Improving your websites rankings in search engines requires an effective link strategy.

In the development period of Google’s existence, its founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, were burning the midnight oil trying to discover a way to determine the importance of a web site.

The concept they arrived at is now known as link popularity.

The basic idea is simple: If web site “A” has a lot of other web sites linking to it, then all these llinking sites must think that web site “A” is important.

In other words, each incoming link to your web site can be considered as a vote. The more votes your web site achieves, the more importance Google, and other major search engines will give to it. This means that in the all seeing eyes of search engines your web site is more relevant if it has a lot of incoming links. So the more relevancy you can acquire for your web pages means higher search engine rankings (all major search engines appear to have adopted the Google model).

After your web site has been assessed for the number of incoming links (or backlinks), and the quality, see later, of those links, Google will assign a value, called Page Rank (PR), to the web pages on your web site. This is a numeric value between 0 and 10. Higher PR indicating more importance.

So, improving my web sites Google ranking is as simple as that?

Unfortunately the answer is NO! This is because the Google algorithm is a complex beast. There are over one hundred other things that Google check for, and there are different types of links. Each type carrying more or less relevancy.

So, the types of link are:

1) Outgoing: where your site links to another site. No use to you in terms of PR.

2) Reciprocal: where two sites exchange links, this now has less value than it used to have since a recent Google update, but is still effective on other search engines.

3) One way Incoming: A link to your site pure and simple, where your site does not link back. This is what you need to build PR. This is a vote for your site and is far more powerful than a reciprocal link.

What’s in a name?

Now you know the type of link that’s needed (how to get one-way incoming links will be discussed elsewhere) there is still more that will affect your PR. This concerns the link anchor text. Link anchor text is the visible part of a link, i.e., the text you click on.

Link anchor text in a link pointing to your home page should contain the main keyword that your home page is optimised for. However, if you have many links all with the same anchor text it looks, to Google, like spamming and may cause lesser significance being given to those links. Therefore, vary your anchor text.

As can be seen, generating a successful crop of links can be a time consuming process. And there are many pitfalls along the way.

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