This article is a continuation of the article series that started on 22 May 2007, with ‘Link building I – Gaining direct traffic‘, and was followed with ‘Link building II – Creating relationships‘ on 24 May 2007.
In this article I will write about how to improve your search engine rankings through the link building process.
Identify your niche
If your aim is to improve your search engine rankings you need to be crystal clear on exactly what your site is about. This sounds obvious, but I see many site owners targeting keywords and sites that are completely irrelevant to content of their site.
Identify your keywords and search terms
If you want to improve your search engine rankings, you need to decide what keywords or search terms you want to target. General keywords such as ‘chat’ or ‘dating’ are so competitive that it may be better to target keywords that yield fewer searches but have far less competition.
Write an initial list of the keywords you want to target. Check your traffic stats to see what keywords people are currently using to find your site. A few good applications you can use to determine search popularity (and consequently the competitiveness) of specific keywords are:
The Overture keyword selector tool is extremely basic and simple to use – simply type in a keyword, and you will be shown the number of searches recently performed for search terms that include your keyword.
The higher the number, the more often that keyword is searched for. Bear in mind that the higher the number, the more sites there will be that are targeting that keyword.
Lower volume = Less competition = Better results
SEO book is similar to Overture in its simplicity, however it shows an estimated total monthly search volume along with estimated volume from specific search engines such as Google, Yahoo! and MSN.
You can display various data on the keyword(s) you choose, namely:
- Keyword Search Volume
- Cost and Ad Position Estimates
- Search Volume Trends
- Possible Negative Keywords
Keyword Search Volume
We are now shown the search volume for our chosen and similar keywords, along with advertiser competition. Advertiser competition refers to the number of people bidding on those keywords using the Google AdWords system. This is useful as an indicator of how much general competition there is for those keywords.
I would always suggest targeting the keywords with lower levels of competition – your site is then far more likely to be returned in search results for the keywords you are targeting.
Search Volume Trends
It is no good targeting keywords to improve your search engine rankings if those keywords are going out of fashion. Google’s search volume trends allows you to see changes in search volume for your targeted keywords. Ideally you want to target the keywords that are seeing a growth in their search volume.
Now you have your keywords
By now you should have a good list of keywords that are relevant to your site, get a decent amount of search engine queries and do not have excessive competition.
Find relevant sites
Use these keywords to do searches in the search engines. Remember that there are search engines other than Google! The sites with good search engine rankings are the ones you want to target if your sole aim is to build links in order to improve search engine rankings as these will often be seen as carrying more ‘authority’.
Include your keywords in your link
When you find sites willing to exchange links, be sure to have your chosen keyword(s) included in the anchor text of your link. For example, if you are targeting the phrase ‘UK chat’, then this should be your link text.
It is always worth negotiating with the site you are placing your link on to see if they are willing to publish your link on their homepage – these often carry more weight in the eyes of the search engines than a links page that is already swamped with other sites.
If you are link building in order to improve your search engine rankings, you should:
- Identify your niche
- Identify your keyword(s) and search terms
- Find good ranking sites relevant to your keywords and niche
- Include your keyword(s) in your link anchor text
This article should only be used as a starting point for improving search engine rankings through link building. I do not claim to be a search engine guru; these are just tips and advice I have used myself and have had some degree of success with.
Sites I would recommend for further reading include:
The next article in this series will talk about link building as a way of creating awareness of your site. If you would like to see specific issues addressed in this link building series, let me know by leaving a comment.