Google looks at the number of links to a document (back links) and the growth or disappearance of
these links over time. A downward trend in the number of links to a document, decline in the rate of
link growth or disappearance of links may indicate that a document is getting stale whilst an upward
trend in links and rate of link growth may indicate that a document is fresh. In addition, detailed
graphs of link growth over time can be used to show particular patterns for fresh documents, stale
documents, those that may no longer be updated or that have been superseded.
Also, a weight may be given to every link based on the freshness of the overall document in which it is contained. Links from authoritative sources, like
Government pages are weighted higher.
- The dates that links appear can be used to detect if links are SPAM. A ‘legitimate’ document attracts back links slowly whilst a sudden growth in links particularly from documents without editorial discretion, like guest books, referrer logs, ‘free for all’ pages could indicate SPAM.
- Using a link generating program in the beginning could be beneficial. Services such as Link-Submission.com are worth examining. This to great way to get your incoming link ball rolling. Then once your site gains popularity you’ll see a lot more natural links coming your way.
- Make sure that you have a link building program in place that lets you grow your links organically by for example:
- 1. Asking suppliers, customers and partners to link to you.
- 2. Submitting to online discussion forums.
- 3. Creating a blog.
- 4. Submitting to shopping portals and industry sites.
- 5. Offering something great like a free gift or service so other sites value linking to you.
- 6. Creating your own affiliate program where all the links are direct to you.
Remember, you can always analyze your competitors to see who links to them. You can then contact these sites to see if you can get the same links to you, too. Normally, you just type into a search engine ‘link:Site URL’ to get a list of the links, where Site URL is your competitor’s full URL (e.g. www.competitiorwebsite.com).
So, developing a link structure that works for both visitors and search engines is a skill.
Internal Linking Strategy
Navigation is of utmost importance to the “crawlability” of your site. Search engine spiders need to be able to crawl your site as easily as your visitors find their way around. Sometimes, what will work for your visitors, will not work for search engine spiders. The best advice we can give in this area is to keep your link structure as simple as possible. Simplicity may involve giving up certain ideas that you might have for the design of your site.
Flash, frames, CGI, or any dynamic pages (pages that bring in content on the fly) are some types of programming that may hinder the crawlability of your site. Although, workarounds can be made.
However, if you’re a beginner, we recommend sticking to simpler programming methods for the navigation of your site. Plain old HTML text and image links are the best method.
If you do plan on keeping your navigation fairly simple, here are some strategies that can help:
Your web copy needs to lead your visitors to the sale
It needs to pull them down the page, forcing them to scroll, because they want to read what comes next. And at the bottom, it must make them want to click to the next page or order.
Before you begin to think about your link structure, determine the goal of your site. In other words, what are you trying to achieve with your site? What information will you need in order to achieve these goals?
Organize the information. The link structure will emerge as you write your web copy. Develop individual pages that provide clear information.
Standard pages might include:
- Home – a welcome page explaining what people can find at your site, might show some featured products.
- Products and/or Services – these pages might be the entrance to your product catalog and may contain a categorized list of your offerings.
- Guarantee – your policy for guaranteeing your customer’s satisfaction.
- Testimonials – good things other people are saying about your products or your company.
- FAQs – if you have a lot of interactivity on your site, you might need some FAQ pages (Frequently Asked Questions.)
- About Us – how your company was started, interesting facts about your company, possibly your mission statement, a little about different people in your company.
- Contact Us – how people can get in touch with your company. Give them many options including email, phone, postal address, and fax.
- Resources – links to other web sites and interesting articles that relate to your industry. This section is extremely important to building the content that will allow you to continue expanding your search engine promotion.
- Order Now – ordering system. Give people as many options as possible for payment including credit cards, check, cash or money order. Give them options for processing the order including online credit card and check processing, phone and fax ordering.
Link Structure Must Be Carefully Planned
First determine your Main Navigational Links. Using a template will help you ensure that you have your main navigational links on every page. These links will generally be graphical links made out of images, not text links. They should either go across the top of the page or down the left hand side.
We recommend a maximum of 10 main navigational links. A few more won’t hurt, but try to realize your visitors need to find what they need and find it quickly.
After your main links, you may need to break your site down into sub categories or Sub Navigational Links. Your site may be divided into several sections; each of these sections would be accessible by a main link. From the main link, the section would break down into its own set of navigational links. For instance, the “About Us” section may be composed of several sub pages including “Mission Statement,” “President,” “History,” etc. This second-level list of pages is called sub navigation.
Generally, if your Main navigation goes across the top of the page, then your Sub navigation would go down the left of the page. If your Main navigation goes down the left, then your Sub navigation would go across the top.
Your second-level directories may lead to third-level and even fourth-level directories, especially if you have a product catalog that you need to organize by categories. The main point to remember is that if your visitors can easily find what they are looking for, chances are that search engine spiders can also find their way to all your pages. When trying to achieve organic listings, you must try to get most of your pages spidered and put into the search engine database. This is why navigation is so very important.
You will need to create an easy to follow site map which displays the internal linking structure of your site. This will in turn need to be posted on your site as a separate page. You’ll need to submit this to Google as well. To get a site map and to submit it checkout Google Webmaster Central.
Linkage of Independent Peers
It’s very important to remember to try and only have relevant sites link to you. A sudden increase in the number of sites that link to you or links from unrelated sites (independent peers) would indicate SPAM, particularly, if the anchor text of the links is very similar or unusually different in an attempt to fool the search engine.
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