As you may know, a key factor in getting your site to rank well in the search engines is to have lots of links back (“backlinks”) to your site.
Which leads many people – including some clueless and/or unscrupulous “web designers” – to think that all they need is a TON of backlinks and they’ll beat their competitors to the #1 rank for their search terms.
It doesn’t work that way.
Talked to a prospect lately who’d been doing his own SEO and who’d achieved over 700 backlinks from 145 domains. Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? He’d submitted his site to “like 1000” web directories, using his business name as the hyperlink text.
He’d invested quite a bit of time and effort and didn’t understand why his site didn’t rank higher.
IMPORTANT: To a large extent, being easy to find in Google IS a popularity contest, and good content is what makes you popular. Being “popular” to the right people (sites) is critical. The more competitive a search term is, the more important this becomes. For example, ranking for “Columbia MO roof repair” is much easier than ranking for “weight loss” because fewer sites are competing for that term.
Here’s what was hurting him:
- Those directory backlinks are considered low quality links – don’t do much for a site’s ranking at all. They’re not coming from sites that are considered important by Google or the other search engines. Links from higher-ranking, more popular sites – especially those within his industry – would help enormously.
- The anchor text was almost all the same. Anchor text are the words that make up a hypertext link – they’re usually underlined or sometimes in another color. (The words “Columbia MO roof repair” above are the anchor text in that link.) In the illustration to the right, all the words in blue are anchor text – when you click on them they lead to a different web page. The search engines reward varied text; if you use your business name as anchor text everywhere online, you’re penalized with lower rankings.
- He wasn’t using social media at all – today, especially for national rankings or highly competitive terms, you need re-tweets, Facebook shares, et cetera.
- Finally – he wasn’t adding new content to his site on a regular basis. This is often done by using a blog or news section. Adding content gives the search engines a reason to come back to your site (to see what’s new) and it gives PEOPLE a reason to visit your site again – which is even more important! Some of those people may link to your news or articles from their own sites.
What you need to remember from this is that it’s not just about the number of links. It’s about their quality. And the best way to get the attention of the search engines, and to attract backlinks, is to add quality content regularly.