Engine Optimization for Dummies (part 2)

December 2006

The basics of SEO includes building links to your website. This is pretty well known, because google pagerank is based on counting links to websites. What's less well known is that

Below are some do's and don'ts on link building. 

So what links should I get?

Don't swap links with any websites you don't trust . Get any free links you can find, but don't link to sites you would not want your visitors to go to. Google looks at outgoing links to see in 'what neighborhood' you position your site. If you have bad friends, your site is not likely to get trusted by google.

Links from websites that don't look valuable to you, are probably not valuable.

Directories

DO : A good, targeted directory can be a good backlink. A directory you would not bookmark, isn't one you should pay to have a link on. Get your link into directories that are on topic for your niche. 

Copying what competitors are doing

Don't copy what competitors are doing. Their rankings will be based on their age, and links they got when the web was young and backlinks were easier to get. They can afford to break the rules on sitewide links and reciprocal links, where a new website cannot. 

Sitewide links

Don't - Like reciprocal links, sitewides are generally not wise. Try to think like google: why would a reliable website have a link to one other website, or 20 other websites, on each page? Google is smart enough to not count these links as trusted links. The site selling sitewides will probably lose either the trust it has, or the trust their links have. Google has told the SEO community, through Matt Cutts, that trusted sites can loose their ability to pass their pagerank if they act 'suspiciously'. So the site itself may rank very well, have very good quality information - yet it's links don't count as support for your website in google. Buying a link in those cases is only going to help you if you are actually interested in their visitors. 

Links work on related article pages

DO get links on articles on trusted domains. An article you find in google, in the top 20 on a subject that is related to your subject is likely to be taken seriously by google. The way to get links like that is to have your product reviewed. Even a negative review will get you that link. Another way is to get your link on a targeted wikipedia page.

Linkbait

The hot thing this year is linkbait. Linkbait refers to the type of article / story / joke / picture that will get talked about in blogs and just get a massive amount of links to it. Linkbait is usually short, easy to understand or very useful. 

Pagerank and trust

Google measures pagerank, but it ranks sites in the SERPS for trust . Some factors:

See also my article on how to find the sites that link to you. Whether to buy links.

Link Terminology

Backlinks
Links to your site that is counted by google and other search engines towards your 'link-popularity' and 'page-rank'. See my article on the rel-no-follow tag, for links that do NOT count as backlinks.
External links (or backlinks)
Links from another site to your site. These are counted as backlinks if the page that links to your site is indexed by google AND is trusted by google. 
Internal links
Links from pages within your site to other pages within your site.
Outbound links 
Links from your site, to another site.