There are aspects to search engine optimization other than writing good content. Over the last few years it has become increasingly important to attract good quality inbound links to a web page. A link to a web page from another web site is a popularity vote for the page and has a strong influence on search engine rankings.
Not all links to a page are treated equally by Google. Google prefers what they call “natural links”. A natural link is a link leading to a web page from a web site in a related industry. The link needs to be within the text of the page, like is commonly seen on blogs and news sites. The keyword phrase or variations of the phrase that represent the keyword theme for the receiving page should be used in the hyperlink text. Why is this type of link a natural link? Because it is the type of link that you would typically find when someone writes an article about your web site. The following is an example of a natural link.
You can learn more about building links on our linking strategies web page.
Although links to the home page do help boost a site’s overall rankings, it is very important to obtain as many links as you can to a site’s inner pages. A link directly to a page, especially if the hyperlink text contains the pages keyword theme, can have a strong impact on the ranking ability for the individual page.
Recent studies also suggest that it is good to vary the text in a hyperlink leading to a page. Google spiders are pretty smart and they can frequently detect artificial link building and paid link building, which can have a negative impact on a site’s rankings. If 50 links to a web page are obtained, and every link contains the words “linking strategy”, there is a pretty good chance that the links will be flagged as artificial and their value may be discounted. As inbound links are built, think about variations of the theme for the receiving page that you can use in hyperlink text, such as “how to build links”, “obtaining links to a web page”, “good link building strategies”, “strategies for building links”, etc.
Too many links from one web site to a page in another web site may also be viewed as artificial. Several years ago, a site owner could purchase site-wide links, which are links found in the sidebar or the footer on every page of a web page that leads to another web page. At one time each of those links would count, but today their value is heavily discounted. We have seen situations where this created penalties for the receiving site.
When planning a search engine optimization campaign, it is important to include a link building strategy. Keep in mind that the quality of links to a site does matter and natural links may be the most important links to obtain.