Linking

Links are what connects websites together. They are the roads that connect the small neighborhoods to the cities and the cities to the rest of the online world. Links are important because they are one of the major factors that contribute to relevancy. Search engines put heavy emphasis on links and use them to rank websites on the levels of popularity, trust, spam and authority. In return, the websites that earn high ranks are what you see frequently in the search engine results page.

To get started, there are two types of links: inbound and outbound links. They are exactly how they sound, inbound links are links that are coming from an outside source that is not your website. Inbound links are also known as back links, which is mainly used for off site SEO. Outbound links are links that come from your website and link to other websites. Out of the two types of links, inbound links or back links are far more superior compare to outbound links when it comes to SEO. Back links are the type of links that search engines favor and use to determine the specific rank of a website.

Internal links were mentioned in the previous chapter about site structure. This is another aspect of linking that should be taken into consideration when developing a SEO friendly website. Internal links make up a large part of building a functional site structure.

Anchor Text

A determinant SEO factor when it comes to links is the anchor text. Anchor texts are the set of texts that a visitor can click on in a hyperlink; by default they are color blue. Search engines closely pay attention to anchor texts because they hold relevant information about the link. Studies indicate that not all anchor texts on a website count in page ranking. If there are two or more links pointing to the same website on a page, the search engine will only count one of them; which is usually the first one that the crawler encounters.

The Evolution Of Links

Links were significant from the beginning. At the time, SEO companies knew this and were building back links anywhere and anyway they can. Webspam was on the rise and contributed to 60% of the websites online. The issue was that links were an important part of the page ranking equation and search engines were unable to control and filter which websites were ranking high because of it. After a series of updates, search engines refined their algorithms.

Links were suddenly not all equal. This became a way to level the field. Links from websites that had higher domain and page authority or page rank held more weight compare to a regular website that was not as popular. It became another case of quality over quantity.

Recent changes to search engine algorithms put weight on links that come from social media websites and web 2.0 properties. These websites were intentionally made for user-generated content, making the content valid and relevant. Nowadays, search engines also check the surrounding text of the link to determine how relevant it is. All these underlying factors about links contribute to where a website is on the search engine results page.

Link Juice

Link juice is the defined as the value or benefit a link gives off to a website. As mentioned earlier, links are not anymore equal. According to the standards of search engines, websites that are well established, popular, has solid credibility and page rank, can provide more link juice compare to a mediocre website. However, not all high page ranking websites give off the same amount of link juice. Link juice coming from a high page ranking website with less outbound links are more favorable. This is because the more outbound links a high ranking website gives away, the less valuable the links are.

In order to maximize link juice, the link needs to be one-way and not reciprocated. Links must also be DoFollow, a hyperlink value that advises search engines to pass influence to an outbound link. This simply means that the high page ranking website has to be willing to pass on link juice to your website.

Conclusion

On page SEO linking methods are important because it mostly deals with the foundation of the website. For more information about back links, you may refer to the later chapter in part three that gives a more in-depth look at what they are and various strategies that incorporates them.

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