December 18, 2011
The Trouble with Linking Schemes
When you really get down to the nitty-gritty about the factors that impact your website's ranking on search engines, it sounds a lot like the way credit companies come up with your credit rating. In many ways, there's not a whole heck of a lot of difference. Both your company's search engine ranking and your company's credit rating have everything to do with your ability to make money. If you have bad credit, you pay higher interest on loans. If you have a low search engine ranking, you may as well be invisible. To combat a poor credit rating, pay your bills on time. To fight poor search engine rankings, refrain from engaging in certain questionable online activities. One of the most detrimental of these activities is called linking schemes. What's a Linking Scheme and How Does it Work? A linking scheme is a method of using a network of links in order to increase your website's search engine ranking. The theory behind it is simple. The more links there are on the internet that drive to your website, the more popular your site appears to be--which in turn has a positive impact on your search engine ranking. Often times, website owners will engage in what's called reciprocal linking in a sort of "scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" arrangement for their mutual ranking benefit. The trouble is, search engines are busy looking for ways to make page ranking more honest, and they frown on this type of thing. One of the ways they're fighting linking schemes (with Google leading the charge) is by penalizing the ranking scores of websites that are found to be taking part in linking schemes. Follow the Leader Google isn't the only search engine out there, that's for sure. But it is the most frequently used, and since it's seen as the golden standard among all search engines, you can assume that if Google's enforcing something, everyone else will fall in line behind them sooner or later. For those webmasters who've been busy in their off hours hoping for the demise of Google, this bit of news comes as a chilling omen that the days of page ranking manipulation are set to come to a grinding halt. So What Now? You're probably asking "Okay, then how do I get my website ranking up?" It's good you asked, because we've got a few useful tips on doing exactly that--the clean way. Create compelling, relevant content on your website. This can be done by publishing a blog and building a wide audience. The more your readership grows, the more people will organically link to your website. This method is far more effective than manufactured links.Update your web site content (including your blog and landing page copy) frequently. People don't like visiting static websites that never change and don't offer updated information. If you want repeat visitors who'll spread the word to others about your website, this is one way to keep them coming back.You can link to other websites, but do so only to sites that would be of interest to your visitors and sites that are relevant to your brand. If you're an online coffee retailer, link to other coffee sites, tea sites, or companies that manufacture and sell coffee machines.