Thursday, August 23, 2012

How to Increase Website Traffic and Why Links Matter

Editor's Note: I'd like to welcome my friend, author and business expert Stephanie Chandler who is a guest blogger today. Earlier this year, I wrote about her excellent Own Your Niche. Today you will read an excerpt from the book. If you hurry and click this link, you can get a FREE Ebook copy of Stephanie's book. It's a limited offer so do it today.

Links within your website and pointing to your website from other sites can have an important impact on your overall optimization with the search engines.

Inbound Links

One of the criteria that the search engines use to rank website pages is the number of inbound links pointing to your website from other websites. More importantly, they look at how many links from high-traffic websites are pointing to your pages. If a popular website features a link to your site, it shows the search engines that your site is relevant.

Other important incoming links are from industry-related sites. When another site in a related industry features a link to your site, it helps Google see your site’s relevance. For example, a website that covers news about the spa industry would be an ideal link to have pointing to a salon and spa site.

Government sites (with a .gov extension) and education sites (with a .edu extension) also have high priority with the search engines. If you’re able to get incoming links from any of these sites, it can help your ranking.

The key to success here is to make sure your link is listed in as many places as possible.

Where to Promote Your Website Link:
  • Update the free online profiles provided by any trade organizations that you belong to by including your website link.
  • Ask colleagues and business partners to swap links with you. They can publish your link on a “Recommended Resources” or similar page on their site, and you can do the same in return.
  • Publish articles and include your bio and website link. The more articles you push out across the internet, the more links you will have pointing back to your site. The same is true for guest blog posts.
  • Engage in social media sites, including Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
  • Take advantage of every opportunity you can find to post your link online!
  • Some services offer to add lots of inbound links to your site—beware! Adding dozens of links at once can be viewed by the search engines as spam, and many of these services are scams in their own right.
  • It takes time to get your link out there, so always be on the lookout for opportunities to add links.
Anchored Links

An anchored link is a link to a web page that is embedded in text. For example, when “Click here for more information” is an active hyperlink to a web page, it is an anchored link.
Anchored links are a boon for SEO because they tell the search engines what content is found on the linked page. 

Because of this, links should incorporate keywords instead of the generic “Click here” example.

For example, a high-traffic site with a link embedded in the text to “Visit Happy Times Day Spa in Toledo, Ohio” would be an ideal anchored link.

The hardest part of this strategy is getting others to link back to your site in the first place, and then to do so with an anchored link. But because anchored links are so valuable, it’s worth your time to ask your link partners to do this whenever possible.

You can also weave anchored links throughout your own site to the different pages within your site. For example, from your primary services page, you could include a link that says, “Find out more about massage therapy services.” You can also incorporate anchored links on your home page in addition to your site navigation links.

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