SEO help: link building and types of links explained

Most people who are new to article writing and making money online get confused with terms like SEO and linking strategy. Some don’t even know what links are and what types of links exist on the Internet. Sometimes the terms sound much more complicated than they are. To offer some SEO help, this article will explain types of links and the basics of link building which is one of the most important aspects of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

First, we should understand two basic terms – what are links and what types of links should online article writers use to optimize their articles for search engines and visitors who find those articles on the Internet.

What are links?

In a nutshell, a link on a web page is a reference to another document (PDF, Word document or another web page) that the reader can directly follow. The link can lead the reader to another webpage on the same website or another webpage on a different website.

For example, a link in an article on Seekyt can point to another article on Seekyt or it can point to a Wikipedia article (or an article on Hubpages, InfoBarrel, or any other external website).

An internet link is also called a hyperlink. Links (or hyperlinks) are most often in a different color (compared to the rest of the text surrounding them), usually blue, and sometimes they are underlined (although not always).

If the term link is completely something new to you, try thinking as a searcher on the internet what you most probably are:

For example, you want to learn about links. You type the words “what is a link” (also known as a keywords) into the search engine box and in approximately 0,21 seconds there will be a Google page in front of you showing results for this keyword phrase (if you are using Google as a search engine).

  • Google says there are about 411,000,000 results for this search and on the page in front of you there are top ten results for your search: ten links leading directly to sites containing information about links.
  • The first result for this search at the moment of writing this article is Hyperlink – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Note that I included a link leading to that page, so the link is leading you outside Seekyt to another website (it is an external or outbound link – types of links are explained below).
  • So, if you follow the link, you’ll end up on Wikipedia’s article about hyperlinks. Note there are three blue (not underlined) words in the first sentence: computing, reference and document – these words are anchored text or anchor links leading you to other articles on Wikipedia about exactly those terms. (To come back to this article on Seekyt, just click the Back button on the left upper corner of the screen).

Linking strategy: why do you need links?

If you are an online article writer, content creator or blogger trying to make money from Internet publishing, then you need links

  • #1 to gain possible votes and
  • #2 to keep your web page visitors longer on the site.

Why?

#1

Search engines like Google use links to determine the value of your web site (or web page). They use search crawlers (also known as robots, bots or agents) which crawl the Web in order to find, categorize and store information. They follow all the links from one page to another and determine whether the content linked through those links (hyperlinks) is really relevant to the topic. Also, they count the number of links going from and to your site and determine the value of those links, that is, how popular they are. That’s why in SEO there is also the term link popularity.The more times people follow the links to your article and actually appear on page, the more popular those links are.

“Google only loves you when everyone else loves you first.” (Wendy Piersall)

Piersall’s quote explains how link popularity helps your rankings (getting to the top search results returned by a search engine after a user types in certain keywords into the search engine box). If you have great content and good-quality links your chances are much higher in terms of being as close as possible to the first results returned by search engines based on a search query.

Google looks at external links pointing to your web page as votes, for example, a link from Hubpages.com or StumbleUpon to your article on Seekyt. If there are links pointing to your article on a particular web page inside Seekyt, these links have value, but not as much as those coming from other sites. In your linking strategy, you must be careful not to gain links from spammy sites as they give you negative votes.

How to build links is a topic for another article as it requires a lot of attention and new information. You may understand how important links really are if you just think that people even buy links (which is unethical and against Google TOS because such linking strategy manipulates search engine optimization) – the linking industry is more than a billion dollars worth.

Almost everybody agrees that content is the most important aspect of SEO, but my guess is that it’s the links what’s most important – proof – there are tons of lousy and poor content out there ranking #1, 2, 3…just because of a great linking strategy.

#2

If you want to make money, for example, with Google AdSense, the probability of your visitors or readers clicking an ad is higher if they stay longer on your site, or more precisely, on your web pages.

For example, if you are writing on Seekyt, then Seekyt is not actually your website, but you have “your” web pages on the site (each article you write is on a separate web page). Imagine a website as a book and web pages simply as pages in this book.

If you wrote a single article about cooking and you have a user (reader, visitor) who ended up on your web page by typing the keyword cooking into the search engine box, it is likely that the visitor will leave your web page without clicking an ad – leave where? To another web page on Seekyt created by some other user (which isn’t bad if you are using the referral program) or to another website.

On the other hand, if you also wrote articles on baking cakes, making muffins, potato recipes or gluten-free recipes, Italian recipes, etc., the chances are that the visitor will visit more of your pages, stay longer on the site reading the content you created. Therefore, chances are also higher that the visitor will convert into a “customer” – in your case, the visitor might click an ad on one of your web pages.

Types of links

  • Internal links

Internal links are links pointing to web pages within one website.

Links which you include in your articles pointing to your other articles on Seekyt, or to other users’ articles or automatic links that Seekyt creates are all internal links.

Although external links are (arguably) more valuable than internal links, internal links are a must – you need to link your articles in order to make it easy for the search crawlers to “read” your content and to make it possible for the visitors to spend more time on site – this will increase the probability of them clicking an ad, generating sales, signing up for the site, etc.

Note that if you write a lot of articles on the same topic or similar topics (or variations on the topic), it will be easier to implement internal linking and you will be seen as an expert on the subject – that is, if your content is original and useful, or simply said, great.

If you have a few links (not too many) included in your article, then your article is more valuable for the search engines and visitors. Of course, you have to think about the nature of those links – they must be relevant to the topic; if you wrote an article about video games and included links leading to an article about dog food, then the link will cause more damage than good. If you write articles about PC video games or video games for kids, or upcoming video games and interlink them in a proper way (which means you shouldn’t exaggerate and include 50 links), this will give search engines a sign that your web page is user-friendly and easy to navigate.

  • External links

External or outbound links are links pointing to other websites, for example, a link included in a Seekyt article and pointing to a Hubpages article. Google loves external links, but article submitting websites don’t really like them and there is a good reason for it. In addition, they have rules about external links. For example, Hubpages doesn’t let you to include more than two links pointing to an external source, especially if the links are pointing to the same domain. Seekyt clearly stated that the site is not to be used for backlinks (or inbound links described below), that is, for promoting other sites. Still, it is ok to include two external links in an article (try to make articles including external links longer in words) as long as the external sources follow Google’s terms of service and you are sure they won’t have a negative impact on the site. You have to make sure that the websites you are linking to are not spam or poor sites, or web sites having a low PageRank.

To check Google PageRank for any website instantly use their free service called Page Rank checker. The page rank is calculated on a scale from 0 to 10. Here are some examples of websites and their page ranks:

  • Facebook: 10
  • Twitter: 9
  • Hubpages: 6
  • Ezine Articles: 6
  • Bright Hub: 6
  • Bukisa: 5
  • Flixya: 5
  • She Told Me: 5
  • InfoBarrel: 4
  • Red Gage: 4

SEO experts claim that a PageRank between 4 and 6 is a very good page rank; lower page rank is “not that good” and everything from 7 up is extraordinary (just look at the domains next to the highest numbers and it’s all clear J)

Note that if you obtain links from these sites (or other sites) with a high PageRank, this will have a very positive impact on the performance of your web pages.

Links to and from web sites with a page rank 0 to 3 are not necessarily bad-quality links; for example, RedGage is still in its beta phase and it already has #4 page rank and 3 is attributed to Seekyt only after a few months and it takes time to obtain a page rank in Google (most sites never do). My guess was that Seekyt will move from 0-3 in the next 1-2 years and “finish” with 6 in about 4 years. It turned out I was wrong and it seems that this site will be of the new miracles on the web (with a page rank above 7).

  • Backlinks

Backlinks or inboud links are links pointing to your web page (article, blog or generally speaking content) – the kind of links that will bring you great benefits (if they are coming from high quality websites). The more backlinks you have from other web sites, the better for you; search engines will recognize those links as votes up for your content and consequently place you higher in search engine result pages (SERPs). This is why internet markets are noisy about backlinks – they are not just talking but “screaming” about backlinks.

The value of backlinks also depends on the competition for a given keyword. You may have 100 times better written articles on a certain topic based on a certain keyword, but you need to check out your competition to get an insight into how many links you need to have in order to compete. Keywords with less competition usually require less backlinks, but backlinks will never hurt you if they are coming from high quality web sites so, my opinion is, the more, the better.

Internal links, external or outbound links and backlinks or inbound links are three basic types of links.

In terms of SEO linking strategy or link building we can use organic or natural links, reciprocal links, one-way links, and anchor links.

Link building and types of links

  • Organic or natural links

Organic or natural links are links obtained in a natural way. This means that if you create original and useful web content, over time, other web pages or web sites may link to you naturally (without you doing anything to get those links). Another user on the same site may link to you, a blogger or somebody else on an external site, or people may simply share your content with others through social media or networks.

On the other hand, link building depends entirely on you and your activities aimed to create links pointing to your web pages.

  • Anchor link

Anchor text is a text on a web site appearing to be a hyperlink. It’s called anchor (or anchored) link. This kind of link is one of the most important aspects of proper keyword use. When searching the web you probably see anchor links every time.

The link to Wikipedia’s article about hyperlinks above is an anchored link. I didn’t use the keywords I targeted in this anchor link, but I used a similar word – hyperlink –with a meaning attributed to internet links (opposed to bracelet links, for example).

This choice was based on the use of latent semantic content, a scary word for some people, but also very logical and easy-to-understand concept that I explained in my article about creating good quality content; the internal link which is also an anchored link (pointing to that article) is included in the second sentence under “Organic or natural links” (above in the text); I turned the words “create original and useful web content” into anchor text and it consequently became an anchor link.

Doing so, I included a relevant link to the overall topic of search engine optimization (and link building is one of the most important – if not the most important – aspects of SEO); optimized the other article for search engines and this article too because search engines “read” web content easier if there are links included.

You probably noticed that the links don’t begin with http://www…it’s because they are anchor links.

How to create anchored text (anchor link) in your Seekyt article?

This is very simple. There is a small icon (link button) on the toolbar in the article submitting box.

  1. First, copy the address (full URL) of the page you want to link to from your browser,
  2. highlight the words you would like to appear as anchored text,
  3. click the link icon/button and paste the chosen link address into the URL box given in the box that popped out.
  • One-way links – most wanted!

A one-way link is a link pointing only to your site – there is no link exchange. Search engine value these links more than two-way links because they seem to have a natural pattern in them. If the links also contain the keywords you targeted, that’s even better because search engines will interpret your link as a keyword, too.

  • Reciprocal links – ethical or unethical?

Reciprocal links are created with the practice of cross-linking – a strategy which is seen more unethical than ethical by search engines because cross-linked web sites (or web pages) create a circular linking scheme. This means that reciprocal links in the scheme are based on mutual agreement between content owners to exchange links. “Post a link to my web page and I’ll post a link to yours” would be the right description. Such SEO linking strategy is manipulative and search engines seem to recognize it as black hat SEO – unethical SEO trick to increase rankings.

My guess is that it would be better to join forces with your fellow writers and agree to share each other’s content (if you really think it is great content) through social media. “I choose your article that I particularly liked and stumble or digg it, and you find my article that you particularly liked and share it on Facebook or Twitter (or the other way around.)” I don’t know if there is a term for this.

If you have a question or you would like to add something about link building and types of links, you are welcome to comment below the article.

Not a Seekyt member? Registration is free and easy.

SIGN UP for SEEKYT