In the first part of this post, I discussed the importance of link relevancy and consistency to a link building campaign. In this part, I will discuss the type of sites that search engines tend to like the most, the importance of link anchor text and establishing natural linking patterns.
Hubs and Authorities
Hubs are sites that contain a large number of outbound links to relevant, high-quality sites. Authorities, on the other hand, are sites that contain a large number of inbound links from high-quality, relevant sites. These are the two types of sites that modern search engines consider to be the most important. You can position your site as one or the other, but it is best to try to become both.
If your site already has a large number of relevant outbound links, your strategy could involve building more inbound links – preferably from other hubs or authorities. A good place to start would be the sites that you are linking to. Whenever possible, try to have all of your outbound links reciprocated. On the other hand, if your site already has a large number of relevant inbound links, your strategy could involve building more outbound links. For example, creating a links/resources page on your site, containing links to an assortment of related sites that you feel your users would find valuable.
Remember, you don’t always have to point to another site’s homepage. Likewise, you shouldn’t have all of your inbound links pointing to your homepage. To strengthen the relevancy of your link profile, always direct your links (outbound and inbound) to the most specific page possible.
The importance of anchor text and natural linking patterns
Evaluating link anchor text (or link text) is a major component of how search engines determine link relevance, and will likely become even more significant in the future. Oftentimes, inbound links simply contain a company name or url. Whenever possible, try to have your targeted keyword phrases included in all links pointing to your site and make sure that each link points to the most appropriate page.
It is often a good idea to supply a potential link partner with the actual HTML markup that you would like them to use. You may even want to suggest the most appropriate spot for them to place the link on their site.
Search engine representatives have specifically stated that they want linking to occur naturally. Without going in to too much detail, they use different types of language processing technologies to determine the relationship between the content found on different sites. If a search engine identifies (what it believes to be) an unnatural looking link pattern, it will likely consider it to be spam.
A good way to avoid this problem is to vary your link anchor text – make it look natural. Use different keyword variations and synonyms in the links that point to your site. But, make sure that the keywords you use are specific to the content that the link is pointing to. Don’t use the same anchor text in all of your links (or even the majority). If all of your links appear identical they may be flagged by the search engines.
Additional tip: Varying your link anchor text can also help you capture the long tail of search. Sometimes you will be able to target keyword variations in your links that you aren’t able to include in your on-page content.
Stay tuned for the third installment to David’s Link Building Strategy – “SEO’s Holy Grail”