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Choose External Web Links That Will Increase Your Search Engine Ranking

If you want obtain links to your Web site that will increase your search engine ranking, you can go about it in several ways. First, you need to think about what kind of sites you want to link to you. Brainstorm about places that might link to you, and vice versa. Think about your competition and who’s linking to them and especially why. Take note of whether your competition uses paid advertising (such as banner ads) or hosts banner ads on their own site in exchange for another site hosting there.

The quality and reputation of the site that links to you is crucial. Though Google states that there is almost nothing another site can do to harm yours, almost nothing is not the same as absolutely nothing. Links from unethical sites, such as sites involved in spam or unethical search engine results page (SERP) manipulation, can seriously damage your reputation and rankings if they show up in large quantities, and you could even wind up pulled from the index (the database of Web sites that search engines maintain for all queries). Never solicit links from any site that you suspect may be engaged in spam or unethical practices.

Try to pursue links from sites that are strongly related to the industry or overall themes of your Web site. But while you’re doing that, bear in mind that a link from a newer site can have just as much value (or more) if the site has a lot of link popularity or authority within the search engines. Also consider that a newer site could potentially drive much more traffic than an older site with stale content, an old design, and little or no maintenance. It’s a matter of trial and error.

Try to obtain links from sites with varying PageRank values. (Note: the Google Toolbar PageRank (PR) scale ranks pages from 0 to 10, with the Google site being a 10.) A natural distribution of links to any given page includes a majority of links from PR3 or lower pages. Generally, there should be fewer links from PR4 pages, even fewer from PR5, and so on. With that said, do not avoid getting a link from a higher PR page if you are obtaining it in an ethical way.

Make sure linking sites are not part of a link farm (sites that exist only as thousands of links for the sole purpose of fooling the search engines) or another search engine spam network.

Ads or other bartered links should only be obtained from relevant sites. Linking to a spam network puts you in danger of getting pulled from the search engine index, so be very careful and review all sites accordingly.

Use social media sites (social networking sites like Facebook, communication sites like Twitter, social news sites like Digg, social bookmarking sites like Delicious, and so on) to generate interest in your site. The goal is to get others to see the post and then post about the article elsewhere. However, be aware that links from non-related blog pages, social media sites, wikis, or forums only help your link popularity in a limited fashion.

In some cases, an inbound link from a high quality education (.edu, but not student accounts) site should be considered. Inbound links from an .edu site can hold increased value when the link is relevant (for example, the .edu links to your page discussing research in which that educational institution is involved). These links can also pass link equity even if those pages are not relevant to the pages they're linking to simply by virtue of their own authority.

Sites with a top-level country domain (for example, .co.uk for the United Kingdom, .co.nz for New Zealand, and so on) should try to obtain links from other sites that have the same top-level domain (TLD) designation and are hosted in the country associated with that top-level domain. Links from other top level domains are fine as well, but you absolutely need links from other sites in the same TLD as your domain. The more links that you can obtain from sites hosted in that country, the more likely it is that your site ranks well in search engines specific to your country.

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