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Incoming Links – Part 1


One of the great features of the web is its inter-connectivity – how may web pages link to many other web Navigating or ‘surfing’ as it was christened allows a free style of movement from one page, and one site to another via the hyperlinks in web pages.

Typically, links are used to provide context, a better explanation of and further information about the subject you are reading about on a web page.

Since most people use the web for research of some kind – whether it is research about a potential purchase, research for work, leisure or study – the web’s structure allows speedy gathering of information, and speedy, relatively easy transactions of all kinds.

With the modern web, the idea of inserting these ‘hyperlinks’ within your web pages, blog pages etc, be they from text or graphic elements, has always helped to maintain this structure.

The rise of and the increasing use of the Internet for commercial activities, and in many cases the ability of web pages to perform many functions from promotion through to handling the sale and payment of goods and services, coupled with the rise an now dominance of Google as a search engine of choice and a major referrer of visitors to your web pages have changed the way links are thought of and used.

Of all the visitors to your web pages for example, assuming that there are a significant number at present, I would guess that Google would be typically delivering at least 50% of them to you. If you are running PPC campaigns with Google, which is a paid-for advertising service, it is likely that this figure will be even higher. Assuming that you have a web stats, or web analytics package or system in place, it would also not be unusual to see other popular search engines only accounting for less than 5% each at most of the visitors delivered to your web pages.

It would probably be fair to say that everybody, and certainly most organisations and traders would like their web pages to appear at the top of Google’s search results for as many important and potentially lucrative key phrases as possible.

Therefore SEO or search optimisation of your web pages is often an exercise in making sure your pages fit within the guidelines of, and are as attractive possible to, and function as well as possible within Google’s systems.

The potential interest, enquiries, business and ultimately profits that could be gained from basically appearing anywhere as near as possible to the top of first page of Google search results have meant that we can all expect stiff competition when trying to get there. With so much at stake, and the kind of diffused, detached and distant feelings of responsibility that simply using YOUR computer could give you, it’s no wonder than there is a good deal of foul as well as fair means being used to reach these top spots.
It’s also the case that many people simply aren’t aware of, or don’t have time to make a study of where some of these boundaries lie.

Search engines on the other hand, such as Google, need people to continue using them on a regular basis, and in preference to other search engines.

Google has long known that in order to do this, they need to deliver their users which are essentially their customers before they become your customers, to the pages that best meet their search needs.

For this to happen, they need good, sophisticated search engine technology, that consistently delivers high quality, useful, relevant results, but is as easy as possible for users to operate. Google’s obviously worked very hard in this area.

What is an incoming link?

Ideally, it is a link from another page on the web, housed at another domain.

If you have the ability to check your incoming links (which I will go into in the next video in this series), you will see that the link architecture of your web pages i.e. the links between your own web pages (where it’s relevant to do so) can also be counted as incoming links.

An outgoing link is a hyperlink from one of your web pages, to another domain i.e. another page on the web, housed at a different domain to your own. It is commonplace for web pages to have for example a ‘links’ page that contains outgoing links.

So, where do incoming links fit into this, and why are they so important to your web pages?

With greater education among, resources and training available to webmasters / website owners, consider for a moment that it’s possible for two different web pages to optimised to more or less the same degree for more or less the same key phrases. Imagine also if you will that there are new pages all the time being developed, which may also be aligned toward the same key phrases.

One of Google’s main tasks as I said earlier was to deliver the search results that best fit the query. If several pages are equally relevant to a key phrase, how will Google choose which one should rank above another?

Google needs therefore to decide not just which page is most relevant, but which pages are also the most ‘important’ for specific key phrases.

Google’s PageRank – the kind of scoring system or poll – is one way that Google uses to decide and indicate which pages may be more ‘important’ than others. Google states that it uses 200 or so measurements when deciding how to categorise and rank a web page, but it would be fair to say that having a good number of high quality incoming links to a page is highly likely to increase its importance as well as its relevance, and in doing so, can make it rank more highly in the search engine results. PageRank is a score from 0 to 10 allocated to a page in relation to this.

The underlying basic assumption, is that is a someone links to your page, you page must somehow be important or interesting. This calculation system is named after Larry Page, one of the founders of Google, and hence PageRank is quite different to where pages rank in the search engine results. It is important to note that it is essentially the QUALITY of the incoming link that counts, not the quantity.

What makes a high quality incoming link?

When judging the quality of a link, search engines such as Google are interested in being able to establish good ‘CONTEXT’ for the link i.e. to a degree, how relevant is the incoming link to the subject matter of the page it is linking to?

Essentially there are 4 main factors:

1. The text on the page that the link comes from.
How relevant is the text content of that page to the text content of the page it is linking to? Is the subject matter related to the subject matter of the page it is linking to?
In deciding this, Google can help to ensure that it is ‘fairly’ ranking the importance of a page, thus helping to guard the integrity and quality of its search engine results, and at the same time is guarding against for example, paid-for links from irrelevant pages.

2. Does the anchor text – the blue hyperlink itself – contain a text phrase that is relevant to the page it is linking to? For example, by including the domain name as the actual link itself (provided it contains no relevant key phrases) of the words ‘click here’, these would be unlikely to have any relevance to the content of the page they are linking to. As such, they would devalue the link compared to a blue hyperlink that was itself made up of a relevant key phrase to the page it’s linking to.

3. Are there many other outgoing links from the page that links to yours (as an incoming link) and if so, are they relevant links? Google for instance would be doing a couple of things here. If the links on the other page were all unrelated in nature and subject matter – and it’s highly likely they’d be text links anyway e.g. from somebody’s dedicated links page, it’s highly unlikely that the text on the page would be relevant to the page its; linking to anyway.

Also, a feature of ‘dubious’ linking schemes, link farms and paid-for link schemes, is that they are often long pages with lots of different links coming from them. Google seems to value these paid-for, often irrelevant links much less – in fact they’re likely to violate the Google guidelines, and as such, might not do your site any favours. Pages with very few outgoing links on them, that are related and relevant in subject matter are much less likely to be dubious as regards the guidelines, and therefore can be valued higher.

4. What is the Google PageRank of the page that is supplying the link?

If the page that the link is coming from has itself got a good PageRank e.g. 3 or 4 out of 10, Google has already accepted the importance of this page, and therefore a link from it is likely to be beneficial.

It may also be important if this higher ranking page was deemed to be ‘important’ for keywords related to those found in the page it’s linking to.

Ultimately, and ideally, providing good, interesting, informative, original content on your pages should in itself attract natural links, and it is these kinds of natural links, and natural linking patterns that are likely to be particularly valued by Google.

To Sum up:

Good quality incoming links to your web pages can increase their Google PageRank, and improve their position in the search engine rankings for your important key phrases.

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Starting Off With SEO

SEO / SEO Techniques

Making sure your web pages appear as high as possible in the search
engine results listings, particularly Google’s natural listings is the goal
of what is generally called Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

The natural listings are the main results that appear on the left hand side
in response to a Google search engine query, and these listings don’t require
payment. Just because a web page cost a lot of money to produce, looks stylish
and professional, and contains what YOU think it should contain, this doesn’t
mean that Google will list the page highly for your important key phrase(s).

Similarly, just because a page looks basic in design, was inexpensive to
produce, and has no fancy graphics, this doesn’t mean that the page has
a less of a chance of receiving good rankings. The key point is that in
order to rank highly in for example Google, your pages will have to conform
to Google’s ideas on what makes a ‘good’ web page.

Web companies and SEO companies have no influence over Google’s listings
and rankings of web pages, but using among other things, experience over
time, and Google’s own published information and guidelines, it is clear
that some things should be given greater priority than others when producing
what you hope will be high ranking web pages. Each newsletter will focus
on one particular high priority element of your web pages. the intention
is that you will better understand where to focus efforts in order to make
a real and posistive difference in getting your web pages higher in the
Google natural listings.

Area of Interest: Improving the ‘relevance’ of a web page
to keywords and key phrases.

Focus: The Document Title / Page Title. As a basic point,
to increase the chances of having a web page found in Google for a certain
key phrase, it stands to reason that you should at least include the phrase
in that page. Google (and other search engines) rely on reading text to
make sense of, index, and categorise web pages, so it’s certainly worth
including your important key phrase in the body text.

However, the body text is not the first thing that search engines encounter
when visiting your web. If you were to look at the code that makes up your
page (e.g. go to ‘view’ and ‘source’ on an IE browser), you will see at
the top of a web page there is a section called the ‘head’ of the page.
This area is contained between code ‘tags’ that look like this …. The
Document Title / Page Title is in this ‘head’ area of the page and is contained
within code tags that look like this Your Page Title.

These head elements are really for the benefit of the search engines rather
than human visitors and as such, are not visible when you look at the page
in a browser. The document title however can be seen when (in white writing)
when you look at the blue horizontal band at the very top of an IE browser.

This ‘title’ could be regarded as an essential element when trying to make
a page rank more highly in the search engines for your chosen key phrases.
By including this key phrases / these key phrases in the document title,
you are beginning to establish relevance to this phrase/ these phrases as
far as the search engines are concerned. It may also be a good idea to put
your chosen phrase(s) as near to the beginning of this document title as

Try to make sure that you include the key phrases that the page is mostly
about in this title, and the phrases that people are likely to/ are actually
putting into search engines to fined a product / service such as your. Avoid
including words in the document title that are not relevant to the page
text content e.g. avoid using ‘welcome to our website..’ or including the
company name (if it is not relevant to what people are searching for).

If you have a geographic focus to your business operations e.g. certain
counties or towns, you could include them in this document title as well
as in the body text of the page.

( Source: mkLINK ltd, Google Website.)

MKLINK Marketing Tips

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