Get Your Site Noticed with a Solid Link Strategy
- Once your new Web site is launched, you can submit it to Web directories and noncompetitive, industry-related Web sites. Once a Web site has some high-quality link development, the commercial search engines should easily discover your site through the natural crawling of the Web. However, submission is not the end of the optimization, design, and marketing processes. Individual Web page effectiveness must be monitored as well.
Understanding Link Development
Objective, third party link development is a key component to effective, long-term search engine optimization. Link development is one of the most overlooked components of a successful optimization campaign. Web site owners can write keyword-focused content and provide search engines with easy access to that content. But without well-planned and carefully implemented link development, search engine visibility is often short lived.
Link popularity vs. click-through popularity
To review, link popularity is the number and quality of objective, third party links pointing to a URL. The quality of a link carries far more weight than the quantity of links. Personally, I have seen many Web sites receive long-term, qualified search engine traffic with less than 50 links pointing to a site's home page. And I have seen sites with over 1000 low-quality links receive little or no qualified search engine traffic. Therefore, quality is certainly more important than quantity.
Click-through (or click-thru) popularity is the measurement of the number of clicks that a Web page receives from a search engine results page (SERP), and how long the searcher stayed on the Web site after clicking on the link from the SERP. If a searcher clicks on a SERP link and continues to browse the Web site, then it might be assumed that the searcher found the information he desired and did not need to return to the SERP to view other Web pages. However, if a searcher clicks on a SERP link and quickly returns to the SERP, then it might be assumed that the searcher did not find the information he desired on the Web page and/or site.
Unfortunately, some Web developers and programmers have created clickbots to deceive the search engines into calculating more clicks to a Web site, making it seem as if a Web page receives more qualified clicks from human beings. In other words, the clicks do not come from actual searchers; they come from cleverly designed software. Due to the rise in click fraud in both organic search results and search engine advertising, click-through popularity is a less important or a nonexistent factor in determining a Web page's relevancy. Search engines do measure click-through popularity; however, it has little or no value for determining positions in the main search results.
Thus, when search engine optimizers refer to link popularity, they are referring to the number and quality of links pointing to a URL, not click-through popularity.
Link development, or the popularity component, is off-the-page criteria because Web site owners do not ultimately control how other people link to their sites' content. Web site owners can influence how other people link to their sites' content by using keyword-focused titles, headings, meta-tag descriptions, and page abstracts. In the end, though, other people will determine how they prefer to link to a site's content.
True long-term link development is difficult to imitate. Copywriting, information architecture, and site design can be easily imitated. All too often, the imitation constitutes a violation of copyright. Even so, it has not stopped a large number of search engine optimizers from stealing another site's content and site design. Cloaking, a form of search engine spam, often hides copyright infringement. Unique link development is equally important as keyword-focused text and an intuitive information architecture for obtaining long-term search engine visibility.
What I like about the entire link development concept is that Web sites will not be able to maintain search engine visibility unless they contain unique content and are easy to use. If two sites contain similar unique content, the one that is easier to use is more likely to receive more objective, third party links.