Here are four quick tips to help make your links a little more search engine-friendly:
1. Keyword-Rich Anchor Text
When linking, use keyword-rich anchor text.
It is widely accepted that using keyword-rich anchor text for links improves search engine ranking. It also helps visitors understand what to expect from a link in one of your articles or pages, helping to increase the amount of time they spend on your website.
What is Anchor Text?
Anchor text is comprised of the words that make up the actual link, which a visitor can click on to be taken to another page on your website.
2. Link to the Best Resources
Linking to the best resources on a topic improves the overall value of your article, blog post or page as a resource of information.
Search engines like Google and Bing are designed to provide the best resources of information for a keyword phrase. By linking to great resources on a topic, you won’t just help visitors discover additional content; you’ll also improve the ranking of your pages in search results.
3. Bad Neighborhoods and Nofollow
Don’t link to sites that share malware or other unfriendly activities.
In order to fight spam and malware, search engines like Google have classified the web into neighborhoods. You want to avoid being classified as a member of the “bad neighborhoods.” One of the most common ways you can be mistaken for a member of a bad neighborhood is by linking to a site that is classified as being in a bad neighborhood.
What is Nofollow?
Using rel=”nofollow” in your links tells search engines not to follow a link. It is helpful if you want to link to a site but you are concerned that it might reflect negatively on your site in the eyes of search engines, or you’re worried about passing page rank.
Just add rel=”nofollow” to your link ,and it won’t count against you.
Example: <a rel=”nofollow” href=”http://bad-neighborhood.com”>
4. Absolute Link, Not Relative Links
When adding internal links, make sure to use absolute links, and not relative links.
Lots of websites will scrape content and republish it. If you have relative links and someone republishes your content, the links from the original article to other pages on your website will not work on their republished page. This prevents people from visiting your site and keeps you from getting any valuable links from their site to yours.
By using the entire URL (also known as the absolute link), you can improve the chance that you’ll get links to your website when people republish your content, helping to improve your search engine ranking.
An absolute link includes the entire URL to a webpage in the link, as opposed to a relative link which does not include the website’s base URL in the link.
Here is an example to help make the difference between absolute and relative links a little more clear:
Relative Link – /this-is-my-articles-relative-link/
Absolute Link – http://socialmediachimps/this-is-my-articles-absolute-link/
More SEO Basics
Image courtesy of Andrew Quinton.