The right mix of referring links...
Important factors indexing robots use to develop website position rankings are the quantity, category/relevancy, and quality of links from other websites pointing back to your website. The greater the quantity, the more relevant the category, and the better search engine performance (quality) of the "referring" website - the stronger the index will be for your website.
Those sites seeking top website search results need to strongly consider these factors. Why???
The logic is simple.
Even if your prospective link partner satisfies one or more of the above factors - there are still certain criteria that govern whether their link pointing to you will have any "indexing" value. There are two direct benefits you are seeking from a reciprocal linking relationship.
- Quantity - if many other websites have links pointing to your site, then your site must be more important than another site that has fewer (external) links pointing to it.
- This isn't necessarily a valid assumption… because an aggressive site owner can spend many hours running up their "external link count" (also sometimes known as "Link Popularity") making reciprocal link arrangements with anyone who is willing. It is, nonetheless, one of the index strength factors used by Robots - and to offset the "spam" abuse, search Robots evaluate each external link on at least 2 other factors… category (relevancy) and quality (search performance).
- Category - also known as "relevancy", determines if the content of the referring site addresses topic matter that is related to the content of your site. For instance - if you are a Realtor and your site deals with buying and selling homes - a link from another site that provides mortgage loans or home interior design would be considered highly relevant. On the other hand - a link from a site that addresses the breeding habits of Galapagos turtles would NOT be considered relevant (in fact, it is almost "irrelevant" - but not quite)… and therefore would not be valued (assigned "ranking points") as highly as a link from the mortgage broker or loan originator's website.
- Quality - or a "high performing" site, is a site that scores well in search results when your target terms and phrases are used in the search. For instance, if your site is targeting the phrase "buy a home" and Realtor.com comes up high in search results (it does!) - then a link on Realtor.com pointing back to your site would have greater value than a link from another (relevant or irrelevant) site that comes up on page 15 or 20 (or even worse) of search results for that phrase. The managers of such high performance sites as Yahoo.com, Realtor.com and even TheInteriorDesigner.com understand their value because of this factor - and that is why they charge significant annual fees for linked inclusion.
In Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy, ClickThroughs from a referring site are nice, kind of like a 'bonus' - but they are not the objective. A Search Engine Marketing specialist regards them as random benefits of the real quest - to get our website positioned on page one of search results for our target terms and phrases. That is when the real ClickThrough volume begins.
- ClickThroughs - also called "CT s" - this is where a visitor to your link partner's site sees your link and clicks on it - thereby "clicking through" to your site. This presents an immediate sales opportunity.
- Referring Link Index Points - a constantly changing value that, in the aggregate, determines where in the search results your website comes up when a search engine user enters the terms or phrases targeted by you. We use the term "points" metaphorically because they help explain the concept of indexing strength. The actual heuristics involved are beyond the scope of this discussion.
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