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SEO – The importance of building good quality links

Written by Brett Sidaway, February 22, 2011

SEO – The importance of building good quality links

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Off page optimisation and link building

When creating your search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy, the critical factors you always need to consider are:

  • carefully considering and placing your keywords; and
  • building good quality links back to your website.

This article discusses the importance link building in your SEO strategy and provides some useful suggestions as well as some things to avoid if you want your SEO project to be successful.

What are backlinks and why are they important for SEO?

Backlinks are links that point to your website or web page from another website.

For those of us in the SEO world, we know that the number, variety and quality of backlinks is an indication of the popularity or importance of that web page. Outside SEO, backlinks may be of a personal interest because they indicate who is paying attention to that page.

Links are a bit like a “vote of confidence” or a “recommendation” from another website, meaning that your website is seen as a more credible and reputable source of information.

Carrying out link building correctly is one the most difficult, time consuming and expensive parts of SEO, but absolutely necessary to push your website up the search engine rankings, especially for competitive keywords.

Here are some of the main factors you should consider:

Factor #1 – Know who is linking to you

As your website begins to get popular, it is necessary to monitor and manage all of your backlinks. You need to know just who exactly is linking to your site. This is especially important if you are in an industry where reputation is paramount. This is also important for SEO because having links from poor or undesirable websites can harm your SEO efforts and result in your website being penalised or your rankings downgraded.

Factor #2 – Go for relevance and variety

Companies carrying out SEO campaigns desire to get more backlinks, particularly good quality links that are from websites or pages which have a high topical relevance to their own website. This helps search engines to confirm what their website is all about. While relevance is important, it is also a good idea to get a wide variety of links from different types of website including good quality blogs, article websites, press release sites, social websites and business directories, many of which are completely free.

Factor #3 – Check the Google PageRank and “Link Juice”

Another factor that companies look for is Google RageRank. This is a notional score used by Google to show the popularity / importance of the web page. Pages that have accumulated PageRank over a period of time provide more “link juice” – a term used to describe the weight a backlink carries. It is possible to get a rough idea of the “link juice” by checking the Google PageRank of the web page linking to you and dividing it by the total number of other links present on that page. Where possible try to get an even spread of links from pages that range in PageRank, from 0 to 10.

Factor #4 – Consider the speed you acquire backlinks

Ask yourself how fast are you accumulating backlinks? Search engines may view this as suspicious if they see sudden spikes in activity. For example one day you may have 20 backlinks then the next day it shoots up to 1,000. Although unlikely, this kind of activity would look suspicious, prompting search engines to question what you are doing.

Factor #5 – Define meaningful anchor text

It is highly important that backlinks to your website contain relevant anchor text. You should try to include the keywords that you want to be found for. Here is a good example: <a href=”http://yoursite.com/canal-holidays>Canal Holidays</a> Bad examples are as follows: <a href=”http://yoursite.com/canal-holidays”>Click here</a> <a href=”http://yoursite.com/canal-holidays”>http://yoursite.com</a>

Things to avoid

When carrying out link building, try to avoid making the following mistakes:

  • Links from potentially harmful or undesirable websites that do not compliment your own
  • Companies and tools that carry out automated link submissions in bulk
  • Link farms and other link schemes
  • Lots of links from a single website or a small number of websites
  • Links created through client-side scripts like JavaScript
  • Paid or hidden links

Some of these techniques are considered “black hat” SEO, a term to imply unethical practices have been used which can harm your efforts and can be very difficult to recover from.

Summary

Good quality backlinks say a lot about your website and its popularity. A backlink is like a “vote of confidence” or a “recommendation” from other websites and the best examples are links from highly relevant websites, that have a good Google PageRank and use meaningful anchor text. Think carefully about your link building strategy and try to avoid some of the common mistakes that companies make when trying to achieve quick wins. There really is no such thing as a quick win when it comes to SEO, just careful planning and hard work.

Getting SEO support

For those just getting started with building an online presence, SEO strategy can be very difficult to understand.  It is essential to look for reliable search engine optimisation consultants who can help you to get your business website higher up the search engines in an ethical manner. You could even consider SEO courses to help develop your knowledge in this area. Opace Technology Solutions are a successful Web Design and SEO company in Birmingham who study SEO to understand what works and what doesn’t and helps its clients to achieve maximum results. Over the next few weeks we will be covering a series of SEO topics in more depth. Please follow us @opaceweb on Twitter and Opacewebdesign on Facebook for information on blog updates, please feel free to subscribe to our feed.

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