Monday, August 18, 2008

SEO: Do you need a links page?

One of the more troubling things I see folks do with their sites is get involved in "link exchanges." I'm sure you've seen this - a business owner becomes part of a network of other business owners, and in the interest of building SEO for the group, they create a page on their site that has a link to every other business owner's site on it - regardless of whether that business is in any way related to their own. Great idea, right?

The fact is, those pages don't really do that much for anyone's search rankings - in fact, it could hurt you more than it helps. Search engines look for quality incoming links, which means links from reputable sites that are related to the subject matter at hand. If you have a page full of random links that exist on the page for no other reason than they belong to the same organization as you, they just don't count as quality links.

In addition, think of what you're doing here. By putting these links on your site, you're essentially recommending this other person's business, regardless of whether you have any direct experience with them. So let's say that someone finds another company's website through yours, deals with them and has a horrible experience. They decided to work with them, essentially, on your recommendation. What does that say about you?

The best way to get quality incoming links is by becoming active online - forums, blogs, e-mail lists and social networking sites are all ways to create quality links to your website just by wasting a bit of time on the Internet. There are new social networks created every day - find a few that are relevant to your business, create a profile with a link to your site and a blurb about What You Do, and see if you can start a conversation with a couple of the members. It's a bit time-consuming, yes, but it's easy, and it's much more effective than throwing a bunch of random links pages up.

No comments: