Inbound

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  • Reciprocal Linking Best Practices

    Although the blanket statement of “get as many links as possible” applies in general, here are some tips and best practices for prioritizing your link exchange efforts:

    • Only exchange links with sites that are relevant to, or are in a complementary market to, as your own business.
    • Focus first on getting links from pages with a high PageRank (PR). Links from low PR pages won’t influence your ranking negatively, but you probably won’t be getting an appreciable PR boost unless you have a large number of them.
    • Don’t discount the power of low PR pages directing traffic to your site. Today’s PR = 3 page could be tomorrow’s PR = 6 page.
    • Your best links will be from sites that have a large number of incoming links themselves and that also have a relatively small number of outgoing links (such sites are called authorities). Make sure these sites are relevant to your theme or keywords.
    • Try to get your link on a page that is as close to their home page as possible. A link has less PR if it is buried several levels deep. For example a link on http://www.acme-house-plans.com/resources.htm is better than a link on http://www.acme-house-plans.com/Links/SectionA/CategoryB/links2.htm.

    Changing Old Link Anchor Text

    If you have a site that is several years old, chances are you have links on sites you aren’t aware of, or that use less-than-optimal link text.

    In this case, contact those site owners to see if they will change the anchor text of the link to include your most important keywords where applicable.

    Not everything will respond to you, let alone change the link text, and a few may decide to remove your link altogether. But it is still a worthwhile effort.




    Using an .Htacess File for 301 Redirect

    A common problem is having links that point to the www version as well as an non-www version of your home page. An example is http://www.YourDomain.com vs. http://YourDomain.com. A simple fix for this is to create an .htaccess file that contains the following lines of code:

    RewriteEngine On

    RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www\.YourDomain\.com

    RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.YourDomain.com/$1

    [L,R=301]

    Simply place this file in the root (usually www) folder of your server. This will redirect any non-www links to the www version of your site to keep PageRank going to a single version of your home page.

    About Non-Reciprocating Links

    It is common to have outgoing links that are for the benefit of your customers and that you don’t expect reciprocal links back to your site for.

    A good example are links that go to book pages on Amazon.com. Clearly such links can benefit your visitors, but Amazon.com is not going to reciprocate by placing links on their site back to your site either.

    There are two methods you can use to prevent “leakage” of PageRank from non-reciprocating links on your site.  Don’t go overboard with this. It is only an issue if you have LOTS of outbound, non-reciprocating links. You are leaking PR only from the page that contains outbound links. So the leakage is quite minimal.

    Using the NOFOLLOW Link Attribute

    Simply use the “NOFOLLOW” attribute in any link you don’t want Google to follow (and hence transfer PageRank from). The syntax is as follows:

    <a href=”http://www.OtherWebsite.com” rel=”NOFOLLOW”>

    This attribute is also used by Google to combat blog spam, where people spend all day on blogs posting links back to their site in order to boost PageRank.

    Using JavaScript Code

    Most links use a standard HREF format, which Google has no problem understanding. However, if you use JavaScript code to create your links, Google may not be able to recognize this as a link.

    Bear in mind that Google can recognize some JavaScript-coded links, depending on how the link is coded. For information on how to construct a JavaScript-coded link, look anywhere on the Web for samples. The best way is to use a separate JavaScript (.js) file to store the URLs.

    Please do not consider such tactics for reciprocal links, as it is deceitful to other site owners as they do not get the value of your link counted by Google. However, these methods are used by unscrupulous linking partners to prevent links from transferring PageRank. So be on the lookout for this when getting links.

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