Web marketing frog

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Developing an Incoming Links Strategy = Optimal Positioning!

Why are incoming links toward your site important?

Search engines (such as Google, Yahoo, or MSN) use complex mathematical algorithms to select and position search results each time an Internet user enters a query.(1) These algorithms use several parameters to complete the equation, factoring in the quantity, quality and relevance of incoming links to your site. A good way to understand it is to know that search engines view your site’s online popularity as a measure of its relevance (among other factors). Online popularity is therefore calculated by evaluating the number/quality/relevance of incoming links, which are ultimately viewed as a vote of confidence for your online content.

The number, quality and relevance of incoming links


For incoming links to truly affect your positioning, the engines must deem the links to be of good quality and relevant. Additionally, you must have more incoming links than your competitors who are positioned for the same keywords. Quality is judged using a concept that Google calls “PageRank.” People who use Google’s toolbar will notice that there is a PageRank tab that attributes a value between 0 and 10 to the page you are visiting. This value represents the quality of each page. In this way, an incoming link from a page with a PageRank of 10 would be considered to be of superior quality than a link originating from page with a PageRank of 3.

As for relevance, the determining factors are the site’s content and the keywords used to define the hyperlink leading to your site. For instance, a hyperlink positioned on a site with content devoted to golf equipment and golf in general would be considered more relevant for a golf instructor’s site than for a site on foreign literature.

How to develop efficient incoming links

Now that you understand the important role that incoming links play in your online positioning strategy, you should think about efficiently developing the links you have previously established and about promoting your site to other external web partners. To begin, create a list of all the sites that currently have links leading to your site. Of these, identify the ones with whom you share a certain rapport and ask them to modify the hyperlinks to your site to contain text using the keywords that correspond to your online content and to the products, services or keywords for which you would like to be positioned. A hyperlink can be a URL address (e.g. http://www.etceteara.ca) placed on an image, or, better yet, it can be a short, descriptive text. Once you have done this, I recommend that you create another list, this time of any satisfied customers, distributors, affiliates, partners, trade associations, professional associations, business publications or blogs hosted by your personnel. Then contact these people or organizations and ask them if they would be willing to put a link on their web site leading to your own site. Please note, however, that I discourage you from establishing reciprocal link programs because search engines can easily identify them and they will consequently disregard such links when evaluating your site’s relevance. I also urge you to avoid link farms, which are poor in content and are likely to have your site banned from the search results entirely since link farming is penalized by many search engines.(2)

I also advise you to get listed on your industry’s various reference sites. Each industry has a variety of sites dedicated to displaying references, comments and news about participants and clients in the domain. These sites often have a good page ranking thanks to the high volume of targeted visitors they attract and due to their undeniable relevance and specialization. In addition, many of these sites offer a free directory of the various players in each sector. It’s in your best interests to contact the site managers of these portals and convince them – diplomatically, of course – that your content merits attention and should be referenced on their sites.

Without a doubt, incoming hyperlinks are important elements of your positioning strategy and, ideally, should be defined using relevant keywords.



(1)- A previous article explains this topic in more detail: Michel Leblanc, How to Avoid Falling Victim to Certain SEO Specialists, .
(2)- Idem

This article was originally written in French and has been translated by Wendy Wolbert

1 Comments:

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