Inbound Linking for SEO: Best Practices and Advanced Techniques


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Inbound links are one of the most important ranking factors in the Google algorithm. Yet, many marketers don\'t know where to begin to attract or build new inbound links to their websites, especially to boost SEO efforts.

Inbound Linking for SEO: Best Practices and Advanced Techniques

  1. 1. Inbound Linking for SEO Best Practices and Advanced Techniques<br />July 16, 2009<br />
  2. 2. Inbound Linking for SEOBest Practices and Advanced Techniques<br />Issue 1:Inbound Linking – Why is it important for SEO?<br />Issue 2:Best Practices in Inbound Linking<br />Issue 3:Advanced Techniques in Inbound Linking<br />
  3. 3. Issue 1: Inbound Linking –Why is it important for SEO?<br />
  4. 4. Inbound LinkingWhy is it important for SEO?<br />Google&apos;s search-rank algorithm ranks pages higher if enough sites link to that page using similar anchor text<br />Anchor text is a clickable hyperlink that contains relevant word(s) that allow the search engines to rank the page. <br />The more links pointing to a page, the better. <br />Popularity contest of sorts<br />Relevancy of the link is a key element<br />Be deliberate in your linking program (no shortcuts) and you will be rewarded<br />Quality links pointing to your site increase your “street cred” or trust with Google. <br />The more trust a site has, the higher the ranking<br />What does it do to help SEO? <br />Improves traffic to your site by clearing the path and proving the site is good enough to be considered by the random searcher<br />Anchor text highlights that the content is relevant to the search engines<br />
  5. 5. What is Googlebombing?<br />An effort to increase the ranking of a page in the Google search results, inorganically. <br />Is it still allowed? No. Google has changed the algorithm to minimize this activity.<br />
  6. 6. Googlebombing (cont’d)<br />How it was done: Miserable Failure and George Bush<br />Get people to link: with the words “miserable failure” as the anchor text.<br />Example code: &lt;a href=”” &gt;Miserable Failure&lt;/a&gt; in your favorite web page will look like Miserable Failure<br />By January 2007, Google changed the algorithm to list pages that were legitimately discussing things that brought up “miserable failure.”<br />“Waffles” was the focus of a Googlebomb featuring John Kerry, outranking legitimate waffle companies<br />
  7. 7. Case Study: Shea Hedges Group<br />Challenge: <br />PR firm specializing in working with high tech companies wanted to rank higher in Google organic rankings for terms like “high tech PR”.<br />Website was under major reconstruction, so content could not be edited at the time.<br />Solution:<br />While the content is under development, inbound links were built to the website with the anchor text focused on the target keywords, including “high tech PR”.<br />Result:<br />Within 30 days, the website ranked #8 for the term “high tech PR” – only through inbound link building efforts.<br />
  8. 8. Case Study: National Geographic Channel<br />Challenge: <br />Some of the National Geographic Channel’s video pages were being indexed and ranked in Google, but the information was not being updated as the page content was being updated<br />Example: Meta descriptions did not update in Google when they were updated on the page.<br />While the pages were in the Google XML Sitemap, they were below the point where Googlebot would index.<br />There were also NO inbound links to this page.<br />Solution:<br />Building just a few links both on the channel website itself and inbound links from other websites allowed Googlebot a path to find those pages again and re-index the new content.<br />
  9. 9. Types of Inbound Links<br />Represents the number of web pages linking to a website or single page. <br />Links are like “votes”<br />The more quality sites you have giving links, the more votes. <br />Link Popularity = the number of inbound links pointing to your website (that a search engine sees)<br />Three types of inbound links:<br />One-way<br />They link to you, but you do not provide a link back.<br />Reciprocal<br />You exchange links with the third party – you have a link to them on your site and they have a link to you on theirs.<br />Paid<br />One-way, but requires a fee.<br />
  10. 10. Types of Inbound Links (cont’d)<br />Paid Linking<br />Reciprocal Linking<br />Free, One-Way Linking<br />$<br />
  11. 11. Issue 2: Best Practices in Inbound Linking<br />
  12. 12. Best Practices for Inbound Linking<br /><ul><li>No Black Hat! Keep your link building on the up and up
  13. 13. The best links are earned links
  14. 14. Make sure the links you’re seeking are quality
  15. 15. Quality wins over quantity
  16. 16. Get as many good quality links as you can.
  17. 17. Avoid link farms. These are pages filled with links that serve no purpose except to attempt to defeat search engines.
  18. 18. For the most SEO benefit, focus on “dofollow” links
  19. 19. Googlebot WILL follow dofollow links and WILL NOT follow nofollow links
  20. 20. Change up your anchor text so it looks like the links were built “naturally”
  21. 21. Don’t build too many inbound links at once – it doesn’t look natural. Space out your efforts.</li></li></ul><li>Measuring Inbound Links<br />Yahoo! Site Explorer<br />Shows which links are indentified by Yahoo!<br />Most reliable inbound link checker<br /><br />Link Diagnosis<br />Uses Yahoo! Site Explorer to find inbound links<br />Shows the anchor text of inbound links<br />Useful for checking the inbound links of competitors and what anchor text they use<br />Also shows PR, anchor text and nofollow stats<br /><br />
  22. 22. Ways to Create Inbound Links<br /><ul><li>One way links into your site
  23. 23. Press releases/testimonials from happy customers
  24. 24. Article marketing
  25. 25. Guest blogging
  26. 26. Link directory building
  27. 27. Relationship (partner)
  28. 28. Editorial-mention in a blog or article
  29. 29. Dofollow Comments blogs/forums
  30. 30. Niche/reciprocal/paid
  31. 31. Contest/incentive</li></li></ul><li>What Makes a Quality Link<br />DoFollow Link<br />Exact keyword phrase in anchor text<br />Free, one-way link (sometimes reciprocal)<br />Relevancy is huge<br />High PageRank (<br />Link contained in like content, such as a blog post<br />Links in comments are often not as valuable<br />
  32. 32. Inbound Link Strategies<br /><ul><li>Determine your linking neighborhood
  33. 33. Similar sites all linking to each other.
  34. 34. Are you in the right neighborhood?
  35. 35. Benchmark yourself
  36. 36. What inbound links do you currently have coming in?
  37. 37. Use several search engines and a link popularity checker to paint the picture (</li></li></ul><li>The Importance of Anchor Text<br /><ul><li>What is anchor text?
  38. 38. clickable and relevant word(s) contained in a hyperlink
  39. 39. helps search engines to rank the linked page
  40. 40. text that is unrelated won’t matter
  41. 41. linked text should be relevant to the linked page
  42. 42. Abuse of anchor text made Googlebombing possible</li></li></ul><li>Link Building Tools<br />NoDoFollowFirefox Plugin<br />Highlights which links are dofollow and which are nofollow<br />Example:<br />Purple are dofollow.<br />Pink are nofollow.<br /><br />
  43. 43. NoDoFollow(cont’d)<br />
  44. 44. SEO Linking: Myth vs. Reality<br />Myth: Having lots of internal links on my website helps my link popularity, pagerank, or engine ranking.<br />Reality: While internal links help provide the bots with more avenues for indexing site content, they do not affect pagerank or directly help engine rankings.<br />Myth: Linking to other websites helps my pagerank or engine rankings.<br />Reality: Outbound linking from your website does not help build pagerank or engine rankings, but it can help you build relationships to receive a reciprocal link. (example: blog relations)<br />Myth: I should pursue ANY kind of link I can for my website.<br />Reality: Be choosy with which websites you link to and from. Google mostly prefers free, one-way inbound links.<br />
  45. 45. Issue 3: Advanced Techniques in Inbound Linking<br />
  46. 46. Link BaitWhat Is It and How Does It Work?<br />Link bait is any content that “baits” others to create a link for it.<br />Examples of link bait:<br />Widgets<br />Tools (often free)<br />News or humor<br />Important keys to a successful tool or widget link bait:<br />Must have backlink with desired anchor text<br />Link must be OUTSIDE of javascript or flash<br />Widget Tool: Clearspring<br />
  47. 47. Using Digital Assets for Link Building<br />Digital assets are content-based marketing assets including:<br />Whitepapers<br />Webcasts<br />Online Video<br />Because they contain valuable content, others will link to them virally<br />There are also online directories and aggregators for this type of content<br />Allows you to place links to your website<br />Example: Placing a link to a whitepaper about employee loyalty on a SHRM chapter website.<br />
  48. 48. What is Social Media?<br />Blogging<br />Micro-blogging (Twitter)<br />Social networking (Facebook, LinkedIn)<br />Social bookmarking (Digg)<br />Blogger relations<br />Social media press releases<br />
  49. 49. Which types of Social Media can affect SEO?<br />Blogging<br />Links from the body of other blog posts are helpful to improve SEO rankings<br />Links from comments are often ineffectual for SEO<br />Many blogs use the “nofollow” tag on comments to prevent comment spam for SEO<br />To identify which blogs use “nofollow” vs. those that do not, use the following Firefox plugin<br />Also check the robots.txt file:<br />Blog posts can be repurposed as “articles” for article marketing Example:<br />
  50. 50. Blog post links are “dofollow” (purple)<br />Links in comments are “nofollow”<br />(pink)<br />
  51. 51. Which types of Social Media can affect SEO?<br />Micro-Blogging (ex: Twitter)<br />Links in Twitter are currently “nofollow” (don’t help SEO)<br />However, by sharing blog posts on Twitter, you may attract “viral linking”.<br />However, you can’t change the anchor text on the links in Facebook and LinkedIn (they are the URL only)<br />
  52. 52. Which types of Social Media can affect SEO?<br />Social Networking (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.)<br />Links from some social networking sites may be “nofollow” (they do not help SEO)<br />LinkedIn are mostly “dofollow”, but Facebook links outside of Facebook are “nofollow”<br />137,000,000 Facebook pages are indexed in Google<br />106,000,000 LinkedIn pages are indexed in Google<br />However, you can’t change the anchor text on the links in Facebook and LinkedIn (they are the URL only)<br />
  53. 53. Which types of Social Media can affect SEO?<br />Social Bookmarking<br />Most sites are “dofollow”<br />However, they look out for SEO folks!<br />Always good to include various social media “chicklets” on every website page so that users can quickly social bookmark a story<br />
  54. 54. Which types of Social Media can affect SEO?<br />Blogger Relations<br />Act of working with bloggers to get your stories covered<br />Very similar to press relations as a PR function<br />Ultimate goal: get a link to your content in the body copy of a blog<br />How to do blogger relations:<br />Follow specific blogs via Twitter, RSS<br />Reach out to the blog owner, writer when you have appropriate content to share or a comment to share<br />Be an active participant of that blog owner’s community<br />
  55. 55. Which types of Social Media can affect SEO?<br />Social Media Press Releases<br />Putting press releases out via social media channels<br />CAN help SEO, depending on the media channel<br />Example:<br />Distribution on industry-specific Websites and blogs<br />Premium placement for enhanced search results<br />Social bookmark links for increased distribution<br />
  56. 56. How should I concentrate my efforts w/social media for SEO?<br />In order of most effective to least effective(for SEO value vs. time invested):<br />Blogging<br />Social bookmarking (Digg)<br />Micro-blogging (Twitter)<br />Social networking (Facebook, LinkedIn)<br />Blogger relations/Social media press releases<br />
  57. 57. Questions and Answers<br />
  58. 58. Contact Us<br />Catherine Potts<br />@cpotts73<br /><br />Janet Driscoll Miller<br />@janetdmiller<br /><br />Search Mojo<br /><br />@SearchMojo<br />