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Julia: What would you say to Web site owners who are reluctant to use links because they think it will take people away from their site?
Bob: For one thing, a Web site without any off-site links is a dead end, and there is some evidence to suggest that search engines view sites that don’t link out as being less valuable.
Unless you’re willing to pay, you may have a hard time convincing people to link to you if you’re not planning on linking back to them. But it’s still possible, especially if you’ve got content that’s so good people will want to link to you anyway, but it’s definitely harder to get one-way links than reciprocal ones. I’m not suggesting that people link directly to their competitors. The idea is to link to sites that complement content that you’re providing. By doing so, you’re contributing to impression that your site is an authority on your theme: not only do you have great information, but you have links to other sources of information. That’s another reason for people to come back to your site more often. And if you’re still worried about sending people away from your site and never seeing them again, you can set your off-site links to open in a new window, by adding target=”_blank” to code for link. If you do this, however, it’s a good idea for usability purposes to let people know that link will open in a new window. Otherwise, people who have their browser windows maximized may not realize what’s happened, and should they try to get back to your site by hitting their back button they’re likely to be confused when it fails to take them anywhere.
Julia: We often hear term "Anchor text". Can your explain what this means and why it's important?
Bob: Anchor text is part of a text link that’s visible on page. On a Web page, that would look like this: :Search Engine Marketing and Copywriting Services ”Search Engine Marketing and Copywriting Services” is anchor text. What’s important about it is that it tells both user and search engine spider what page link points to is about. In a search engine optimization project, getting links to your site that use your keywords in anchor text helps to get your page to rank higher for those keywords. That’s why it’s important to have something other than “click here” as anchor text.The power of anchor text can be seen by example of practice of “Googlebombing,” in which numerous sites will link to a particular page using same anchor text. If enough sites do it, Google will rank that page at top of its listings for searches on that text. George W. Bush’ biography page on site of White House is still number one in Google for query “miserable failure” about half a year after that particular Googlebomb was created. Whether or not you personally agree that those words do a good job of describing Mr. Bush, Google accepts what it sees as opinion of general online community. If enough pages tell Google that miserable failure George W. Bush, then as far as Google is concerned, it must be true.
Julia: Another thing we hear a lot about is Pagerank™—a tool webmasters often use to determine whether a site is worth linking to or not. What does this mean?
Bob: PageRank (not to be confused with “page rank”) is a part of Google’s algorithm for ranking pages. There are numerous theories as to how it’s calculated, but only Google knows for certain. In any case, that’s not important to this discussion. What matters is that PageRank is a measure of value of a page based on links pointing to it, value of pages on which those links reside,and number of other links that are on those pages. It’s strictly numerical, and has absolutely nothing to do with relevance or value to reader. In other words, if I have a page about Shakespeare, and I link to two pages, one about Shakespeare, and other about care and feeding of parakeets, same amount of PageRank will be passed to both of those pages. The fact that one of those pages is about same subject as my page does not enter into calculation.
You can see an estimation of PageRank of a given page if you have Google toolbar installed. But it’s important to keep in mind that PageRank is not everything, nor is it most important thing. It’s one of many factors Google takes into account when it ranks pages for queries, and it’s not at all uncommon to see that a site that ranks on top of a SERP (search engine results page) has a lower PageRank than pages below it on SERP.
One of reasons people believe that PageRank is important is that if you do a backlink check in Google by typing “link:www.site.com” in search box, you’ll generally (but not absolutely) only see pages that link to URL in question and have a PageRank of 4/10 or higher. People have taken this to mean that a link from a page with a lower PR doesn’t count, and that simply isn’t true. It’s true that, all other things being equal, higher PR of a page linking to yours, more PR it’s going to pass to your page, but as I said, PR is just one aspect of Google’s algorithm, and every link apart from troublesome ones we spoke of earlier has some value.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that a page that shows a PR of 2/10 in toolbar today may have a 5/10 or 6/10 a few months from now.When I’m looking for sites from which I may wish to request links, only time what I see in toolbar matters to me is when I see that it has no PageRank at all. Assuming site isn’t new, that can sometimes be an indication that site has done something which caused Google to demote it. That is, it may be what Google refers to as a “bad neighborhood,” and as such, you should be extra careful in checking it out before you agree to link back to it.
Julia: Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge, Bob! I hope you all will check out Bob's site at: for more information about his company.
Julia is an independent copywriter and consultant specializing in search engine marketing and copywriting, direct mail, print advertising and other marketing materials businesses need to increase sales. Learn more about how Julia can help boost your profits by visiting www.juliahyde.com. Or email email@example.com. She'll get back to you right away.