Archive for May, 2007

Using the Link Colon

May 29th, 2007 by Patrick Knauer

It would probably be an understatement to say that links have an enormous impact on search engine optimization. Building and managing inlinks is a significant duty of a website owner or manager. Thankfully, there is a quick and easy method for checking links. It’s called a link colon. In this post, I’ll explain how we can check the backlinks for any site.

Let’s use Submitawebsite.com as an example. A link colon search will check the total number of web pages that are currently linking to the domain www.submitawebsite.com. To perform a link colon, go to Yahoo! (http://www.yahoo.com/). In the search box, type in link:www.submitawebsite.com and hit enter (be sure there are no spaces after the colon). You’ll find a listing in the top right that displays inlinks. When I conduct this search for http://www.submitawebsite.com/ I see Inlinks 1-50 of about 48,088. Notice that there is a drop down box above the results. In the drop down menu, select show inlinks Except from this domain. This will exclude any internal links of Submitawebsite. When I do this, the tally drops to 47,803. The result indicates the total number of web pages that have a link to Submitawebsite.com. You can check the backlinks for any site. Now try it for your own site. In Yahoo’s search box type in link:www.yoursite.com.

The results near the top are the strongest links. That’s great because stronger links have a large impact on search placement – and we need to know which links are the most important. Strong links tend to be from a page with a high Google Page Rank or from a very trusted and well respected domain. One very good link can be worth more than a hundred of weaker links.

Clicking on a result will take you to the page that is linking to your site. You many have to do a bit of searching before you find the actual link, but it is usually found fairly quickly (there is a chance that the link has been removed since it was discovered and indexed by Yahoo). It’s also possible to do a link colon on Google and MSN, but those search engines don’t reveal the majority of their links. For that matter, neither does Yahoo!, but they do reveal nearly all of their indexed links and far more than the other engines.

Now that you know how to check you backlinks you should begin to manage them. Keep track of your best and strongest links. Fortify the relationships you have with linking website to keep links intact. Links get stronger with age, so it’s important that you maintain your oldest and best links. Also, you should be attempting to grow your links. Set monthly goals to increase the quantity and quality of your inlinks. Search engines want to see link growth, so try to show growth on a monthly basis. It’s a good idea to set aside fifteen minutes a day for link farming. Find a relevant and informative site to your industry and email them with a request for a link. You may also find it helpful to do a link colon on your main competitors. You’ll be able to judge their online strength relative to yours. It may help explain why you outrank them, or why they outrank you.

The link colon is perhaps the most useful tool when it comes to search engine optimization. Keep using it and keep building your links!

Think Like a Search Engine & Understand SEO

May 22nd, 2007 by Patrick Knauer

One of the most frequent questions I am asked by clients is . . .

“Why does my competitor’s site outrank my site on Google”?

As a general rule, anytime you’re trying to understand search engine optimization, take the viewpoint of the search engine. You’ll find that logically, this type of marketing only makes sense if you think like a search engine.

In order for a search engine to stay in business they need a dedicated user base. To keep people searching on Google or Yahoo, the engines need to provide the best results possible. For example, if I do a search for “baseball bats”, and the first result is a site that sells “baseball hats”, the poor result means I’m not likely to use that search engine in the future. So how do the major search engines determine what sites are the most appropriate for any given search term?

Search engines analyze the content of a page to determine its topic. But even then there are thousands of pages that could be considered relevant for any given keyword (2,040,000 for baseball bats). How does Google determine which page is likely to be the most satisfying result that will keep their users happy?

They’re looking for a site that has demonstrated it is a useful online resource. To do this, a website must provide content that is unique, helpful and important. However, interpreting the written word is beyond the scope of a search engine. To determine if a website is useful, a search engine examines the sites that link to it.

In fact, search engines weigh inbound links very strongly. Each link that points to a website is a vote of confidence. The more votes a site gets, the more useful and popular it is seen by the engines. In order to demonstrate that a site is a useful resource, it has to show link growth. A site that is growing links is actively demonstrating its importance on the web – it’s proving that it is a useful resource. It also greatly helps if you mirror your link growth with content and page growth. If you implement a strategy that creates new links and new content, you will help establish your site as a powerful source in its field.

If your competitor is outranking you, it’s time you start demonstrating to the engines that your site is more useful than the competition. Add more content – and get more links. You’ll find that even small changes can make a significant difference to your search placement. In fact, with the right type of online growth, you should see your site begin to change it’s positioning in as little as 45 days.

Thinking like a search engine isn’t tricky at all. It’s the best way to naturally improve your search presence. And, hopefully, provide a better online resource for your customers.