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Search Engine Optimization. Linking

By http://www.searchenginestrategies.biz

Link Popularity  

Google's search engine ranking algorithm extends beyond page content. The "link popularity" concept focuses on inbound and outbound links on the web as a type of "vote" for a website. The more inbound links you have, the better. See Google Pagerank for more about this concept.

An important aspect about inbound links is their type - text or image. Inbound text links containing specific keywords will give you a large boost in those keyword rankings. However, be careful not to pack your inbound links full of spammy keywords or irrelevant content.

Secondly, image links can also give you a rankings boost. This requires an alt tag on the image, which can also contain your keyword or variations thereof. Again, try not to create too many similar inbound links - there is some recent evidence that Google can filter these as spam.

Google PageRank  

Google PageRank is a software based system for ranking the relative "weight" of webpages. This concept is based on the huge number of links between websites. Google considers a link from a website to your own a "vote" in its index of sites, which adds value to your own PageRank. Thus, if your site is relevant, popular, and well constructed, Google believes a large number of sites should be linking to your own.

It is important to understand that PageRank is completely separate from your rankings within different search terms. It is measured on a scale of one to ten, with PageRank ten websites holding the most value. However, high PageRank is not a valid substitute for traditional on-site optimization. Just because you have a high PageRank does not mean your site can rank for your intended search terms. Instead, PageRank must be coupled with hard work on your site to achieve premier Google rankings.

Although your own site's PageRank no longer plays a direct role in determining your ranking, it is still a good general indicator of the quality of inbound links. However, the PageRank of sites linking to you is a major factor in getting your site ranked. By acquiring a high number of high PageRank links, you can drive up your rankings for a multitude of search terms. It is important to note that links from sites with PageRank zero have no weight at all in Google. So, instead of securing a hundred links from free Geocities sites, focus your energy on acquiring a smaller number of links from high PageRank websites.

Linking Strategies  

The process of driving high quality, long-lasting links to your site can be tedious. A number of strategies exist to expedite this process. This guide will show you the benefits and drawbacks of each, in order for you to make a decision on which methods are most useful.

1. Link Exchange through Email
This is the most common method used by most webmasters. In fact, if your site has been around for any period of time, chances are you've received a link exchange request (or 1000). These typically start with an intensive campaign to collect relevant email addresses of webmasters and the like. Email spyders work well if limited to only "webmaster" or "link swap" type email addresses. Also, you can try searching Google for the terms "link exchange", "link swap", "exchange links", and other variations. This should give you a good base from which to start collecting email addresses. Step 2 is to formulate a link-exchange email that contains your link title, URL, description, and links page. Send this to your targeted webmasters, and let the exchange process begin.

2. Link Exchange Websites
There are a number of websites that serve as gathering places for webmasters interested in exchanging links. These "link portals" categorize your site and provide you with a large collection of potential link swap partners. Most require a small montly fee, and also provide users with a spyder-based links management system. Some question if this method violates "spam" rules, and Google may be working on methods to discount the use of these sites.

3. Paid Advertising
Just as with banner ads, it is possible to create a network of paid text links pointing to your site. This is obviously the most costly method, but has numerous benefits. First, none of your advertising partners can legally drop your ads - as long as you keep paying. This will result in the longevity needed for links to be indexed by Google and start counting for your site. In addition, you have the ability to choose the sites you advertise on. By carefully selecting high PageRank sites on which to place your links, you can effectively cut down on total number of links needed to boost rankings. Finding

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