Whats All This Hype About Links?

What's all the talk about links we hear about? Reciprocal links? Non-reciprocal links? Targeted links? Link Popularity? I need links. You should have links. What about the dead links? I don't have enough links! Ever since I joined the link farm, I dropped out of the search engines! Well, you musn't fret; we're going to shed the light on all theses different links. You'll learn the different types, how to get them, how to keep them and how to keep them current.

Over the next few issues, we will investigate the ABCs of linking, look into some helpful software and a take a close look at how Technet has solved this time consuming, but necessary issue for several top sites.

Let's start with some definitions.

Reciprocal Link (Two-way link): When you link to a web site and that web site links back to you, you have one reciprocal link. Reciprocal links need to be related to your web site's subject matter. For example, if your web site sells Milk, then links from other sites that sell milk products. Sites about dairy products would also be good reciprocal linking candidates. While, a link from say a tobacco company would not be recommended. Your reciprocal links need to be related to your web site's main keyword phrase or subject matter.

Non Reciprocal Link (One-way): These links are the most beneficial and also can be the hardest to obtain. Links from search engines or directories are a form of a non-reciprocal linking. However, the links that hold the most weight with the search engines are from other relevant web sites, sites we have not linked to. When a dairy site links to your milk site because they feel your site is of value to their visitors, it is the ultimate compliment and also holds more weight in the search engines. The best way to get this type of link, is to have unique content that is well written. Your site needs to look professional and sound professional. Related sites will be eager to link to you because you have quality, relevant content.

Targeted Links: Targeted links are just what they sound like, links that are related to your sites main subject matter. For example, if you have a site devoted to music then links from other music sites or music stores are good, while links from a site specializing in window blinds are not so good.

Text Links: Text links are simply that, text links. Text links are very important as a search engine can follow a text link and catalog it. It's like a vote for your site.

Graphical Links: Graphic links, such as logos and banners, may look great and attract visitors, but they cannot be read by search engines and are rarely followed by them. While having a graphical link, such as a logo, can give you some recognition and look professional, it must be well made and identifiable. Furthermore, you should always add alt* tags to the graphic html code, as alt tags help with content and keyword density. A text link directly below the graphic for the search engines to follow should be included when ever possible.

* (An alt tag or alternate text is an attribute added to the image tag in html. It is designed to give a text example of what the image is for people browsing without image support, some search engines count this as part of the page content.)

Links Page: This is very important. Your links page needs to fit into your site. It should have the same look and feel as the rest of your pages. Unless you only have five or ten links on your link page, you will need to have categories and even sub-categories for extensive link pages. It's important to keep the number of links per page as low as possible and never over 100 links.

Adding a small form for visitors to suggest links can be a nice feature and I recommend it, but it also can lead to a lot of off-target links suggestions.

When exchanging links, you will have to show the other site owners where their link is placed on your site. Therefore, you'll want to have the links page well laid out and visually appealing.

Dead Links: This is really a maintenance issue, sites go off-line, from time to time page addresses change, or the site changes owners and the content changes. It is important to check your links often to ensure you don't have a page full of dead links or links that have changed and now point to unrelated content. If you don't keep up on this task, you will soon have a page full of dead links and visitors wont come back to use it. Search engines also frown on pages with too many dead links.

Link Farms: Link farms should be avoided; adding your site to one can cause you to loose popularity or have a negative effect on your Page Rank, joining one and displaying their links on your site can get you banned from the most important search engines. With 90% of web traffic originating from only a hand full of search engines, this is something you don't want to happen. It is almost impossible to reverse and it can take you out of the search engines for up to a year or more. Staying away from places that guarantee hundreds or thousands of links by filling out a form.

Links should be arranged one at a time by contacting the desired site owner, by e-mail or more prefferrably by phone, and notifying them that you want to exchange links. This is the best way to do it, any short cuts or get link quick schemes can lead to trouble as soon as the search engines crawl your site.

Links are very important to any site that wants to rank highly in the top search engine results. The more targeted links you have pointing to your site, the more important your site is to the search engines. It's like a voting system. If 100 sites think your content is worth linking to, then search engines like Google will take notice. However, if 10,000 related sites link to you, then search engines will treat you like a king and you will be on the A list for sure.

About the Author:

Mark Hochhaus owns and operates InHisServiceProductions, a Web site design firm based in Washington State. He also publishes weekly SEO and online marketing articles in an RSS enabled blog titled The Optimizer.

In The News:

How to Use GitHub for Enterprise SEO  Search Engine Journal
SEO How-to, Part 1: Why Use It?  Practical Ecommerce
How to Do SEO for Niche Markets  Search Engine Journal
SEO Agency  WhaTech
10 Top APIs for SEO  ProgrammableWeb
SEO in 2020: Going Beyond Google  Search Engine Journal
5 Ways SEO & Web Design Go Together  Search Engine Journal
Can SEO Be Made Predictable?  Search Engine Journal
Google's Advice on How to Hire an SEO  Search Engine Journal

Easy And Simple Steps To Get Listed In Search Engines

Search engines are one of THE best resource for free... Read More

Google, Yahoo! and MSN Line up More Goodies for Internet Users

Internet users have never had it better what with Yahoo!,... Read More

SEO #6: How TO GET Banned by Google!

Yesterday you should have read the fifth course out of... Read More

Google Rankings -- Achieve Top 10 Rankings with Free Tools

In order to get a top 10 google ranking it... Read More

Everything You Wanted To Know About Google -- But Were Afraid To Search For!

(A Reflective look at the little search engine that soared!)All... Read More


Part 1. Wordtracker for keywords.A problem for all new webmasters... Read More

The Value of Search Engine Marketing

Search engine marketing vs traditional offline marketing. Most often, traditional... Read More

The Biggest SEO Scam of All

While there are many ethical SEO firms serving Internet users... Read More

10 Minutes to Your Google Sitemap

Google's calling your name...Hi, Google here. We want to index... Read More

Onpage Optimization: Essential for Effective Offpage Optimization

Onpage optimization is the process by which various elements on... Read More

Top 10 Little Used SEO Strategies

There are millions of web sites trying to get listed... Read More

Designing a Website So the Search Engines Will Like You

Before you go and spend big money on a professional... Read More

Increase Your Page Rank Through SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) must be considered a process and... Read More

Submit Your WebSite: Add Your URL to Web Directories & Search Engines

Why get into Search engines and directories?Increase backlinks of your... Read More

10 Quick Ways To Kick-Start Your Profit Pulling Keywords

First, you must realize that targeting the right keywords or... Read More

The Power of Search Engine Friendly URLs

I recently invested quite some time into generating search engine... Read More

Optimizing Your Website

Search Engine Optimization, optimizing your website for it to be... Read More

Adding City Names At The End Of Your Keywords Can Bring You More Profits

In recent times, I have been closely studying keywords that... Read More

Ten Steps To A Well Optimized Website - Step 2: Content Creation

Welcome to part two in this search engine optimization series.... Read More

How Search Engines Connect Sellers and Buyers

Maggie knows how to find what she wants. She lets... Read More

The Changing Face of Search Engine Optimization

With the ever evolving internet market for just about anything... Read More

How To Really SEO Your Site

Search engine optimization is one of most popular online marketing... Read More

Adding Content To Your Site Every Day

If you have been a webmaster for more than a... Read More

Whats All This Hype About Links?

What's all the talk about links we hear about? Reciprocal... Read More

Should You Be Linking for Traffic or Rankings?

Just for a change, rather than a technical article, I... Read More