Get your site found on the web: directories, internal & natural links
Previously, we’ve seen how important it is to choose the right key words when you create a website, and the role they play in ensuring people find your site using search engines. We’ve also looked at backlinks, and at ways to start adding them to external sites. One of the most common ways to begin building backlinks is to use site directories. But as a beginner webmaster, you’ll need to understand how links are seen by search engines.
Knowing a little more about the interaction between search engines and backlinks will help you to shape the site links you build, and to make a website that’s destined for success.
Site directories are like backlink storehouses. Like a phone directory, they provide basic information about websites and links to them. Submitting your website to directories is a great way to build backlinks, and it’s a good idea to target directories that specialize in your field of activity, or are related to it.
You can afford to be selective when choosing directories, so try to avoid ones that require reciprocal links or payment in exchange for a listing. There are plenty of free directories around, and paying for a link won’t make it better for your search engine results or for attracting site visitors than a free one.
Start by submitting your site to Dmoz: one of the oldest and most reputable directories on the Internet. A little searching will help you come up with a list of directories, or you can use directory listings like DirectoryRoll, DirectoryCritic and BestWebDirectories to locate relevant directories for your website. Search engines like variety, so vary the text you use for your site title and description on each directory submission, to make each one unique.
Why links matter
Getting good search engine results for a website involves a lot of work. When improving your website’s notoriety through backlink building, what matters most is the number - and quality - of backlinks. The more backlinks a website has, and the better quality those links are, the better your site will rank in search engine results pages for your key words. And the better your site ranks, the easier it will be to find, and the more visitors it will likely attract. A handful of good quality backlinks is always better than a score of poor-quality links, so avoid the temptation to spam websites simply to get backlinks.
Internal site links are also important. Linking your site content together helps your site visitors find content on your site, and helps search engines understand its structure. Providing strong, appropriate links within your site content shows search engines what’s important on your website, and helps their algorithms associate the right key words with your content.
Your site content plays a vital role in determining how search engines rank the importance of each backlink. Ensure every backlink you add “points” to the most appropriate page of your site content, to strengthen its association with your chosen key words.
Providing quality site content also helps with natural link building: the creation of backlinks that follows visits to your website. Visitors are more likely to add an external link to your site - in a blog post, on a webpage or social networking site - if what they’ve discovered on your website interests them. The better your content, the greater the chances visitors will link to it, creating backlinks for you. Developing quality site content means adding the kinds of things to your site that your site visitors will want to read, see or hear.
When adding backlinks to external sites, try to add a relevant context to the link by using key words. Adding a comment to a blog post or forum is one way to control the link text, as you can select the words to which you’ll add a link. Adding a link to a term like “bath accommodation” will have a greater influence on your search engine ranking for those key words than if you added a link using words like “click here” or “see it on my website”.
Choosing the right content for your site matters to your visitors and to search engines, and there are a wealth of different types of content you can add when you make a website. We’ll take a more detailed look at site content in the next article, and ways you can use to go about adding it.