The #1 Question we were asked this year was:
"How do I get my website to show up more in search results?"
Here's the simplest answer that we often catch ourselves saying over and over again.
"You can improve the rank of your website by simply increasing the the number of high quality sites that link to your website."
Yes, its that simple. Which always leads to the next question:
"How do we do that?"
To answer that question, you have to understand the basics of how websites are interconnected. For search engines to crawl the thousands and thousands of websites, think of a "link" as being the streets between the websites being the cities. Search engines are able to discover how pages are related to each other by their links.
While links aren't everything in SEO, but a large portion of your websites ranking will be related to the quality of websites that are linked to it. As they say, you can tell the quality of a person by the company they keep. And in the same way you can tell the quality of website by the other websites they link to. Trustworthy people tend to hang out with other trustworthy people. And trustworthy websites tend to only link with other trustworthy websites.
So how do you know which links are most valuable? While no one knows everything about how search engines work other than the search engine operators themselves and their own proprietary process, here are a few of the main factors, that help the search engines signal which links are most valuable.
1. Worldwide Popularity - The more popular a website is the more links it will have. Which is why ESPN.com has a lot of high quality links and somthing like LocalSports.com does not.
2. Local/Topic Specific Popularity - For example, if you website is about Baseball Cards, a link from the Baseball Card Association of America carries more weight than a link about a bowling alley.
3. Anchor Text - Anchor text is one of the strongest signals for a search engine. If lots of links point to a page with proper keywords, that page has a much better chance of ranking well in the target phrase in the anchor text
4. Social Sharing - Although the search engines may treat socially shared links different than other kinds of links, they are noticed. There is much debate among search professionals as to how exactly search engines factor social link signals into their algorithms, but there is no denying the rising importance of social channels (which can read about here in last weeks blog)
Sam Casey the Managing Partner at Banyan Creative, a small business digital maarketing firm based in Matthews, NC. We love helping small businesses ensure their website is helping them achieve their goals.
Sam Casey is the Chief Creative Officer and Managing Partner at Banyan Creative.