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Linking for better SEO rankings

Soup up your SEO with Hot Rod Linking (Part 1 of 2)

Looking to soup up your site?  What you need is Hot Rod Linking.

Linking is becoming more and more vital for making a website visible and credible to both search engines and human readers. In fact, if you could only do one thing to optimize your website for search, it should be souping up your links.

In this first part of “Hot Rod Linking,” we’ll talk about why linking is a critical part of your SEO efforts, and we’ll also give you some basic linking strategies to start with. And in the spirit of linking, we’ll give you some links to some of the most popular linking resources on the Web.

Why is linking so important in SEO?

Linking has become more significant for search engines because website design and SEO were being designed to “trick” search engines, even at the expense of usability. In addition, linking is a time-intensive and labor-intensive exercise for both quantity and quality linking.

Linking is what gives a website credibility in the eyes of not only users, but also the search engines for the same reason that citations and references are in term papers. More and better links mean that your site is more relevant and popular to searchers. For ranking, linking is as important as, if not more important than, the actual content of a site.

For example, if you search Google for the keyword phrase “children’s books”, you’ll get Random House ranked on page 1 position 3. The keyword “children’s books” isn’t even in the content and the landing page doesn’t have that keyword in important places such as the page title, description meta tag or keyword meta tag. What the Random House website does have is 1,130 inbound links from quality sources such as public libraries, literacy foundations, and special interest groups such as the Association of Booksellers for Children.

Basic linking strategies to hook users

To “hook” users and linking partners, here are some basic linking strategies:

  • Content Development: As we mentioned elsewhere, users search to find answers to questions and solutions to problems. Some of the most popular web content includes “Top 10’s,” “Do’s and Don’ts” lists, “How Tos,” tests/quizzes, and FAQs. These items are popular because they offer answers and solutions.
  • Link Bait: Humor, debate, news, incentives, ego, and contrarian positions “hook” users. When it comes to this strategy, a catchy headline, like “The Secret of…” or “What They Don’t Want You to Know About…” can be a big draw.
  • Widgets and Tools: Specific widgets and tools that are relevant to your site, such as mortgage calculators for banks or body mass index calculators for weight loss sites are often used to attract users. 
  • Social Media: Social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Digg, are becoming more popular by the minute. Adding applications for these social media sites gives you access to the power of this emerging online space. 

More things to consider

  1.  Search engines want to see consistent growth in links over time as opposed to “one hit wonder” links.
  2. Link to authoritative sources, such as leading professional organizations, government agencies, colleges and universities, and major media. Linking to anything and everything just to have a lot of links, not only won’t help, it may even hurt your rankings.

Top online resources about linking:

Here are some tried and true linking resources out there to help you get started on linking:

Stay tuned for Part 2, when we share some advanced linking strategies.

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