If you’ve studied up on Search Engine Optimization (SEO), you may have read that “external links” are a good thing. At least, I hope that’s what you’ve read! Because it’s true.
So what are external links?
External Links are HTML links coming from another website to your website. For example, if you read this blog post and thought it was so incredibly informative that you just had to link to it from your website, this would be an external link to webgnomes.org/blog/what-are-external-links.
Google takes external links very seriously. It’s one of the top five factors that impact your organic search rank.
“So,” you say, “I’ll just go ask all my friends to link to my website!” Well, unless your friends are presidents of universities or owners of authoritative websites in your field, think again.
External Link Quality
Not all links are created equal. You want links coming from trusted sites related to your area of expertise. Quality over quantity.
Think about it! Do you trust a .gov or a .net website more when you’re looking for the latest in health care advice? How about .edu vs .com for the latest on a given research topic?
You get the picture.
Search engines like to see links from authoritative sites. They assume this means that the author of a quality site thought that your content was so awesome that she deemed it link worthy.
Anchor Text Matters
For you non-geeks out there, “anchor text” is the text you see on the link on the website. For example, in the link Web Gnomes rock!, “Web Gnomes rock!” is the anchor text leading to the URL www.webgnomes.org. The anchor text should be relevant to the web page that is being linked. (Yes, we are shameless.)
Avoid link text like “click here” and “read more.” They won’t do you much good.
Beware of Sketchy Link Schemes
If you are desperate for some links, it may be tempting to go out and buy a bunch of links. Don’t do it. It may work for a little while, but the people at Google are smart and they will catch on to you.
How to Get Quality Links
Getting quality links is not a quick or easy task. However, there are many completely kosher ways to do it (see resource below). Ultimately, it boils down to to creating really great, unique, and helpful content and making sure that others know about it.
Now that you know what external links are, go out and get some! If this feels like an overwhelming task, as always, Web Gnomes are here to help through our SEO Consulting Services.