With the Penguin and Panda updates scrutinizing links to your website many companies have began to wonder if links to their site still matter. Now that some time has passed since these two algorithm updates launched and subsequent updates to these algorithm changes we’ve taken a look at SEO rankings and how links factor into those rankings. Here is what we’ve found.
- Links still matter but it’s more complicated now. Gone are the days when you simply needed to add more links and your rankings would go up. Now a website needs to add more really great, high quality links for your rankings to go up. Add more low quality links and your rankings may go down.
- Some sites are better than others when it comes to link quality. We have long known that .gov and .edu sites are seen as highly valuable links, but now social sites and social mentions are also very valuable in increasing rankings.
- The anchor text of the link still matters. It’s more helpful to have a link that uses a keyword you are trying to rank for as a hyperlink over just a page filled with URL links. When you reach out to ask for links provide a recommended anchor text to help with SEO keyword rankings. Keep in mind you should individualize each anchor text to the site and URL you are driving them to.
What do I do now?
- Review your site links and your competitors (there are many free and paid tools that will tell you exactly where any site’s links come from) and it is worthwhile to pay for a tool that will give you not only the links but some sort of SEO ranking for the sites as well to help you determine if the site is a good quality site.
- Compare the links that your site has and your competitor’s sites to find quality sites they have links that your site could benefit from.
- Reach out to these sites asking for a link and include a recommendation of the following items. The easier you make it for them the more likely they will be to include your link.
- Which page on their site the link would fit
- Suggested anchor text
- The URL you’d like them to link to. The easier you make it for them the more likely they will be to include your link.
Google’s algorithm is always changing but even though we see changes in the weighting of which SEO factors are most important, the fundamental pieces of SEO tend to remain the same including the importance of links to and from your site to other sites on the web. Fundamental SEO strategies continue to win out at the end of the day and by sticking to the basics you can achieve great SEO results.
Learn proven techniques for SEO success—watch OMI’s class, “Advanced Search Engine Optimization“.