By now, most webmasters know
that link popularity is the single most important factor in driving
top search engine rankings. But did you know that some some links
can actually kill your search engine rankings?
The importance of links has
led to the creation of "links programs" such as LinksToYou and others.
If you're already in a links program, hold on to your hat, because
I've got bad news for you.
How Links Programs Work:
In a links program, every member of the program uploads a page or
pages to their website. These pages carry links to the other program
Why They Don't Help Search
All of the major search engines are aware of these programs, and most
of them use automated processes to weed out "identical" pages. Even
if a search engine recognizes the link, they won't give it much weight.
How Links Programs Can
Kill Your Business:
The most popular search engine in the world today is Google. In late
2000, Google began a systematic campaign of permanently removing links
program participants from their index. Altavista has begun a similar
program, although recent problems kept them from executing it.
Don't the operators of
links programs know all this?
Of course they do, yet they continue to operate and proliferate. Tobacco
companies know cigarettes kill people, yet they continue to sell them.
What To Do If You're In
A Links Program:
First, immediately remove all of the program's pages from your site.
Second, remove all the links they had you set up on your other pages.
Third, if possible, cancel your membership... then get to work creating
some legitimate link popularity.
Creating True Link Popularity
If you want your site to have
lasting popularity and relevance with the search engines, you need
links from related sites. Dedicate 10 minutes a day to locating and
contacting other webmasters to swap links, adding your site to directories,
and publishing articles in your area of expertise.
Create Multiple Layers
For some search engines, links to your home page are good enough.
At least some of your links, though, should be targeted at your internal
pages. For example, if your site sells tools for gardeners, get some
links set up to your "how to" and FAQ pages too. This will help you
get more of your site's content into the search engine, and increase
Get Those Links Indexed!
It doesn't do you any good to set up links if the search engines never
find them. You can submit the pages that link to you, but most search
engines nowadays won't index them unless there are other links to
those pages somewhere on the web. Consider adding a "resources" page
to your site, linked from your home page, with links to all the individual
pages that link to you.
My Secret Recipe: How To
Make Sure Your Links Get Indexed
In order to ensure that the links pointing to your site get indexed,
you really have to take an additional step, and set up a second domain
and website - ideally with a completely different hosting provider.
For instance, the gardening website in the above example might need
a partner site like "gardening-resources.com" with a single page linked
to every webpage that links to your site.
Once you've set up the secondary
domain, add a link to it from your main site's home page, and wait
for the search engines to index it. Don't forget to link back to your
main site, of course. You should submit this additional site to the
same directories that you use to list your primary site.
It also helps to ask for an
additional link to your secondary domain when you set up links swaps.
Just explain how the secondary site helps both partners, by adding
link popularity and helping the links pages get indexed. Any sensible
webmaster will gladly add the second link.
What Happens Next?
As the link popularity of both of your sites grows, they begin to
feed on each other. Don't neglect to track any search engine referrals
to your secondary site - if they grow to a high level, you may want
to turn it into more than just a links page. If you've done a good
job of optimizing your primary site, though, chances are your secondary
site will never outrank your primary site on any search.
If you take these initial
steps today, and commit to a program of link building for ten minutes
a day, your site's traffic will begin to rise dramatically within
just 2-3 months, and it should only get better if you stick with the
I wish you success...
- Dan Thies
Website Promotion Central