5 Ways to Optimize Your Existing Links for Maximum SEO Benefit
March 2, 2009 - Written by Gyutae Park
As an SEO or Internet marketer, you’re constantly testing strategies to build new links to your sites for improved traffic and search engine rankings. But what about your existing links and link partners? Are you maximizing their potential and squeezing every little bit of benefit out of them? New links are great of course, but optimizing your existing links can have a significant impact on your SEO as well with minimal effort. Improving an existing link is usually a lot easier than obtaining a new one.
In this article, I’ll describe 5 strategies you can use today to optimize existing links to your site and increase their SEO value. This will help you to obtain more direct traffic and creep up in the search engine rankings for your targeted keywords.
1. Ask for more links
If someone links to your site, it usually means that they find value in what you have to offer or have some sort of relationship with you. Because of this, your existing link partners are more likely to change your links for you and add more in the future. Just don’t get too greedy with this strategy and push your luck. For example, if someone links to your homepage, you might email him with a relevant page and ask for a deep link as well. Furthermore, if someone links to one of your articles and you write a similar one on the same topic a few months later, you might let him know and ask for another link.
Again, don’t go overboard with this tactic. You want to get as many links as possible from your partners without seeming overly pushy and ruining the relationship. It definitely helps if you can repay the favor in some way.
2. Optimize link anchor text
A lot of times webmasters will link to your site with less-than-optimal anchor text. Anchor text is extremely important for links because it not only tells users what the resulting page is about, but it is also used by the search engines to determine the relevancy of a page to a particular keyword. For example, links to Winning the Web with the anchor text “internet marketing” will help the site to rank for that keyword. Links like “click here”, “learn more”, and “www.site.com” are unfavorable because they don’t incorporate high potential keywords.
Contact webmasters that link to you and ask them to change the anchor text for your link to include your targeted SEO keywords – especially links from high authority sites. Be sure to keep the anchor text relevant and mix it up (ideally a different variation for each link). Also, leave some anchor text unoptimized in order to appear natural to the search engines. Google will penalize your site if your link profile looks like it’s obviously been manipulated for a keyword. Learn how to appear natural and make every link count for your SEO rankings.
3. Correct errors
Occasionally you’ll find that webmasters link to pages that no longer exist on your site or completely misspell one of your URLs. Monitor your 404 error (file not found) logs and ask your link partners to correct the erroneous links if possible. If they’re non-responsive, an alternative solution is to transfer the link value yourself by implementing a 301 redirect from the old page or misspelled URL to the correct version.
4. Change link locations
Find out which sites link to pages on your site that are blocked from indexing by the search engines (in robots.txt or robots meta tags). Ask those webmasters to link to another more valuable page on your site. You can also go a step further with this strategy by asking for links on specific highly relevant pages with a lot of link equity (use PageRank as a general guide).
5. Turn your site name references into valuable links
Webmasters will often mention your name, business name, or URL but fail to use an actual link back to your site. Search for websites that already mention you. If they haven’t linked to your website, kindly let them know and request that they do so. Use Google Alerts to find these opportunities as they pop up.
Are you in the habit of optimizing your existing links? If not, take a look at the link profile for your site using your Google Webmaster account or tools like SEO Spyglass and Link Diagnosis. You’ll be surprised by how much optimizing you can do using the tips mentioned in this article.
For everyone who has used these strategies before, how big of an impact has optimizing existing links made on your SEO rankings?
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