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SEO--How To Turn Your Website Into A Search Engine Darling (Prt II)
Off Page Optimization
To rank well with search engines you first need to understand what the goal of search engines is?
What Is The Primary Goal Of A Search Engine?
The main aim of the various search engines is to keep their visitors. And how do they do that? By providing visitors (people conducting searches) with the most relevant content with respect to a given search phrase, term or word(s). You see, search is actually a business...very big business involving vast sums of cash. The competition is seriously fierce (and is bound to get even more so). So in a nutshell, however much search engine algorithms change, their primary goal remains the same: to deliver accurate, quality content for a given search term, as quickly as possible. Once you understand this you can see why ranking well with the search engines requires good content on your website.
Having said that though...
Links To Your Site Are The Most Effective Way To Get Good Search Engine Rankings!
Link popularity is the single-most effective factor for improving your search engine rankings. At its most basic, a link to your site is viewed as a vote of confidence. In other words, various sites link to yours because they find that your site has something of value (usually content) to offer them. And as far as search engines are concerned links are the most easily recognizable factor in determining a website's popularity. An entire SEO sub-culture has since developed to take advantage of this fact, finding new ways (some scrupulous...some not) to cultivate rapid-growth link campaigns. On their part the search engines have not been idle, and have developed increasingly sophisticated algorithms to address the burgeoning number of ways which webmasters have developed to "artificially" inflate the link popularity of their websites.
Before discussing the various ways you can go about amassing links you should first understand how the search engines qualify links, because as far as they are concerned:
Not All Links Are Created Equal!
The quality of a link is determined by various factors:
* The importance of the website linking to yours: the more important the website (high page rank) the greater the value of the link
* The relevance of the linking website's content to that of your website: links from a website with a complimentary theme (say your site is about dog breeding...linking site is about dog training--this is an example of a naturally complimentary link) are of greater value than links from totally unrelated websites
* The number of other outbound links on the linking page of the website linking to you
* Links from different IP addresses have more impact than links that originate from the same IP address
Obtaining high quality links should be the goal of every webmaster. If you're developing a new site, as far as Google is concerned, that site has to undergo a period of assessment (known in SEO circles as being sandboxed) during which time your site will have no page rank or placement in the Google organic listing. Having inward bound links from websites with high page rank (five and above) will give your site more credibility hence shorten the length of time in which it is sandboxed, as well as influencing your eventual page rank score once your site is "paroled".
How To Get Links
Actively pursuing links is far more effective than sitting around hoping that people will fall in love with your site and automatically link to it. Luckily there're multiple ways you can develop inbound links even on a miniscule budget.
* Submit your site's URL to directories. Some require money...some don't. www.strongestlinks.com has a very comprehensive listing of directories (free and other wise) and they very considerately list the submission fee (if any) next to each listing.
* Reciprocal Link Exchange--this involves two websites exchanging links and is probably the most popular and cheapest way to get links. The drawback is that it is very time consuming and tedious (contacting individual webmasters) unless you register with specialized link-exchange directories.
* Buying links. This can be a very quick way to amass links but it can also be very expensive. For example it is not unusual for webmasters to pay several hundred dollars every month to have a text link on the homepage of a website with Google page rank 6 or higher.
One-way links are the most desirable type of link to have. They are considered of greater value than reciprocal links as far as search engines are concerned. So how do you get one-way links? You can submit your website to directories, buy links on web pages or through 3-way linking schemes. 3-way linking schemes basically follow this principle: Site A links to Site B which links to Site C that links back to Site A. The allure of one way links is that your site has less outbound links (having a ton of outbound links depreciates your site's page rank) and hence is more attractive to the search engines.
Anchor Text --The anchor text of your link is a very...very important factor to consider when you're optimizing your site. Let's say you're optimizing for the keyword (phrase) online business, you should make sure that "online business" features some place in your link text. In fact even when dealing with internal links don't use such phrases like "click here for more" as the anchor text pointing to another page of your site, but try and place a relevant keyword there instead. Those internal links also play a role in your overall link score.
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About the Author: Ba Kiwanuka is the webmaster of Internet Business Mart