Building links to your site improves
rankings in certain search engines. Not all of the search engines put as
much weight on inbound links, but one that does is Google. Google
has become the 800 pound gorilla in the search engine wars, seemingly overnight.
Did you know you can use Google to
identify the sites you need to have links from? My friend and Web
developer Stephan Spencer (http://www.netconcepts.com)
helped put together this overview/tutorial for how to use Google to evaluate
link targets for your site.
Not all links are created equal,
and Google knows this. They know that FFA links are useless, as are link
farm links. They help you clog your own inbox and that's all. In
Google's case, the sheer number of links doesn't determine your ranking.
Google's ranking algorithm takes into account each link's importance along
with other factors like the proximity of your search keywords in the documents.
In other words, it's not just about the number of sites that link to a
given page, but also the importance of those sites (measured by the links
to each of them). Google has given a name to its ranking algorithm for
determining a web page's importance; it's called PageRank(TM).
In order to accurately view a page's
PageRank, according to Google, you will need to install the Google Toolbar
into your Internet Explorer. (Note: doesn't work on IE 6, only IE 5 and
5.5) Download it from http://toolbar.google.com/
You'll notice after it's installed that there's a green "PageRank" meter.
That meter is your window into the inside of Google, telling you how important
and high-quality Google considers your site to be. And thus how well it's
going to rank in a relevant search. Placing your cursor over the meter
will display the numerical rating, an integer value between 1 and 10. Granted
the PageRank meter isn't very precise,
but nonetheless it is still immensely illuminating. You can learn more
about "PageRank" at http://www.google.com/technology/
Once the Google toolbar is installed,
you can start visiting sites that you want to consider requesting links
from to see how good their PageRanks are. Those with high PageRanks are
the ones to approach for reciprocal links, because they'll help you the
most with improving your own PageRank.
Don't forget that your PageRank
is only part of the equation. A web page must still have enough content
on it for Google to ascertain its theme. According to the CTO of Google
(see the interview at http://www.ibizinterviews.com/craigs1.htm
for more), the key to ranking well in Google is two-fold: having content-rich
web pages, and building a web of links to your site from other reputable,
Until next time, I remain,