Today we start a 5-part series on methods to increase your Google quality ranking through Search Engine Optimization. This 5-part series will go over the basics of SEO: building relevant content, ensuring keyword quality, including sufficient text, organizing your website properly, and building a portfolio of links back to your website.
The first topic we’re going to discuss is perhaps the most discussed of all, links. The importance of runs way back to the days when Google first started. One of the most revolutionary things about Google’s search algorithm was the fact that it looked at more than just the content on the page when it scored the ratings; it looked at links back to the site and the quality of those links. Over time, this has become an important metric when considering how to increase your search engine rating for a certain keyword string.
To begin with, the more links to your website, the better. Google, Bing, and all the others consider each link back to your site as a “referral” that someone considers your work good enough to put a link on their site for you. Each of these links increases how quality the search engines consider your site to be, so the more the better.
However, there is a caveat to this system. Search engines also look at the “quality” or “anchor text” in the links that are linking back to you. So, when Google sees that a site about beer is linking back to your driving school website, it’s not going to consider that a useful link. This brings us to the topic of “white hat” vs. black hat”.
White hat SEO involves building a quality portfolio of links from quality websites using legitimate methods such as guest blogging, social media, etc. Black hat is the method of building hollow “shell” sites and being paid (or paying someone else) to dump thousands of links to your website. This has been done to such a large quantity that Google has gotten very effective at finding and penalizing this behavior. So much so in fact, that they even recently penalized national shopping chain J.C. Penney for engaging in this behavior just before the shopping season by permanently knocking them several pages down in the rankings.
So, if you want a solid portfolio of links back to your site it’s obviously best to build a portfolio of links back to your site. Keep in mind that as this item gets more and more consistently exploited, it will continue to be less important in the ranking and will only be useful in conjunction with the other SEO topics, which we will discuss over the next four days.