Very simply, links!
We have 4 major topics to cover that will save you time and effort (or wasted time and effort)!
- What kind of links do you want?
- Should I link exchange?
- What is a "do-follow" and a "do not follow" link?
- Can you have too many links?
This is basic logic folks. You want links on sites that relate to what you do. I lot of people make the mistake of thinking any link is a good link. Links on "no relevant" sites confuses search engines about what your site is really about. As a result you can gain page rank, but will not be able to achieve good rankings in the categories that drive customers to your door. So rule #1 is look for links from related content sites.
Should I link exchange?
You should NEVER join a link exchange site. If you have too many links from your site to other sites, it can actually hurt your rankings. Limit links out from your site to 10 or less.
That being said, there are a few sites that are worth exchanging links. These sites are any site that you think will not only help your rankings, but also send you business.
A good example is http://www.highschoolseniorphotographers.com. This site will give you a free listing and a do follow link for a reciprocal link. The reason this site is worth linking to is that it not only helps your ranking, but sends on average (at least to my wifes site) of 25 potential customers per month.
Just remember to limit these sites and not over do it. And don't waste your 10 outgoing links on sites that don't send you business and/or is a "Do Not Follow Link"
What is a do/do not follow link?
Links come in two kinds. You are looking for Do Follow Links, what refers to the code the link is written in. Do Follow follow tells the search engines to follow the link to your site which is what increases your page rank. A Do Not Follow link is a sneaky way for a site to make it appear it links to you, but in the code tell search engines it doesn't actually endorse your site. So it tells the search engine "Spiders" to Not follow the link to your site. Why do they do this? As I said before, too many links from your site can hurt page rank. Sites use do not follow links, so that the link doesn't count against them in page ranking.
To make is short and sweet, Do Not Follow links are almost completely worthless.
So how do you tell the difference? You can't with a normal internet browser (or a special program). But we have a secret weapon called "Firefox." Firefox is a free browser you can download. It works just link internet explore, but you can download "pluggin's" These pluggins allow us to see a link for what it really is. In my next post I will give you a step by step run down of firefox and what a great tool it is for us. In the mean time you can download it from http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/.
Finally, can you have too many links?
Absolutely not!!! But wait, you can get links too fast. This is called link spamming. If search engines think you gain links too quickly, they see it as a way of manipulating them and the don't like it! This can trigger a penalty in which you get removed from the search engine all together. So how do you avoid this? Be reasonable and patient! Spend an hour a weekend looking for links, the goal would be to get 5 QUALITY links per weekend.
Remember patients is the key! I know it's hard, but its the key to success!
(For those of you that can't wait until next weekend when I cover firefox...once you download it, search for the SEO Quake pluggin. Once installed, right click on the "SQ" icon at the bottom of the firefox browser. Then click "Line through No Follow". That should have you on your way!)