Understanding Inbound Links and their Benefits
Link building has arguably been the most important factor and one of the core focus areas for most companies and webmasters wanting to improve their rankings within search engines. It’s no secret that every major search engine heavily weighs inbound links for their search results, including natural occurrences of those links, anchor text being used within their search results, and quantity or quality of those links.
Within this article, I’ll explain exactly what you need to do to successfully market a page or pages within your website and achieve a good balance of quality inbound links. For simplicity, I will discuss anchor text variations, most effective text to use within links, and where links should be acquired, i.e. directories, blogs, or other niche sites.
The first concept to grasp is that there are many types of links that can be targeted, not just an anchor text link with two or three words to a particular page of your site. Let’s start with the following three types:
1) URL or Web Page Links – these links are directed to a URL of a web site. This type of link to a specific page does increase the general authority of that particular page and is beneficial to use to increase the natural occurrences of inbound links to a website.
2) Name Links – these links include the anchor text of the particular page or perhaps even the title of the page’s context. An example might be a page with the anchor text of “SEO Position” where the URL used points to our own company home page. Another example might be the words “link building benefits,” where the URL points to a particular page of our site that explains that topic. In this example the URL does not necessarily have to have “link building benefits” in the URL to be effective as long as page context is targeted for those keywords.
The later of the two above is one of the most used types of links from directories or resource-type sites who simply describe the “landing page” with more intuitive text for the user to understand the page’s contents.
3) Exact Anchor Text – this type of inbound link points to and describes exactly what a page is about using specific targeted keywords. An example of this linking method would be the anchor text “content writing” which points to a specific page about content writing and targets specific search terms. These types of text links can be confused with name links mentioned above, although they are more targeted and commonly used by webmasters wanting to build ranking for particular terms and pages. Name links happen more randomly, making them seem more natural to search engines.
The second are of inbound links include the locations in which links are acquired. There are many types of locations for links to be effective, but I’ll keep the list to just a few of the more common areas.
1) Contextual Linking – links in this category are simply links within any body of context or paragraph/sentence where the link appears. This type of link is perhaps the most beneficial since search engines have the ability to understand context wrapping around the text link, thus weighing it more heavily as a resource or authority.
2) Directory Links – simply achieved by the “title” field that almost every directory asks for when submitting your URL, these types of links appear on categorized pages and often include a simple anchor text with a description after it. Directory links can be beneficial for your web site if understood and used properly. Often, search engines do not give much emphasis on directory submissions alone and some directory submissions within certain directories can be ignored almost completely by the big three – Google, MSN, and Yahoo.
3) Site Wide Links or Run of Site (ROS) – These links were used by many webmasters and companies a year or two ago and are still used today. The effectiveness of these links are less weighted because search engines now understand that, let’s say, link to site “widgetmaker.com” appears on every page on the right-hand side in the navigation area, thus saturating its effectiveness. Many of these types of links can be beneficial for direct traffic if placed well, but will often only be counted once or twice rather than dozens or hundreds of times no matter how many times they occur on a web site.
For a successful link marketing campaign, the more natural looking means better results in the search engines. Understanding the differences between the different types listed above can be a real advantage since almost every site that ranks well, and ranks well for long-term, includes a mixture of all of the above mentioned linking methods.
This means directory submissions using varying anchor text to different pages of your web site, links within the context of other related pages, like articles or blog entries, and using a variety of anchor text to give more weight for particular pages in the search engines.
We find that the most successful link building campaigns include targeting main keywords first, for example, “Internet marketing” first then more concise keyword related to that term like North Carolina Internet marketing.” This is more like a funnel effect, giving weight to lesser searched terms related to the main phrase targeted.