Build Your Customer Base With Inbound Links

In the early days of the web inbound links were an important way of getting website visitors. Nothing has changed. Links are still an important way to boost your website traffic, ultimately adding to your bottom line.

There are three types of links:

  • Inbound links
  • Internal links
  • Outbound links

Inbound Links

Inbound links are links from other websites to yours. Inbound links are the best way to get customers to visit your website.  They are important for a number of reasons.

Firstly and most obviously they can be clicked on, bringing visitors directly to your site. This has always been the case.

The second reason that its important to have inbound links is that the search engines view inbound links as a vote for your site. The more votes for your site the more significance given to your site by the search engines. Google assigns a page rank to each website page. A page rank is a ranking by Google of the significance of a web page on your website. The more links to your website, the higher the page rank. Some other factors are also considered.

For example a link from an important site is more important that an obscure site that no-one uses. If a website with a large number of visitors and a good page rank links to your website that help your page rank and search engine placement.

Links from websites in your market area or sites with related content are also more important than unrelated sites. Inbound links are also called backlinks. You can check inbound links to your website with this backlink checker.

Some websites can use JavaScript or re-directs to link to your website. Watch out for this. They should use the simple <a href=””></a> format for a direct link to your website.

To summarise: Try to get inbound links from important, highly ranking websites in your sector.

Internal links

Internal links are also important in the search engine game. An internal link is a link from one page on your website to another page on your site. Internal links help search engines find and index all of the pages on your website and search engines appreciate this. A good descriptive navigation menu is important. Never use words like “click here” as link text. Try to be more descriptive and use keywords in your links. For example, if your site is about search engine optimisation, you could create a link with link text Seach Engine Optimisation.

Use plenty of cross-linking from page to page and especially from blog posts to other posts and pages. You should also create a sitemap linking to the pages in your website. You have control over internal links and should use them effectively.

Outbound Links

Outbound links are links from your websites to external websites. You also have control over these links. You may want to link to a supplier website or link to a client or partner site. Outbound links shouldn’t negatively affect your ranking or search engine position. Just be careful not to overdo it and that your outbound links are to reputable websites. If you link to disreputable websites or sites blacklisted by the search engines you are seen as promoting these sites and your reputation and ranking will take a hit.

How to get inbound links

Remember, try to get links from important websites in your sector. You probably already have a number of contacts in your network and you can offer link exchanges with these people. This can be mutually beneficial. It would be even better if you gave them the HTML code to link to your website. In this way you can ensure that important keywords or key-phrases are used in the link text, rather than generic words such as “click here”.

Here is some sample html code that you can tailor for your own needs:

<a href="">Web Design Ireland - Irish Web HQ</a>

You should have these code snippets close to hand for use when you need them. Create a few different ones using different keywords.

Don’t sign up for mass link exchanges or link networks. This may have worked in the early days of the web, and may even give an initial boost to your website, but the search engines are clever and will quickly drop you down the ratings. The end result is a loss of money.

Get on the social network. Social networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn are great for getting an online profile. You can link back to your website from these networks. They are also great for building contacts that may eventually become customers. If you have friends or family on these social networks they may also be willing to link to your website.

  • Facebook is a network used by members of all types and ages
  • Bebo tends to be used by younger users, great if these are your target customer
  • LinkedIn is a professional network and great for professional contacts
  • Twitter is good for quick messages and alerts to tell others what you are doing

Finally, there are a number of directories and free advertising websites that will allow you to add your site to them. Be careful with the ones you choose to use. Try to find ones in your market area. Where possible use keywords in your link text.

Building inbound links is an important way to promote your website but takes time. Be diligent and build your back-links slowly and carefully, concentrating on quality rather than quantity.

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