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SEO Fundamentals

Understanding the importance of links


From:

SEO Fundamentals

with David Booth

Video: Understanding the importance of links

One of the most important aspects of SEO is links, and this has traditionally been the backbone of how search engines work. As search engines scour the Internet and crawl all the pages in the world, they find links pointing to other pages. You know that blue underlined text that you see everywhere that you can click on and your browser takes you to some other page? You can think of each one of those links as a vote. And not every vote is the same. Remember that some sites are considered more authoritative and more trustworthy than others.
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  1. 1m 34s
    1. Welcome
      1m 19s
    2. Using the Facilitator's Guide
      15s
  2. 11m 46s
    1. What is search engine optimization (SEO)?
      4m 6s
    2. Reading a search engine results page
      2m 17s
    3. How SEO affects your business
      2m 38s
    4. Setting SEO expectations
      2m 45s
  3. 20m 49s
    1. Why you need a keyword research plan
      2m 47s
    2. How to research keywords
      3m 23s
    3. Tools to help you analyze keywords
      4m 43s
    4. Understanding keyword attributes
      3m 46s
    5. Understanding keyword distribution
      3m 50s
    6. Ongoing keyword evaluation
      2m 20s
  4. 26m 8s
    1. Understanding content optimization
      2m 14s
    2. Optimizing for site structure
      3m 41s
    3. Recognizing different types of content
      2m 23s
    4. Optimizing textual page elements
      8m 30s
    5. Optimizing non-text components of a web page
      4m 0s
    6. Analyzing content quality
      2m 39s
    7. Exploring the benefits of user-generated content
      2m 41s
  5. 22m 12s
    1. Interpreting the code behind web pages
      3m 9s
    2. Understanding how search engines index content
      2m 37s
    3. Working with canonical URLs and redirects
      2m 59s
    4. Leveraging microformats
      2m 39s
    5. Working with server-side factors
      3m 18s
    6. Using Google Webmaster Tools
      3m 58s
    7. Using Bing Webmaster Tools
      3m 32s
  6. 30m 53s
    1. Overview of long-term content strategizing
      2m 44s
    2. Planning a successful content strategy and avoiding common mistakes
      3m 46s
    3. Defining your audience, topics, angle, and style
      4m 17s
    4. Understanding different types of content
      4m 25s
    5. Getting ideas for content
      4m 0s
    6. Working with an editorial calendar
      3m 33s
    7. Promoting your content with social media
      3m 52s
    8. Measuring content performance
      4m 16s
  7. 18m 28s
    1. Understanding the importance of links
      4m 49s
    2. Building internal links
      2m 5s
    3. Building external links
      4m 19s
    4. Finding link-building opportunities
      4m 36s
    5. Executing a link-building strategy
      2m 39s
  8. 16m 32s
    1. Measuring SEO performance
      4m 10s
    2. Analyzing keywords
      5m 13s
    3. Analyzing links
      4m 9s
    4. Analyzing the impact of social media
      3m 0s
  9. 18m 45s
    1. Understanding SEO and ecommerce
      2m 36s
    2. Working with semantic HTML
      2m 22s
    3. The technical components of ecommerce
      3m 9s
    4. Exploring ecommerce information architecture
      2m 38s
    5. Producing ecommerce content
      2m 33s
    6. Leveraging link building and social media for ecommerce
      3m 12s
    7. Adapting ecommerce websites for international audiences
      2m 15s
  10. 25m 38s
    1. Understanding local search
      3m 14s
    2. Understanding Google+ Local
      3m 0s
    3. Setting up and optimizing Google+ Local
      4m 46s
    4. Getting more citations
      3m 52s
    5. Getting more reviews for your business
      3m 43s
    6. Optimizing your website for local search
      4m 13s
    7. The future of local search
      2m 50s
  11. 15m 48s
    1. Understanding cultural aspects of international SEO
      2m 30s
    2. Optimizing technical content for international audiences
      2m 57s
    3. Optimizing translated and localized content
      2m 9s
    4. Building links for an international audience
      2m 47s
    5. Analyzing and measuring an international SEO campaign
      2m 17s
    6. Avoiding pitfalls with international SEO
      3m 8s
  12. 1m 10s
    1. Determining your next steps
      1m 10s

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SEO Fundamentals
3h 29m Beginner Sep 17, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this course, author David Booth explains what search engine optimization (SEO) is and how you can start using it to increase your website's visibility to search engines and attract the right kind of traffic to the right kinds of pages on your site. Discover how to read a results page and find your ranking, and see how rankings affect both large and small businesses. Then find out how to implement basic optimization strategies, like conducting keyword research, building inbound links, optimizing your pages and content, and measuring your successes and progress while planning for a long-term SEO strategy. SEO for ecommerce, local search, and an international audience round out this comprehensive look at the basics of SEO.

Topics include:
  • What is SEO?
  • Understanding how search engines index content
  • Researching keywords
  • Using SEO tools
  • Optimizing pages for keywords
  • Optimizing code and site structure
  • Building links to your content
  • Optimizing non-text components of a web page
  • Analyzing content quality
  • Defining your audience, topics, angle, and style
  • Promoting your content via social media
  • Measuring SEO effectiveness
  • Setting up Google+ Local
  • Building links for an international audience
  • Optimizing ecommerce sites for search
Subjects:
Business Online Marketing Business Skills SEO
Software:
Google Analytics
Author:
David Booth

Understanding the importance of links

One of the most important aspects of SEO is links, and this has traditionally been the backbone of how search engines work. As search engines scour the Internet and crawl all the pages in the world, they find links pointing to other pages. You know that blue underlined text that you see everywhere that you can click on and your browser takes you to some other page? You can think of each one of those links as a vote. And not every vote is the same. Remember that some sites are considered more authoritative and more trustworthy than others.

In this weighted democracy, there are really just two things that matter, the number of links you have pointing to you, and the quality of those links. Generally speaking, you'll improve your search engine visibility by increasing your link popularity. The more quality links you have pointing to your website from other websites, the more authoritative your site will be to search engines. If no other website was linking to yours, it would be very difficult for search engines to trust your site enough to return it in the search results. A search engine would much rather show results from sites that have earned links and authority.

But you can have all the links in the world, and it won't matter unless those links are of high quality. One thing search engines look for to determine link quality is how relevant the link is to the content on the pages. For example, if you run a recipe website, and you end up with a food blog linking to you, the search engine has no trouble at all with that relationship. It makes perfect sense that a food blog would link to a recipe website. But if you went out and told your friend who owns a gambling website to put a link on their site over to yours, that's going to be a little harder to justify.

A gambling site probably has no business linking to your recipes. And since that thematic connection isn't there, a search engine may not place as much value on that link. Search engines will also look at the link text itself. The text that you can click on is what's known as the anchor text, and if you think about it, that anchor text serves as a pretty good clue as to what the destination page is all about. For example, if a link uses anchor text like "california backpacking tips," that's a pretty strong signal to the search engines that the page on the other side of that link is about California backpacking tips.

A search engine doesn't even need to go to that page and it already knows what to expect. Think about that compared to a link that uses anchor text like "link" or "click here." Unless that page is really about links or clicking here, it's not going to tell a search engine much about what's on that page. Another indicator of quality is freshness and trends. Search engines expect you to naturally gain a steady amount of links over time, and if you don't, it might be interpreted as a bad thing. For example, if a bunch of links to your site showed up on the Internet five years ago and you've had nothing since then, your content may be considered stale, and your site would be less authoritative and less trustworthy.

On the other hand, if you've never had anyone linked to you in your life, and then on one certain date there was a pattern of a hundred new links showing up on random blogs on the same day every single month, the search engines are going to investigate a little deeper, and they might find out that you've hired someone to buy you a bunch of links every month. And while we're talking about spam, this is probably a good time to say that it is highly recommended that you not try to trick the system. Search engines are very aware of just about every technique out there, and there are some very real penalties for getting caught trying to manipulate the system.

If a search engine finds an extremely large amount of similar links with the same anchor text popping up all over the place, or links that appear to have been paid for, or suspicious groups of websites known to practice spamming techniques, or any number of other factors, it's very easy for them to figure out exactly what you've been doing and then penalize you for it. Penalties can be anything from dropping your rankings for minor infractions, to dropping you from the entire index if you're doing really overt things. Remember, search engine optimization is not something you do for short-term gains. It's something you build upon day after day, to build long-term value.

Finally we've entered into an era where social media is now a part of our online lives. When people post and share links to our content, or indicate its quality by clicking a button, search engines are taking note. If you think about it, where they used to have to rely on other websites in the weighted democracy, social media allows them a signal that actually tells them what people like. Understanding your audience, and the keywords they are typing into search engines, and creating great content around it is the first step to SEO. But earning the links back to your website around the Web is what really shows search engines just how trustworthy and authoritative you really are.

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