What is Link Optimization?
Link optimization is the process of reviewing existing links a site has earned to ensure you get maximum value from them. — James Duthie
The Basics: Link Building
The Different Link Types
Every webpage should have internal and external links. Internal links are links that point to other pages on the same website. Outbound links are links that point to external websites. Both help users navigate a site and find useful information. They also help search engines understand and index a site. But they are all formed differently.
Other than internal and external links, there are also anchor texts, naked URLs, brand citations and image links which we have discussed in the previous post.
Reciprocal links can be beneficial if the two websites share the same target market or offer complimentary services or products. However, if the two websites are not relevant to each other, reciprocal links can actually harm PageRank.
There are also variations in the way each link operates:
- Do follow links are standard links that search engines can follow and count toward PageRank.
- Nofollow links have extra markup in the code that tells Google crawlers to ignore the link, so it doesn’t count toward PageRank.
Google advises using the nofollow tag for paid links or for links to websites you don’t trust such as in the comments section to avoid spam links.
How to Analyze Links
When it comes to links, not all are created equal. Some are more valuable than others, and there are a few factors you need to consider to determine which links are the most valuable for your website.
Relevant links are more valuable for several reasons.
- A website that is related to your industry or field of expertise is more likely to have information that is useful to you.
- An outbound link from a relevant website is more likely to be clicked on and used, which means it has a higher chance of helping you achieve your goals.
- Internal links that help users and search engines navigate your site more easily are also more valuable, since they can improve the overall user experience.
Most SEO experts agree that links within the content are more valuable than navigational links or links in the page footer. When it comes to how Google and other search engines rank links, there are no guarantees.
However, most SEO experts agree that links within the content are more valuable than navigational links or links in the page footer. These factors, taken together with the link type, all contribute to link value. Considering all these details, we can summarize what makes some links better than others.
There are a few things you can do to get good links to your website:
- Backlinks from websites with more authority will help your website rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).
- Relevant backlinks from websites that are well-ranked for certain keywords will also improve your website’s ranking.
- Links with anchor text that is relevant to the linked content will be more useful than generic links.
Bad links include:
- Links that are not useful or relevant to your website’s content.
- Links that are not related to the content of your website.
- Links to poor-quality websites.
- Broken links.
- Repetitive keywords or exact-match keyword phrases in internal links.
- Purchased links without the no-follow tag.
As long as you try to make your web content SEO friendly and avoid filling your pages with too many optimized links, you shouldn’t be too worried about building links for SEO purposes.
Instead, focus on creating quality content that your readers will find useful and trustworthy. This will result in a more balanced link profile, with a variety of natural links that are more useful and credible to humans and search engines alike.