How to Build a Website that Works!
How To Build a Website That:
Draws Traffic, Converts Visitors Into Buyers and Generates Ongoing
Part 6 - Increasing Free Targeted Traffic
In the previous lesson we looked at various ways that on-page
criteria affect your website's results with search engines. It
makes sense that search engines like Google would evaluate your
actual web pages in order to guage their relevance to search queries.
But there are many things completely off your website that influence
the ranking of your web pages as well.
Why do things not even on your website impact your relevance?
Google needs to know not only what your web page is about, it
also needs to know how the information you have compares to the
information available on other websites. Google wants to make
sure it is providing the best possible search results. This is
what made Google so popular in the first place. People know they
can rely on Google to find top quality information and separate
the chaff from the wheat.
Some off-page criterion may seem to be completely out of your
control. For example, when someone does a search in Google they
will be give a list of search results. The searcher will then
go down the list choosing which sites look like they might be
helpful based on the description that appears in Google's results
list. We all know that...
But Google also takes note of how long searchers spend
on a website before they come back to the search results
page and try another site. So if someone finds your website in
Google, visits your site, then leaves right away to try another
site, Google will think that your website didn't provide the answer
people were looking for. So the next time someone searches for
the same thing your website will be ranked even lower in the results.
That is one of the reasons why it is so important to provide
real quality content for your visitors and to try to tightly focus
the theme of your pages. So when someone finds your page through
Google they get the top quality information exactly related to
the topic they were searching for. If you do that you
will make your visitor happy and Google happy, which will result
in higher rank for your website.
The More Quality Links the Merrier
Another off-page criteria used by the search engines is the number
and quality of links to (in-bound) and from (out-bound)
Many people have heard of this and falsely believe that it is
simply a numbers game. Let's start with in-bound links. In-bound
links are links from other websites that link to your website.
Google kind of looks at these links as a vote for your site. If
your site wasn't good then those sites wouldn't link to you. But
the staff at Google aren't dummies.
Google looks at a number of factors. What is
the rank of the website that is linking to you? Is it a lousy
site with no ranking itself? Or is it a highly respected authority
site related to the theme of your site? It isn't one website,
one vote. The value of each in-bound link is relative. In fact
some in-bound links might even hurt you...
People who like to cheat are always trying to game Google.
When they found out about this in-bound linking criterion they
started getting links from any and every site they could find,
even sites that had nothing whatsoever to do with the theme of
their site. Some even started selling packages to guarantee webmasters
a bazillion links coming in to their sites (for a small fee).
But the staff at Google aren't dummies.
Avoid these "link farms" like the plague. Not only
will Google not be impressed with the huge number of lousy links
coming to your site, they will see that you are trying to manipulate
them and you will be punished. It's not nice to mess with Mother
Google! You risk having your site not only ranked lower but dropped
altogether. Do not sign up with link farms.
On the other hand what you do want to do is have as many top
notch websites that are directly related to your theme linking
to you. This again brings us back to having top notch content
on your site so that other webmasters will want to link to your
These are by far the best links to have. Links coming in to your
site from other sites that have higher a ranking, in your niche,
than your site does.
Quid Pro Quo
However, most of the time other webmasters will expect
a reciprocal link in exchange, fair is fair. It's nice
to have links coming in without having a link back in return as
this provides the best ranking boost but in reality you will find
that you will get those occasionally but if you really want to
build a good number of in-bound links you will have to do link
exchanges with other websites.
This does still provide a ranking boost to your site. Don't think
of it as each link canceling the other one out. Google knows about
link exchanges and it can even help Google to find other related
sites when it's bots spider your pages. But the staff at Google
Only accept link exchanges with sites that, first of all, are
relevant to the theme of your site. Secondly, only accept link
exchanges with sites that you truly believe provide value for
your visitors. By linking to that site you are effectively recommending
it so your reputation and credibility is on the line.
How to Find Relevant Link Exchange Partners
You could search for other sites and try contacting their webmasters
directly but that can be time consuming and it can be awkward
if they don't want to link to your site.
Instead I use a free service called Value
Exchange. With Value Exchange you sign-up and enter
some information like your domain name, site description, keywords
describing the theme of your site and your email address.
Value Exchange takes over from there. Your information is cross-referenced
with other sites in their database and you are given a list of
sites directly related to the keywords you entered.
You then go down the list and evaluate each site to see if you
would like to exchage links. If you like what you see you click
on the "Yes" to let Value Exchange know you want to
invite the other webmaster to have a link exchange. You go down
the list selecting "Yes" or "No" depending
on your evaluation.
Once you are done you don't have to waste time trying to contact
each webmaster yourself. Value Exchange automatically emails every
one you said "Yes" to and deletes the ones you chose
The other webmaster will then email you back and you work out
the details between you.
The other good thing about doing this is that everyone
in Value Exchange is interested in finding link partners.
Sometimes other webmasters will even come to you and you will
receive requests through Value Exchange.
The key to Value
Exchange is that it keeps you focused on finding other websites
that are directly related to the theme of your site.
Other Ways to Build Your Linking Campaign
Link exchanges are only one way to build your linking
campaign. There are also many directories that you can
submit your site to such as DMOZ
and Yahoo! Directory.
There are countless other smaller ones as well but make sure to
choose only quality directories (not link farms!). However, it
can be tough to get into the more popular ones and some even charge
Another good way to build in-bound links is to submit
articles to sites like EzineArticles.com.
There are many other sites like this but they all work basically
the same way. Your article is posted so that other webmasters
can use it on their websites and newsletters. What's the benefit
to you? Your article will include live links back to your site
which have to be included when they are used by someone else.
There are paid services such as ArticleMarketer.com
that will submit your articles to hundreds of outlets for you.
This is not a free service but once you get to a certain level
it can be an invaluable tool to take your website promotion to
the next level.
You can also post answers to questions on various boards
and forums. Many forums allow linking to your website.
Just be sure you provide a quality answer and the link to your
site is relevant. Don't spam forums or it could backfire.
Many blogs allow commenting. Again, provide
insightful comments and include your link where appropriate.
You can also create pages with links back to your site
from websites like Squidoo.com
Don't Forget to Add High Quality Out-Going Links Too
It's also good to have a few high value out-going links
even if that website doesn't link back to you in return. This
shows Google that you are interested in providing high quality
information and are interested in serving your visitors by linking
to other resources.
Choose out-going links to authority sites that are highly regarded
in your niche. Try to find non-commercial sites, sites to government
agencies, universities or organizations (sites with top level
domains ending in .gov, .edu or .org).
Building a link exchange program to boost your ranking with search
engines is designed to drive more free traffic to your website.
But if someone visits your site once, then leaves and is never
to be seen again it's been a wasted effort. Next time
we'll look at why you need to build an ongoing realtionship with
your site visitors and some of the ways to do that.
If you have a website I highly recommend that
you sign-up with Value
Exchange (its free) and start building your linking program
as soon as possible.
If you haven't already, make sure to subscribe to the
SBI-Classroom Bulletin. There is no charge right now
to join. Just enter your email address and first name in the subscription
form at the top right side of any page. Note:
I do not give out your email address to anyone!
Until next time...
How to Build a Website that Works!
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