Backlinking has taken a few different turns since I first started working on websites in 1997. The original term was called a “web ring” and it was before the super power search engines came into the online realm as the Dewey Decimal of the Internet. The original web rings were a community-oriented, good will exchange. Website owners would add links for most anyone who asked to help their friends, family and colleagues gain visibility on the Web. Often times, links were placed on a page on the site simply called “links”. Fast forward to today. Search engines are the best way to be found and web rings have been slightly altered by search engine optimization (SEO) techniques. The links that you’ll see on websites today are typically part of a strategic SEO plan. Here are a few insider tips on how to make your link exchanges more strategic to ultimately help your site gain more relevancy in the search engines for specific keyword terms.
- Make sure that the site that is linking back to your site is similar to the topic. For example, if you’re promoting pickles you don’t want to exchange links with a hair salon. For my site, I want to exchange links with web designers, web developers, graphic designers, marketing specialists, and web hosting companies. Make a list of industries that are related to your business. Keyword search those industries and make a list of websites that you can ask to host a link back to your site.
- Include a key phrase in the text that is being hyper linked back to your page. The old fashioned way was to say “click here” or to hyperlink the company name or the web address. However, if you hyperlink a key phrase then the search engines see that phrase as being more relevant to your website. For example, if I wanted someone to link back to my site, I would have the link specifically state “Bend Oregon Web Developer” instead of “our services” or “Click Here”. Make a list of keywords that you would use to find your own site.
- The key phrase that is used in the link on the helping site should also be included on the page that is being linked to. So, when my business partner gives me a link on their page that says “Bend Oregon Web Developer”, then the link should open a page on my site that includes that exact phrase somewhere on the site. This helps the search engines put the pieces together like a big jigsaw puzzle so they can see who is most relevant to a keyword search. Send out requests to the websites that are related to yours with specific instructions on linking back to your site.