Relevance and Link building

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Why Are Links Important?

There once was a time when links didn’t matter – at least not like they do today. Some of the Search Engines looked at back links for a portion of their algorithms, but it didn’t carry the same weight as it does today. Now, in order to be competitive in nearly any online industry, back links are essential.

Back links not only give the search engines an idea of a sites popularity, but they help to determine the topic, and relevance of a site in relation to its targeted keywords. Although SEO is, and will always be very important, gathering relevant back links is steadily increasing in importance.

How Many Links does a Site Need?

The number of back links required varies drastically from one industry to the next. The required number of links in order to rank in a highly competitive market may stretch into the thousands, whereas if you are part of a smaller market, you may be able to rank well with out any links at all.

As a rule of thumb, when trying to determine the number of useful links required, perform a search for your target phrases and check the bank link counts of the high ranking competition. These numbers will vary, but will give you a rough idea where to go.

Numbers Aren’t Everything

Yes, its true that the number of links is very important, but having relevancy is more so. If Site A has 500 back links from totally unrelated sites, and Site B has 50 highly targeted links from authority sites, chances are Site B will rank higher in the SERP’s.

When obtaining links for your site, a level of relevance is very important in order to achieve any value from the link. A link on a site about motor sports will do very little good for a restaurant site, however a link in a food services directory will likely have high relevance.

The search engines typically focus on the specific page your link resides on, as well as the surrounding text to measure the level of relevance. Essentially the SE’s will look at the entire page, and can take any aspects of that page into account when determining its relevance.

Directories – Good Starting Place

So Where to start when link building? Directories are great way to beef up your inbound links. If you go to DMOZ for example and do a search for restaurants, you will find a selection of relevant categories in which to submit your site to.

There are numerous directories on the web, and it may be tough to find a starting point. StrongestLinks.com has a list of some of the more popular directories, as well as a breakdown of PR, Saturation, and Fees if applicable.

As the importance of link density continues to grow, its important not to forget about traditional SEO. SEO techniques will always play a part in Search Engine Rankings. As the big guys like Google focus more on Links, they will always have a part of their algorithm that relies on traditional SEO factors. By having a well-rounded SEO campaign you can maximize your visibility to potential customers

Scott Van Achte is the Senior SEO at StepForth Search Engine Placement. Scott has worked with StepForth Placement since Aarly 2003 and has thoroughly enjoyed working in the search engine industry. When he’s not punching away at the keyboard he can be found spending quality time with his wife Lyndsay, or out on the golf course. Scott would be happy to answer any questions, and can be reached at scott@stepforth.com.

Relevance and Link building
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About Scott Van Achte
Scott Van Achte is the Senior SEO at StepForth Web Marketing. Since Joining the StepForth team back in early 2003 he has thoroughly enjoyed working in the search engine industry. When he is not busy earning his keep, Scott can be found spending quality time with his wife Lyndsay and new daughter Emma. Scott would be happy to answer any questions and can be reached at scott@stepforth.com. WebProNews Writer
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