Linking is not such a simple process. While there are still many webmasters and SEO experts implying that the more links pointing to your site, the higher rankings in Google and other search engines, this is not entirely true. It doesn’t really matter how many links you have, if they are not valuable links.
What determines the value of a link? The value of a link to your site is given by the value of the website pointing at it. For example, if you have a link on an industry-related, PR 7 or higher, website that could bring your website a boost and a higher PR (page rank) as well. Note the “industry related” aspect. You don’t need to collect links and linking partners to improve search engine placements. This will come naturally after you create a network of related links that will bring valuable information for the users. A network of related links will bring you targeted traffic as well.
Stay away from link farms. Google doesn’t like bulk or automated linking. However, if a link farm is linking to you that will be OK, as long as you are not linking back. Solely linking back to bad neighbors (link farms and penalized websites) could really get your site banned. You should always check back to your link partners and see whether their websites were penalized or not. A simple way to see that is to look at the Google toolbar where the Page Rank of a website is usually displayed. If that element is completely gray, you should remove the back link to the affected website from your website immediately.
You should also avoid linking to sites that don’t link back to you. Unless these sites provide content that is really important for your visitors, let’s say for a better understanding of the nature of your business, you should not link to them. When you link to another site, you give this site a percentage of your Page Rank.
Another very important aspect in linking strategy is writing links. Never use “click here” for your onsite links. Your visitors will mentally answer, “make me” and move on. You should write links that are meaningful, explain what the link offers and make sense even when read out of context. When you transform entire paragraphs into a link your visitors will get confused.
When you submit your link to web directories and partner sites, don’t always use the same title and description. Try, as much as possible to write different titles and link descriptions for each directory and partner site. Both titles and descriptions should be keyword rich, but not stuffed with keywords. Keep the link title as short as possible – 30 to 60 characters, depending where you submit your link, and the description not more than 130 characters, including spaces. The shorter the description, the clearer your message will be. If each link that points to your site has unique content, the search engines will treat it as important and consider it for indexing. Search engines do have the tendency of excluding from their results links with similar content. You are probably familiar with the Google’s follow up phrase “repeat the search with the omitted results included”.
If you don’t want Google and the search engines to exclude some of your links from the results, give them a reason not to. Build up a good linking strategy as part of your SEO campaign.