What is a link?
A link is a navigation tool that points to another place on the same document or web page, to another web page or to another website. It is an abbreviation for “hyperlink” and derives its name from “hypertext,” as in HTML or "hypertext markup language." Various types of links are used in electronic media, but these three are most relevant to search engine optimization.
Types of links
- Internal links are links within a website
- External links are links between websites
- Outbound links are external links from your site to another site
- Inbound links are external links to your site from another site
A search engine evaluates the links it finds on each web page and assigns them different values. The type and number of links can affect your site’s ranking on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Of these, inbound links can have the greatest impact on your website's page rank.
Creating Internal Links. Keywords a plus!
Text links: The words in a link that point to another place on the same web page, another page or other website are called "anchor text." Because search engines assign more value to anchor text than regular text, links are a good place to use keywords and keyword phrases. Whenever possible avoid using “click here” or “go” if a keyword can be used instead.
Graphic links: Graphics can also link to various places on the same web page, website or other domain. Graphic logos that link back to the home page, or product images that link to product information pages, are good examples of internal graphic links, as are directional graphics, such as pointers, arrows and submit buttons. Banner ads, sponsor logos and associate program product graphics that link to other websites are examples of external graphic links. Because search engines can’t read graphics, each graphic should have both a descriptive name and alt tag related to the image. Use keywords in graphic names and descriptions whenever possible.
External Links. Good or bad?
Outbound links: Do you want people to leave your website? If not, don’t place outbound links on your web pages. The number of outbound links on your website does not improve your page rank and can even hurt your ranking if the sites are not related to your organization or industry. However, links to websites of business partners, associates, customers and sites that offer your visitors valuable, relevant information can help build customer loyalty and repeat visitors. High traffic will increase your page rank.
TIP: Placing links to popular websites on your web site, particularly unrelated web sites, will not increase your page rank. But linking to legitimate and reliable sources may help validate your information.
Inbound links: When evaluating links to and from your website, search engines place the greatest value on the number of inbound links, particularly those from high traffic, quality websites that share similar keywords and phrases. They also look for links from relevant category listings in major online directories. Here are a few do's and don'ts related to inbound links:
• Don’t participate in any type of link sharing or reciprocal link program solely for the purpose of increasing the number of links to and from your website. The quality of links to your site is more important than the quantity.
• Don’t create link pages for your website solely for the purpose of link sharing if the web sites are not relevant to your business or purpose.
• Do submit your website to major directories, including related industry directories, and cultivate link exchanges with people and organizations with whom you have a natural connection. If your website has meaningful content, people will find you on the web and want to link to you. Over time, these natural or "organic" connections will increase your page ranking.
TIP: Beware of businesses offering to submit your site to search engines and to online directories for a fee. It is no longer necessary to submit website URLs to search engines. Also, you will receive no benefits from having your website listed on low-traffic, unrelated directories created solely for link exchange programs.
Site Maps. A short cut to Successful SEO
Every website should have a Site Map web page featuring a list of all web page titles and links organized by section or topic. The Site Map provides visitors a summary of the website’s topic areas and a direct link - or short cut - to each page, some of which may not be accessible from the homepage or main menus.
The Site Map also enables the search engine spider to find ALL of the pages on your website. This is especially important if your site has a lot of pages or features drop down menus, which can be difficult to spider. Be sure to use page titles and other important keywords on your Site Map.
A final tip..
When linking to another website use coding that opens a new window in the browser. When the new website is launched, your website will continue to remain open on the desktop. This not only makes it easier for your visitor to return to your site, the secondary website can be exited simply by closing its browser window. When creating links in the admin section of your website, click the option to "open in a new window." If you are inserting html coding directly into your web page, add: target="_blank"> after the URL coding.
• Now that you have some basics on search engine optimization, it's time to put these tools to work to create a website that gets great results. Here's to you and your success!
Your Pallasart Web Team