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SEO and Link Building: Increasing Website Traffic By Using Links Wisely

To help get your website seen, you need to make use of search engines. This is not as easy as it used to be, because search engines have become more and more complex as the internet evolves. Link building is increasingly seen as an important way to optimize search engine performance. Think of web links as a type of currency of the internet. Links can be bought and sold, traded, and provide value to those who own or control them. One reason links are so important is that search engines use them as a strong factor in ranking web pages. Search engines are getting smarter than ever and will look at the quality of your links as well as the quantity. In addition to helping your cause with search engines, links also get you more traffic via site-to-site searching.

Link building is a complicated enterprise that evolves as the search engines evolve. Search engines like Google no longer use the same old algorithms of counting the number of links a site has and assigning a score. More often, search engines will take a close look at the links to see if they are actually likely to be of value to the person doing the searching. After all, search engines earn repeat business by directing users to worthy sites. Paying attention to some nuances of link development will greatly increase your chances of making it to the top of the search engine list.

It used to be that the main way to build links was by reciprocity. This time honored technique of figuratively scratching each other’s backs meant literally linking to each other’s website. This is beneficial to both owners; each site gets another notch on the list of valued links. There is no cost for this service, so it works out well for everybody. At least it did in the past.

However, search engines have now become smart enough to catch on to this. They will identify when websites link to each other’s pages. While there could be legitimate reasons for this, sometimes these links are not useful. If your website is bogged down with numerous links, it will be detrimental to your SEO. In fact, too many links on your site looks bad in the eyes of the search engine and could even get you flagged as a spam site candidate.

Sometimes you have to spend a little money to gain the figurative value of that internet currency (linkage). A formerly popular way to build a link network was the purchase of text links. There are many popular websites which sell this service. But be careful of spending your money this way; these links are also given less weight by search engines. They know from the volume and content of the links on websites like these that the link is there because you bought it, not because the content on your site inspired someone to link to you. This is not likely to get you farther up the list that the search engine returns.

Now let’s get down to the type of links the search engines really want to see: organic links. These are links to your website that other site owners have voluntarily set up because there is content on your site which may interest their own visitors. These are not paid for with money or reciprocity and therefore make you very attractive to Google and other search engines.

However, these links are difficult to cultivate! You can’t get them without having a good deal of people visit your site. But increasing traffic to your website was the reason you wanted to build your link network in the first place! You find yourself in a vicious circle; your site needs to be popular in order to gain popularity. You need to be favored by search engines in order to gain visitors to your site, but you need past viewers to set up organic links in order to get this help from the search engines. And oftentimes webmasters will want something in exchange for linking to your site, so it is difficult to keep these links truly organic.

There are some ways to get your links out there in ways that will score highly with search engines. For one thing, contribute to online article directories. There are a vast number of these gigantic directories that contain articles promoting people, products, services, or websites. Make use of keywords throughout your article, and make especially good use of the “about the author” section at the end of the article. This is a place where you can include a link to your site. Find article directories which permit HTML hyperlinking. This is crucial for SEO.

About the articles; a good length for a directory article is anywhere from 500 to 1,500 words. It is hard to convey much value in anything shorter, and people are unlikely to read a longer article. On the other hand, long articles can be good for attracting newsletter attention, which can be a good source of traffic to your site. Don’t view the article simply as a place to leave a link. Make sure it’s original – each one you post. Don’t post duplicated articles even if you are the author. The engines can tell it’s a duplicate and you will get NO value. This is also a great way to increase viewers by attracting people browsing the directories to your website.

There are hundreds of directories out there to choose from, and don’t limit yourself to a few. Take the shotgun approach and contribute to as many directories as possible. The more directories to which you contribute, the more positive links you will be able to establish. Choose directories that specialize in your area so that you can also hit a target audience while you optimize your search engine accessibility. However, include some directories that are also for the general audience. This will attract new visitors to your site. It is crucial that the directory allow you to link via html with anchor text. Of course, you’d like the directories to have high a pr ranking and good traffic; aim for a page rank of 3 or higher.

The anchor text of your link should be chosen with special care. This is a resource that is often used poorly and does not result in good search engine optimization. Many search engines use the anchor text to establish or verify the topic of the linked site. No matter how often the keywords show up on the linked page, the link will only get included in the list of relevant sites if the anchor text contains the desired keywords. For example, a link which appears under the anchor text of “click here” will not get counted to your advantage by the search engine (unless the searcher actually typed either “click” or “here” into the search box).

Similarly, using your domain name is not advantageous. Although this gets your name into the mind of a viewer, it offers little help in advancing your search engine status because it does not contain any keywords that people are likely to search for. After all, people rarely search for your site by using your domain name. (If they knew that they would just go directly to your site!)

You may be thinking that you can outsmart Google by using an unrelated, commonly searched for word in your anchor text. (Does “click me” come to mind?) But know this, search engines are alert, and they will not be fooled. They will look to see if the keyword actually exists on your website itself. The practice of using gimmick words that do not relate to your content could get you flagged as a spam site. Instead, stick to the good practice of using keywords as your link anchor text, and ensuring that these keywords also exist on the linked page and are part of the theme of your content.

Pay attention to the text around your link. Use a slightly different “about the author” section in each directory to which you contribute. This will help you gain you further status in Google and other search engines because the pages will not be seen as identical linking pages.

Many of these tactics are unknown to website owners looking to establish a network of links for SEO purposes. They take great pains to build a large and thorough network and are puzzled about why they do not see results. Building your familiarity with the algorithms used by the search engines will help you know how to best spread and cultivate your links. This process is certainly not at the end of a period of growth; search engine routines will continue to grow and mature throughout the coming years.

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