Let’s Start With Back Links
These are links from other websites directed back to your website. One of the ways that Google and other search engines learn to love your website is by how many other website owners consider a link to your site worthwhile.
The key is not the quantity of back links from other websites, but the quality of the back links. For quality back links, the sites linking to yours need to be relevant. It’s all a game of relevancy and is essential for the success of your website and marketing efforts.
Search engines calculate keyword relevancy based on the percentage of related content found at either end of the link. If content is not related, it will not be considered important and you will lose page rank or be totally ignored by Google’s army of spiders.
There are various ways to accomplish this balancing act and stay out of SEO trouble while you’re doing it.
Rule: Stay Out Of Google’s “Bad Neighborhoods.”
Back links are great ways to get visitors to your website, and another good way to attract attention with the resulting free traffic is with reciprocal link exchanges.
Once again those links need to be quality links from other sites, with content or focus similar to yours. Always check out link-mates and avoid any with too many pages full of unrelated links and links to “Bad neighborhoods.”
Google will devalue or ignore a site because of the bad company it keeps or the bad neighborhood it hangs out in, and if your site is linked to it, it can get devalued, dropped in rank, or worse; ignored by the robots completely.
What Makes A “Bad Neighborhood?”
There are some sites which use un-orthodox methodologies to drive traffic for one thing. These sites are always to be avoided, as they will definitely bring grief upon you.
Always avoid sites that you think may be using any kinds of tricks intended to deceive search engines to improve rankings.
A good test of content is asking the question: “Does this help my users?” or “Is this being done just for the search engines?”
Rule: Stay Vigilant
Do good research and be constantly vigilant to make sure you don’t become linked to a bad neighborhood. Inbound links cannot be controlled, however Google will cause you to suffer for linking to the bad boys.
There are free tools available for uncovering sites harmful to your link building efforts. Just go to you-know-who and search with the term “bad neighborhood” (in quotation marks) and you’ll find them.
There are certain industries that are notorious for having bad neighborhoods. Two major offenders in this field are the Pharmaceutical and Adult Industries. Unless your business is in some aspect of those two industries, you would do well to avoid them entirely.
While inbound links are good to have, quality outbound links to other high quality or authority sites definitely will help your rankings considerably.
Remember that in order for those outbound links to matter, they have to be within the subject field of your site. Consider these things when you are trying to get traffic and a decent Page Rank for your websites.
It is vital for you to keep good track of which sites are linking back to you. If all the links are outbound from your site and not reciprocated with a link back, the sites on the other end of your outbound links will get the traffic and page rank, leaving you being considered an unimportant website.
If you would like to find several valuable resources for verifying your reciprocal links, just search that term and you will find some great tools available.