I often have clients tell me that another website has offered to link to their site, or that they have agreed to share links with a website of someone they know and that’s great, or at least it is if it’s done correctly.
A link to your website could be anything from your company or organisations name, to your URL or even a mention within a body of text upon a page. Now each of these, with a hyperlink correctly applied, will navigate from the current page to your page when clicked, but the ‘value’ that the link brings with it will be very different. I am not going to get into the complexity of Page Rank and such at this stage, as we are concentrating on a well formed link in this article.
So lets look at some link options:
- 1. Web Hosting Company rediwebhosting.com
- 2. Web Hosting from rediwebhosting.test
- 3. Rediweb Hosting provide a range of Web Hosting Plans to meet the needs of everyone from hobbyists through to Business’ and Website Designers and Developers.
In example 1. you can see that the URL has the ‘hyperlink’ applied to it. This is the type of link that you see all over the internet and unfortunately it has the least ‘value’ to it. When the search engines crawl the website and find an outgoing link, it wants to know what that link is about. The ‘Anchor Text’ – that is the text that has the link applied to it – tells the search engine what it is that it is linking to. It already knows the url or web address of where it is going and so applying the link to the same text is worthless.
In example 2. we can see that the hyperlink has been applied to the words ‘Web Hosting‘, whilst still using a short 4 word phrase for visitors of the page to read. This tells the search engines that discover the link when crawling the page, that the link is going to take visitors to a page about Web Hosting which carries much more relevance and value to the site in question. Here’s and example of a link to a customer of ours that provides specialist Drain Cleaning London services.
In example 3. we have a 24 word short paragraph that tells visitors something about the company in question and the link is applied to a Key Phrase for that website within that text i.e ‘web hosting plans‘. Having your link applied to a key term [ key term relates to a key word or a key phrase ] within a body of text is the best method for linking as it demonstrates a willingness by the referring site to carry useful information about the website they are linking to and also gives you an opportunity to plug your services and products.
So how do you create a hyperlink?
A link is created using the HTML anchor tags and the Word or Phrase in between is referred to as the Anchor Text or Link Text. You can create a simple link like this:
<a href=”http://rediwebhosting.test/web-hosting.html” title=”Web Hosting Plans”>Web Hosting Plans</a> Where the text in Blue is the text that will be seen, everything else is programming code that is read by the browser and search engines. If you are given the opportunity to add a link to a website yourself, some directories and blogs allow you to add a paragraph about yourself or your company, and providing that allow ‘html’ use, you can use the anchor tags as demonstrated above. Place whatever text you want before and after your anchor text to create an informative paragraph about what your website is offering it’s visitors.
You should also vary the anchor text you use for these links. If you continually use the same phrase, the search engines may well see this as spam, so juggle the text you are linking from to give you a range of link options.
The best pace for links to your website.
Some websites have a traditional ‘Links’ page, which is generally crammed with links to other websites of varying random topics, probably because these links are to other sites that have requested a link exchange or are sites of people or companies they know or have used themselves in the past. Having a link to your website on this page will probably have little or no effect for you, unless you can have some lineage about your product or service and ensure your keywords or phrases are linked correctly.
Generally it is best to have links from sites that have some connection with you or the subject on which you are an Authority. For instance, if you are an entertainment company providing the hire of play equipment, then having links from groups that use your services is a great place to start. You can also offer to link with other organisations that offer similar services to you but in different areas. Avoid having links from link farms. Link farms have thousands and even tens of thousands of links on them and they link to everything and anything. They will have little relevance to your topic and will be identified as a link farm by the search engines. At best, you can hope your link will be ignored.
The demon ‘NoFollow’ attribute
Nofollow does exactly what you think it does, it tells the search engines not to follow the link. To the visitor of a web page, the links will appear exactly the same. The links will highlight – if that has been assigned – and you can click through to the linked page with no problem. The difference lies is in the code. When to nofollow attribute is applied to a link, the search engines are instructed not to follow that link and so it passes no value whatsoever through to your website. Some people offering great link exchange opportunities will use the nofollow attribute on the links they offer back to your website. You can see the link on their site and think great, they are giving me a valuable link so i will link back to them. The reality is that if the link has the ‘rel=nofollow’ attribute applied, you will be getting nothing from the deal, just giving away some of your credibility.
Nofollow does have it’s place and can be very useful. If you have several links on a page to the same thing to make it easy for your visitors to navigate and find what you are offering, you may choose to nofollow some of them, so that your page does not look as if it is trying to spam them. It can also be handy in blogs where you allow people to comment but don’t want to be responsible for links that others may post.
Leaking Page Rank
The best way to think of your website is like a bucket. You fill that bucket with great stuff. You spends hours, days, weeks and for some a lifetime nurturing your content. You tweak and you hone your words, products and services to give your visitors the very best experience because thats why they come back. Then you stab a hole in it!
Links are like holes. They leak away your ‘Internet Credit’. Every new link you offer stabs a new hole and creates more leaks. And leaks are fine so long as you can patch them and that is where back links come in. Back links are the links that lead people viewing other websites over to your website. Depending on the relevance of the site linking to you, their own popularity and credibility, is how big the patch is. If they have more credibility and popularity than you then they will be adding to the goodness in your bucket. If they have less than you, then you have lost a bit to them for now, but hopefully as they improve, you will regain some of that.
This is why it is not advisable to link to just anyone. Not all links are good and it is worth monitoring who you link to. From time to time check the links you are offering to others to see exactly what is on the other end. If the page no longer exists – remove the link, if the content on the page you are linking to is no longer relevant – review your decision, if the link takes you to a completely different site or inappropriate content – remove the link. Do not set up links and forget them. They deserve as much attention as the rest of your website.