Just to make it clear from the outset: stay away from link farms! This expensive form of “spamdexing” will achieve nothing – except maybe relegating your site to the very bot-tom of the rankings. Don’t link for the sake of it! Let’s assume you run a car workshop. To boost your Google ranking, you’re thinking about linking the website of your local Labrador club (where you serve as Vice President) to the website of your workshop. Don’t waste your time! You’re extremely active on Facebook, Twitter and other networks and you’re expecting an astronomical rise up the rankings by publishing a link to your website in every post. Sadly, that won’t really work.
Relevance, relevance, relevance
Google is always after one thing: the top-secret algorithm is looking for relevance. How relevant is your text? How relevant are your links? As a car workshop owner, you’ll benefit from backlinks on important websites related to the car business, such as those of associations, car blogs, magazines and articles, and major suppliers. In other words, sites that you yourself would consider relevant to your business. That’s where it’s at! Important factors include topical relevance (cars/repairs), regional relevance (businesses in your local area), the page ranking of the site that links to yours, the trustworthiness of the site containing the link, the number of links, the organic structure of the links (avoid hundreds of incoming links all at once) and the quality of the links (authority of the site that links to yours; has the link existed for a long time, does it come from a relevant subject portal, is it very high up in the site structure, etc.).
On the other hand, it is important that you have relevant links on your own website. After all, who wants to link to a site containing nothing more than an address and a couple of keywords? Try writing an interesting article about replacing the tail pipe on a Mustang, or a tutorial for homemade cylinder head gaskets for vintage cars… this is sure to generate backlinks!
Share your views and opinions in interesting and relevant blogs (yes, that word again!) and link them to text on your website.
A good anchor text is important, too. Try googling the word “here” and you’ll see what I mean: the Adobe Acrobat website appears at the top of the results (even though it doesn’t contain a single instance of the word “here”!). The reason being that the corresponding link usually reads something like this: “Adobe Reader is required to view this document. Click here to download the latest version.” And there are hundreds of thousands of these links. Do you really want to compete against that?
The lesson is, the hyperlink “Click here to visit Joe’s Auto Repairs” will be much less effective than “Click here to visit Joe’s Auto Repairs”. Just something to bear in mind.
How good are your links? Check them out!
What type of webpages contains links to your website? This is an important question that you should ask yourself when trying to optimize your site. There are many free online tools that can help you find the answer. Here are just some of them:
- www.opensiteexplorer.org is one of the most popular tools. Particularly useful for comparing your website with your competitors, it will show you immediately where you stand and what could still be improved!
- Site Explorer by www.majesticseo.com is a useful and comprehensive tool with a unique feature that allows you to track the history of links (lost links).
- www.backlinktest.com provides a quick summary of the backlinks to your site. You can download the summary as a PDF.
- The following tool offers no additional info but is simply very fast: www.european-business-connect.de/backlinkchecker.php (in German)
And how good are the backlink checkers?
Let’s put it this way: different backlink checkers provide different results. Some are more detailed than others and some even show links from pages that contain a keyword from the URL but no link to your website. Some take ages to load, others are very fast.
What can be said is that every backlink checker has its pros and cons. Although none of them offer a complete solution, that’s not really important. Because all results show the significant trends and if you still have work to do building up you links. Have fun with your SEO project!