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Strategy of Links
By Webster J Frogg
7/16/2008 12:58:00 PM

I have continually stressed the importance of links in regards to optimizing your storefront to ensure that your site is ranked high in search engines, Alexa and Google Page Rank. While there are three types of links: inbound, outbound and reciprocal, it is important to understand to which sites to link your URL. In the world of the Internet, linking sites is a form of association. You are saying “think of me when you are on this site, we are friends, etc.” Therefore, a rule of thumb and suggestions to link by:

1.    Content must be related!
As I stated before, links are considered association not only to customers, but search engines as well. Before adding an outbound link, make sure supporting context exists. With inbound links, you don’t want to risk putting your website in a negative light. Check the Page Rank of the sites you are associated with—yes, it is a popularity contest…but hopefully without all of the drama! This is especially useful when determining whether or not to pay to be listed in a directory. Even if the site is popular, content still must be related! Have a purpose for the link or you will be penalized when the spiders crawl.

2.    AllinURL
Searching for sites that use the same keywords you do is a great way to find new sites to which to link your site. You don’t want to link to competitors, but you should respond to blogs and forums. This will help expand industry discussion and you can sneak in your URL for contact information or as a hyperlink. For instance, if you are responding to a blog to which you disagree, include a hyperlink to the page on your site which helps prove your point. This is also a great chance to add more links to deeper pages on your site. (Yes, I do encourage comments to my blogs…I get lonely!)

3.    Blogs
We all love blogs, or we wouldn’t be here…and they are a great way to encourage customer-generated content and outbound links. For instance, I have written many blogs in response to an article. Adding the link to the article helps both sites because search engines perceive this as credibility, social interaction and related content. Truly, I do it for the sole purpose of educating my readers and avoiding plagiarism…

Blog rolls are another great way to expand your blog. Add an RSS feed of another blog on a topic that your readers might find interesting. Again, this increases credibility, association and outbound links. Additionally, with greater information on your site, you are likely to gain repeat visitors.

4.    Quality, not Quantity! 
To sum it all up, it is important to remember that when you create links on a daily basis it is QUALITY not quantity! This includes the factor on content, page ranking and credibility. The Internet is a great place to create loyal customers and gain brand awareness, but you are constantly molding your brand image. Be sure this is done with careful consideration… not everyone’s brand can be strengthened through the help of a tree frog. 

Now, go link crazy!


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Tags: e-commerce solution, link, search ranking, page rank, alexa, hyperlink, outbound, inbound, reciprocal, site optimization, SEO
Categories: SEO, RSS, User Generated Content, Commerce Insights Blog
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