Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the art of optimizing your website, so that it can be found for relevant search terms on search engines, such as Google. While there are many items to consider, the most fundamental step is to build backlinks – hyperlinks that are directed back to your website.
Alas, building backlinks is not so simple because not all links are created equally. In fact, some are virtually useless in building your PageRank (PR) – Google’s way of ranking websites.
PR is a measurement for a website’s influence or priority. The higher the PR, the more powerful it is. The lower the PR, the less powerful it is … or the less “Google Juice.”
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In order to build your PageRank, you must find two types of links.
- topically relevant links
- rel=”follow” links
Topically Relevant Links
Topically relevant links are links that pertain to the same content as your website. Remember that Google’s goal is to display websites that are relevant to a search term.
For example, let’s pretend that you’re a photographer. Therefore, it is important to get links from photography related websites. It won’t help much if you have links from a bicycle shop. This goes the same for all other types of websites.
A rel=”follow” link is a link that tells Google or search engines that said website vouches for the destination website. By default, all links are this type, even if not specified.
People add a “nofollow” code for two reasons. First, people might not want to share their PR, so they will put a special code in their links that tell search engines to not follow or share their Google Juice.
Second, people might be unsure of the link’s destination site. A link to a website with negative elements (e.g., porno website) may lead to a banning of your website from search results, so “stranger danger!” Ultimately, a link is considered a vote or vouch, so be wary.
An example of a “nofollow” code would look like the following:
<a href=”http://www.yourwebsite.com” rel=”nofollow”>Link</a>
The rel=”nofollow” tag in the link code does not transfer any PR. This is important to consider for yourself when linking to others. If you do not want to share your Google Juice or are unsure of the destination site’s integrity, add that code in your HTML.
To see whether someone put a “nofollow” tag on links, you have to view the source code for the website. To do so, right click in the browser and hit “view source.”
Source code is the raw content of a website. Next, search the link you’re examining and see if there is a “nofollow” tag in the code (like aforementioned).
It’s critical to consider this when trying to increase backlinks. Gaining nofollow links does not help you with PR. Facebook, for example, has a nofollow tag in all of their outbound links. So, it’s fruitless to get any links from them if you’re trying to increase your PR.
Similarly, Pinterest adds a nofollow tag in their links. It doesn’t mean that they’re not worth investing time into. Traffic is still traffic.
All in all, do your research and spend your time wisely when building links!
This is a guest post by Lawrence Chan , a marketing strategist for smart photographers.
While he authors a blog, the ultimate pricing and SEO e-books, and a real book, unlike tofu, he sometimes wishes he could figuratively eat a book. His propensity for eating and reading, sometimes reading about eating, has been a wonderful precursor for ideas in marketing. He so happens to be a photographer. Market smartly.