Link building is still iiiimportant in this post Google Panda & Penguin Updates day and age. But this time around link quality is more important than ever.
Why Are Links Important?
Links are important for a number of reasons. In terms of SEO, the more other sites link to your site (inbound linking), the more important your site would seem to be in the eyes of search engines.
Look at it this way, if your site has good content (great information, good customer service, wonderful user experience, quality products, competitive prices, etc), it would be natural for people to want to link to your site as well as share it with others. However, this natural process of link building can take time (unless an image or video that links back to your site has gone viral, like that video of the guy singing his wedding speech).
For merchants who have just joined the ecommerce fraternity, you might be thinking that it would be much easier and faster to click on of those banner ads promising thousands of links for $9.95 built for you in just a week. Don’t do it. Google does not like it when you play dirty and your site might just get penalized.
(Inbound) links are also important because they lead people to your site. If people see a photo of a dress from your store on Facebook, Pinterest, forums or blogs, they might click the image (link) or text link to get to your site.
If they see an instructional video on YouTube on how to properly wax a car using a product from your store, again, they might click the link that would lead them to the product page on your site. You get where I’m going with this?
Outbound links are also important. Outbound links are links which lead out to another site from yours. Now why would you want to lead traffic out of you site? Actually, you don’t. However, if you do have information pages on your site, it’s a healthy practice to have a couple of links leading to relevant pages on other sites.
For example, if you are selling exercise equipment, it would be natural to have an information page on your site about weight loss strategies. It would be also be natural, and beneficial to your visitors, if you included an outbound link to a Mayo clinic page on healthy diets. By doing this, your site gains points on being a resource site.
Automatic link exchanges, reciprocal links, link directories – and the like – used to be all the rage many years back. Nowadays, you have to be really careful who you link to. Do not just simply link to a site which has linked to yours. You could be asking for trouble if the other site has got a bad reputation.
Make an effort to build or get links from sites which content is relevant to what is on your site. It just makes more sense that way, to people as well as to search engines.
For instance, if I see an informative blog post (a product review, perhaps) from a guest blogger on a site about running, and at the end of that post the blogger makes a recommendation about running shoes and includes a link to the product page for that particular shoe model, I would likely follow that link.
However, it does not make any sense to link to a site selling running shoes from a site talking about home furnishing. You might get a link count but you won’t get any traffic from it.
In the old days, people used to target a few keywords and religiously use the same link text in all the inbound links to their sites. It didn’t matter much when each keyword had 20 or 30 links. However, the over optimization siren went off when that figure went into the hundreds, and in some cases, thousands.
So, when it comes to link text, use variations of your keywords. You could also try the indirect approach. For example, if you sell running shoes, it would make sense to target the exact model name as a keyword. However, when you do that, you will find your store up against other stores on search engine results pages.
Instead, if you’re selling a model of a light weight racing shoe model, try targeting the ‘need’ or a solution to a problem. Confused?
Here’s what I mean:
– what/which running shoes to wear/use for races/5k/10k/21k/marathon/trail races
– …running shoes for tempo runs
– …racing shoes for flat feet
– …racing shoes for heavy runners
Here’s another example. Instead of targeting a particular car polish type, you could target:
– how do I make car shiny
– how do I remove light scratches from my car
– how do I give my car a showroom glow
If you do a search for such keywords, you’ll find blogs and forums populating SERPs, not stores. So, while you still need to target the exact model name, you could broaden your keyword range/variation to address different search mentalities.
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