One of the cornerstones of Search Engine Optimisation is building links from other sites to your own – it builds authority. However, all links are not equal and you will probably need to balance a larger numbers of low quality links against lower volumes of high quality links. To describe what constitutes a high quality link would take several pages, but a rule of thumb is that the harder the link is to create, the better the quality it is. So, a link to your website from a free directory site is worth a tiny amount compared to a link from, say, a specific article about you from www.bbc.co.uk.
High quality link text for better SEO
One of the factors is the text that is used in the link itself on the other site: it is the words that form the link. Some examples linking from this blog to our website:
The first link is typical of what you get on a free directory website. The link text contains your web url, and so it will mostly help you rank for people searching for the term www.websanity.co.uk: not particularly useful if you are trying to improve your SEO.
The second style is written by many people: the link text is generic and so it will add a little to your general website authority, but not on any specific keywords.
The last entry is by far the best optimised and is actually two links: the first is keyword rich and links to an internal page within our website specifically about Search Engine Optimisation, and the second is just a ‘bonus’ link to the home page.
To confirm the power of link text, search in Google for ‘Click here‘. The top search result will be the download page for Adobe Reader. And yet, there is no mention of the phrase of ‘Click here’ on that page; so how can that be showing up after all we talk about the importance of relevancy in SEO? The reason it shows up is that thousands upon thousands of people have links similar to the following on their web pages:
This document requires Adobe Reader. To download it click here.
Here the authority built up by so many external links on a set of keywords far outweighs the relevance of those keywords to that page.
So, when you’re building links, always try to use keyword rich link text (and here’s another tip: this also applies to some extent to internal links within your website).