How best to use Links
By Mark Pritchard
Google is the world’s leading search engine and it measures link popularity as a key component of its ranking algorithm, using what is calls PageRank.
Read the following quote from Google’s advice to webmasters:
PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page's value. In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But, Google looks at more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; it also analyzes the page that casts the vote.
Votes cast by pages that are themselves "important" weigh more heavily and help to make other pages "important." Important, high-quality sites receive a higher PageRank, which Google remembers each time it conducts a search. Of course, important pages mean nothing to you if they don't match your query.
So, Google combines PageRank with sophisticated text-matching techniques to find pages that are both important and relevant to your search. Google goes far beyond the number of times a term appears on a page and examines all aspects of the page's content (and the content of the pages linking to it) to determine if it's a good match for your query.
Google's complex, automated methods make human tampering with our results extremely difficult. And though we do run relevant ads above and next to our results, Google does not sell placement within the results themselves (i.e., no one can buy a higher PageRank). A Google search is an easy, honest and objective way to find high-quality websites with information relevant to your search.
Sites with many relevant and quality links are awarded a higher page rank than those with less relevant and lower quality links. Developing a strategy for improving the use of links is therefore very important if you want a good ranking in Google.
Beware of link farms or link exchange programs Google’s advice to webmasters is clear http://www.google.com/webmasters/guidelines.html
- Don't participate in link schemes designed to increase your site's ranking or PageRank. In particular, avoid links to web spammers or "bad neighborhoods" on the web as your own ranking may be affected adversely by those links.
- Don't use unauthorized computer programs to submit pages, check rankings, etc. Such programs consume computing resources and violate our terms of service. Google does not recommend the use of products such as WebPosition Gold™ that send automatic or programmatic queries to Google.
How can I best use links?
- Directory listing
Get your site listed in the Open Directory Project (Dmoz) which is free – Google uses this site to assist its indexing, it is used by many 100’s of other search engines. Get a listing in the Yahoo directory 199 ($299) as this the leading directory. There are many regional and lesser-known directories that are also worth considering.
- Request links
Start by visiting the open directory, and search using your keywords – you will find the sites listed here are normally already well ranked. Select sites you feel will be open to a link request. Put a link on your site first then ask for a reciprocal link.
Try also using Alexa (www.alexa.com) – to identify highly ranked sites then use their “show links to” feature to identify their backlinks (sites linking in) then approach these too.
- Promote inter-site linkability
Internal links as well as external links contribute towards Page Rank – a site with a good link structure is also more likely to appeal to potential link candidates than a site with a poor structure.
- Publish articles
Consider paying professional authors to write articles on your behalf – then submit them for publishing on the condition that a link to your site is attached. This can be a very successful strategy but time and effort is needed for it to pay off.
A good link strategy can greatly benefit a sites ranking on Google – be very careful that your links are carefully chosen as Google is clamping down on abuses of links.
Mark Pritchard is Technical Manger of Discount Domains Ltd – A leading UK provider of Domain name registration and Web Hosting services. http://www.discountdomainsuk.com Mark can also be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org.