Tag Archives: link building

Inbound Links in SEO

Inbound Link Marketing

On-page optimization is an essential first step in using inbound links as you will ultimately get much more leverage having links from other sites to yours. Inbound links in the past where to just be a good source of referral traffic. Today, they can influence your search engine rankings as well.

Google was the first search engine to use links as a significant ranking factor. Now all the search engines rank your Website to a certain degree. Google viewed a link from one site to another as a ‘ballot’ for the target site. The more ballots you have, the more authoritative your site is considered.

There are two main benefits gained through each link:

  • Better SEO authority of the linked-to page and increase in authority of the site as a whole
  • More relevancy of the page for the keywords that are used in the link’s anchor text

Please Note that not all links pass value. Webmasters can add a ‘nofollow’ attribute to an outbound link in order to achieve this. For example Links from some popular sites such as Wikipedia are all nofollow. You can verify whether a link passes value by checking its HTML code. Just use your favorite browser.

Link Building with Head Terms vs. Long Tail Terms

We have now discussed how to identify the search terms that your site would benefit from targeting. However, different link building techniques may be required, depending on the competitiveness of a keyword.

Head Terms

Ranking for highly competitive head terms typically requires a more diverse source of links pointing to the appropriate page that targets the term. The links will need to use the corresponding keyword as the anchor text as often as possible.

Mid and Long Tail Terms

Pages that target less competitive mid-to-long tail terms don’t typically require as many external links. Instead, sites can rank for these terms by gaining authority through strong, trusted links, often to the front page of the site. Solid information architecture and good on-page keyword targeting will then provide the relevancy signals needed to rank for these terms.

Most of the link building tactics discussed later in this chapter can be used either to target specific head terms or simply to build the authority of the site, depending on your specific needs.

Tools for Link Research

Finally, It’s often useful to know about the links your site currently has. This information can help you make decisions regarding whether to aim for more links that will build site authority or to focus on deep links with specific anchor text.

Researching your competitors’ links can also be valuable, particularly in identifying link opportunities or niches that could also be useful to your link building campaign.

Yahoo! Site Explorer

Yahoo! provides a free tool that lists up to 1,000 of the links to any site. Enter your domain name or a particular page, select the ‘Inlinks’ button, and change the settings to ‘Show links: except from this domain.’ Also select ‘to: entire site’ if you’d like to see links to the whole site rather than just a single page.

These links are not in any particular order, and the list will include links that do not pass any value as well as those that do.

Open Site Explorer – http://www.opensiteexplorer.org/

This tool provides information about the top 1,000 links to a site. These can be filtered to exclude links that do not pass value. Additional information about each link includes the anchor text used and the authority of each linking page.

The Open Site Explorer tool also includes reports that showcase the most popular pages on the site, the most common anchor text used to link to a page or site and other information about the strength of the page.

Understanding URL’s

Internet link

Understanding URL’s

Creating descriptive categories and file-names for the documents on your website can not only help you keep your site better organized, but it could also lead to better crawling of your documents by search engines. This creates easier, “friendlier” URLs for those that want to link to your content. Visitors may be intimidated by extremely long and cryptic URLs that contain few recognizable words.

URLs can be confusing and unfriendly. Users would have a hard time reciting complex URL’s from memory or creating a link to it. In addition, users may believe that a portion of the URL is unnecessary, especially if the URL shows many unrecognizable parameters. They might leave off a part, breaking the link.

Some users might link to your page using the URL of that page as the anchor text. If your URL contains relevant words, this provides users and search engines with more information about the page than an ID using numbers or an oddly named parameter would present.

URLs are displayed in search results

Finally, remember that the URL to a document is displayed as part of a search result in Google, below the document’s title and snippet. Like the title and snippet, words in the URL on the search result appear in bold if they appear in the user’s query. Note: to avoid Google from creating a snippet, use a well constructed Meta Description to enhance the title description.

Google is very adept at crawling all types of URL structures, even if they’re quite complex, but spending the time to make your URLs as simple as possible for both users and search engines can help. Some webmasters try to achieve this by rewriting their dynamic URLs to static ones; while Google is fine with this, we’d like to note that this is an advanced procedure and if done incorrectly, could cause crawling issues with your site. To learn even more about good URL structure, we recommend this Webmaster Help Center page on creating Google-friendly URLs.

Use words in URLs

URLs that contain words which are relevant to your site’s content and structure provide a much friendlier environment for visitors navigating your site. Visitors remember them better and might be more willing to link to them.


  • Using lengthy URLs with unnecessary parameters and session IDs
  • Choosing generic page names like “page1.html”
  • Using excessive keywords like “football-cards-football-cards-footballcards.htm”

Create a simple directory structure

Use a directory structure that organizes your content clearly and makes it easy for visitors to know where they’re at on your site. Try using your directory structure to indicate the type of content found at that URL.


  • Having deep nesting of sub-directories like “…/dir1/dir2/dir3/dir4/dir5/dir6/page.html”
  • Using directory names that have no relation to the content in them

Provide one version of a URL to reach a document

To prevent users from linking to one version of a URL and others linking to a different version (this could split the reputation of that content between the URLs), focus on using and referring to one URL in the structure and internal linking of your pages. If you do find that people are accessing the same content through multiple URLs, setting up a “301 redirect” from non-preferred URLs to the dominant URL is a good solution for this. You may also use canonical URL or use the rel=”canonical”link element if you cannot redirect.


  • Having pages from subdomains and the root directory access the same content

– e.g. “domain.com/page.htm” and “sub.domain.com/page.htm”

  • Using odd capitalization of URLs

-many users expect lower-case URLs and remember them better


Website development is greatly enhanced when developers adhere to Google’s rules for understanding URL’s.


SEO – How Do Links Affect Your Website

Link Building Strategy

So, how do Links affect your website?  Anchor text is used to link an internal webpage to another one of your webpage’s, the use of anchor text when another website links to you can be extremely helpful in creating relevancy to certain keywords and phrases. If you have the option, always request keyword-rich anchor text for a link that uses your domain. That said, if you have no other option, still take a link with anchor text to your domain. All link juice is good.

One helpful practice in link building is link trading, or “I will put a link to your website on my website if you put a link to my mine on yours.” These types of links are referred to as reciprocal links. Since all links are good, reciprocal links are not prohibited, but their value is certainly not as good as a one-way link to your website. There was most likely a time when reciprocal links were just as good as any other, but the search engines are always getting smarter in determining how much value a link should receive.

Like most other aspects of SEO, throwing money at link building is a bad idea. Paying others to link to you is strictly prohibited by the search engines. In fact, all paid links must include a tag, called a no-follow tag, which tell the search engines not to give those links credit. If you are caught with un-tagged paid links (the linker or the linkee), your website could be suspended from the search engines or blacklisted for good.

Links to your website from advertisements are not counted as inbound links by the search engines. If they discover paid link relationships that are not classified as advertisements, you risk having your website suspended from being listed on the SERP, or even blacklisted if the instance is deemed severe enough.

If you don’t have the time to do link building, but do have some money, there are SEO firms that you can hire to perform this task. Some firms have questionable SEO practices at best, so it is best to do extensive research before signing any agreements or cutting a check.

Use Social Media for Link Building

Use of social networks like Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn has exploded over the last few years. In fact, the latest figures from ComScore suggest that 16% of all time spent online is spent on a social network. With hundreds of millions of users across these social networks sharing content they find online with their friends and followers, search engines have begun to take notice.

According to SEOMoz, the amount of social activity that a webpage has on social networks (shares, recommendations, likes, links, +1’s, etc.) is an important factor in that page’s ability to rank on the SERP. Simply put, search engines have realized that content shared on social networks is extremely influential, and should therefore rank higher. Beyond using social networks to engage new prospects, drive leads, and build brand awareness, businesses should consider all of the SEO benefits they miss out on by not having a brand presence.

In order to capitalize on the boost to your SERP rankings from social media, you need to make your content easy to share. Implementing social network buttons across your website is the easiest way to accomplish this. Installing the buttons is easy if you use a service like AddThis. Better yet, HubSpot’s blogging software automatically adds this functionality for you.

Use Email to get Links

Almost any business these days uses email to nurture relationships with their current leads and customers, and utilizes promotional email blasts to attract new ones. It is no surprise that with the death of direct mail over the past few years, email marketing has exploded. It has never been easier to set up an email program, upload your leads, and send them communication. Obviously, the extreme rate at which businesses have adopted email has deteriorated its effectiveness industry-wide. There is so much noise out there that you need to make every email send count.

Just like you need to make the content on your website easy to share in social media, you need to do the same for email. Aside from having clear call-to-action in your emails to nurture your list, drive leads, and convert them to customers, you should also make it easy for your email readers to share the content with friends and post it to social networks. This will increase the reach of your website content and make it easier for you to get inbound links for SEO.

Crawling and Indexing using Backlinks

SEO Link Building

The first answer would be that they must be indexed, however through experiments and tests we know that links that are not indexed still pass-on a certain amount of link juice to your website.  This makes absolute sense because Google/Yahoo would not want to show all their inbound linking data and info about a specific website. That would be much easier to manipulate. There is much information available that show a “portion” of the link wheel that supports any domain and the best average of backlinks.  No one is exactly sure unless you work at Google.

We know that Google does not show all of your backlinks in webmaster tools and will constantly re-evaluate, de-index and shift weights around on all your inbound links.  This will happen because a backlink gains more popularity or goes stale and is dropped from the SERPs, all sorts of different changes that happen constantly to the search engines “environment” of data.  There are a lot of opinions on how indexing vs. crawling of backlinks may differ.

Indexed Backlinks:

  • In-bound links that are showing in Google webmaster tools, Yahoo Site Explorer and/or SEO software
  • Links that are showing in Google would be considered highest value
  • You know that your receiving maximum benefits from that backlink

Crawled Backlinks:

  • Inbound links that have been pinged and crawled by search engine spiders
  • Carry “some” weight, but no one is sure how much compared to indexed links
  • Usually these links do not have much “content” associated with the link, more content (when relevant) is going to help improve the association and worth of a backlink pointing toward your main site

SEO Tips for Getting your Backlinks Indexed:

  • Always Ping  – use Pingler.com, Feedshark, Pingfarm.com(mass list pings)
  • Setup an RSS feed with all your backlinks in them so spiders can crawl the feed regularly
  • Build a 2nd tier of backlinks pointing at your 1st tier links (2nd tier can be much worse quality)
  • Bookmarking Demon/Xrumer/Scrapebox are excellent resources for building a variety of 2nd tier links to get your primary/high quality 1st tier backlinks indexed
  • If you are setting 2nd tier backlinks that point at your 1st tier, quality is not that important and don’t worry if your 1st tier properties get sandboxed, they will still pass on the link.

Please understand that having one backlink is better than none!  Just make sure to keep your backlinks in good neighborhoods, try to associate relevance and unique content with every link you make.  Whether it’s a small relation like a business directory or geographically, just stay away from spam websites that will affect your trust and rank negatively.

If you are having trouble getting your web2.0 properties indexed, definitely focus on building an RSS for those that can be dripped pings consistently, then you need to look at starting and creating your 2nd tier links.

I would really recommend a tool like Bookmarking Demon or Scrapebox, you can blast thousands and thousands of blog comments, bookmark submissions, Pligg sites, etc so that your main links are picked up and also this will distribute more links to your main site down the chain.

This has really become the standard in the SEO industry recently, especially after Google’s algorithm changes which have made it much more difficult to use poor quality/junk backlinks to rank for your keywords.  It’s better to build lower quantity, high quality link properties and then build a foundation of linking toward those.