First of all:
1.Read http://www.abakus-internet-marketing.de/en/seo-tutorial/grundlag.htm. it will answer man questions. Keep in mind, that it is older an does not go into depth.
2. Read http://www.sistrix.de/ranking-faktoren/ (it is in German – you need to use the help of Google-translator (or any other) at http://www.google.de/language_tools
3. Read http://www.seomoz.org/blog/my-personal-opinion-90-of-the-rankings-equation-lies-in-these-4-factors
4. read http://www.seomoz.org/article/search-ranking-factors
5. On-Page SEO will be part of another topic later. Let us leave all on-Page factors away. Let us reduce all we read above on some simple rules:
a.) We need as many incoming links as possible for our website.
b.) The higher the Quality of this incoming links – the better
c.) We have to respect the filters of main search engines against too fast ranking plus with too fast growth of incoming links.
What is a Link in our terms?
A link is every part in a source-code starting with <a href=”http://www.yourdomain.com ... which a bot of Google or an other search engine can read. Such a link is a reference to your side. It is a positive vote in eyes of search engines for your Domain.
Beware of traps!
Not everything, what looks like a good link is a real one. Beware of some technical rules, that make a link, which is in first view a good one, to a not counted one – an while not counted a useless one.
a.) “Nofollow tag” – about 2 Years ago, Google an other search engines announced, that they consider Links with rel=”nofollow” as NO VOTE for your side. Check the sides you want to place a link from always for the nofollow atr. The easiest way to do that is to use a plug-in for Mozilla (called Search status http://www.quirk.biz/searchstatus/) you need to enable the function “highlight Nofollow links” and you will see, that already many links have such a tag. “nofollow links” are useless for us.
b.) robots.txt or Meta Tag – noindex, nofollow disallows the search engine to visit the page – so search engine cannot find the link and cannot count it. As far as I know, after installed searchstatus, you will see the closed links by meta-tags also as highlighted.
c.) Redirected Links – in some cases you will not find a direct link but a masqued one. They look like <a href=http://www.thedomainwherethelinkispubplished.com?jump.php+variable. Such links are not only useless, they can be dangerous for your domain. They usually use some redirects. A 301 redirect would be acceptable in case of danger, a 302 could be the dead of your domain (if you are interested in question “why” please do Google research for “domain hijacking”). If you see such redirects, you can leave your fingers away from the link.
e.) Always take care, that the page, where the link shall come from is indexed by Google or will be indexed. You can find out, if it is with a simple request in Google search-window. Type in cache:www.theurlwherethelinkcomesfrom.com/thespeificlinkpage.html. (http://google.com/search?q=cache%3Awww.theurlwherethelinkcomesfrom.com%2Fthespeificlinkpage.html&btnG=Google-Suche&meta=). If no cache – bad. If the special side is very young (e.g. blogpost from today), it might take some time, until its indexed. If the special page is old – it probably will not appear any more in Google-Cache. Pages, which are not cached, will not have a reference, which is counted by Google or the other search engines.
How can I raise the quality of a link?
First of all: Every link (which is not a trap like described above) is a good link. If you can get it, take it in any way you can! If you have the possibility to decide about the view of a link and its position, you can raise the quality. There are following basic rules:
a.) A textlink is always better then a picture link.
b.) If you can have a textlink, try to get the main keyword you want to have for your domain. (e.g. <a href=http://www.mydomain.com/>Travel guide moon</a>. This so called Linktext will tell the search engine, what your side is about. You will improve ranking for this special keyword posted there. If you can only have the URL or an other text, its fine also. Sometimes you have the chance to add also a title or alt to the link (e.g. <a href=http://www.mydomain.com/ title=”travel guide moon”>Travel guide moon</a>. If you can have, try to get the main keyword as well. At least at one of them.
c.) If you need to get a picture link, try to get a Title for the link or a title for the picture with your favourite keywords.
d.) The higher the link is in source-code – the higher the value of the link on that page. If your link would be the first a search engine would find after the start of the <body>, the link has a better value then one, which is the last a search engine would find before it closes </body>
e.) A single link inside a text is better then a link from a footer or from a group of links somewhere in navigation or end of the text.
f.) Look at the direct surrounding of your link. Are there other Links? Many? You maybe even get lost in the many other links. On the page are ONLY links? The more links one the page or in your direct surrounding, the les quality your link will have. Try always to be the first and only – if possible. If no other chance, take also the link from page with 1000 others –it just has a lower value and you will need much more for similar effects.
g.) From one domain, you need only ONE Link. Google will count only the first he will find. There are sometimes reasons to post many links from same domains (f.e. at social Bookmark pages) – but keep in mind, that only one will be counted. You will need a high Link popularity (means many links at all), a high Domain popularity (means many links form different domains) and a high IP-Popularity (means links from different IPs.
h.) The better reputation the link giving domain has (e.g. look for “domain trust” or “high PR domain” in Google), the better quality will be there for the link. Counted is always not the main index page – but the page from where your link will come. But the main index-page can give you an impression, if the domain has got n value. Look for its Page rank.
i.) The closer the topic of the link giving Domain, the better the quality of a link. How to define, if a topic is close? Well – just imagine, if a regular user would click the link, as it is maybe an addition for the described topic on that page. If a user wants to inform himself about insurances, it is probably not in his interest to click a link with Linktext “Cheap Hotels in California”.
j.) Links from Websites in the language of the target website are better then links from other languages. So if you want to promote a Russian page – look first of all for links with Cyrillic.
Shall I place my links to domain or also as deeplinks deep into structure?
To which place on your domain a link will point will not make a big difference. With creating links for your domain, you will strengthen the domain at all. BUT: It makes big sense to Deeplink!!! You give the search engine additional chances to find you! Sure, the index page always should be the strongest Page ... so it should get a majority of links. But especially if you are able to set a Linktext (like described above), you can give the search engine a new keyword for your domains pages. Lets say, you are selling teddy bears on your domain – an as far as you could, you added links with link texts “teddy bear” for your main page. But you have also a sub page /puh-the-bear-teddy.html. So it will help your sub page to rank good, if you link from time to time directly to this page with Linktext Puh the Bear. You see – “Teddy bear” an “Puh the bear” are different keywords – if you want to rank for both, it make sense to give the search engines such hints ...
Where do I find possibility to post links for my domains?
The internet is based on links between the websites. But usually a webmaster does not give the control to link out of the hands. So you first need to look for Sources where User can generate content – including links. If you will go out through internet, you will find many, many websites, which offer possibility to add profiles with links or texts with links or just links. Many webmasters are to lazy to generate there own content.
We will suggest some basic sources:
a.) Web directories – Web directories do usually have a very low quality of the links – but the good thing is, there are millions of them. Millions of low quality links will also make a strong domain. Some directories are very much positive, if a listing is possible – I want to point here first of all to the dmoz.org directory.
b.) Social Media, Social Bookmarks – they are upraising in the last two years. The officially give the possibility to save and share your Bookmarks online. Do it – share the link to your domain! Some of those SB-Services are a great opportunity to place deeplinks. They are easy to submit – will not bring big benefits – but as said above – a million small links ill make every domain strong.
c.) Rss-directories – if you use news on your domains (what you should do!), rss directories are a cool possibility for fast and easy links.
d.) You are using Forums? Even when many forums already have the nofollow-tag – some might be with cool links.
e.) Blogs are usually offering possibility for comments. Beware: its not nice to post just some bullshit to add a link. And also Blog owners mostly delete postings from guys called “Cheap insurance online” and just wish “good luck with your Blog. But: If you having to say something, using your name, the chance is good, that you can get some nice additional links.
f.) You are writing for some (popular) support forums or Blogs or similar sources? Usually it is nice, if you will show examples of your work via link.
g.) Web 2.0 Portales like “squidoo.com” – thy encourage you to add content and Links. Well, they tell, you will earn much money while creating their content – but you know, that this link will help your website to become popular among the search results.
h.) Article-publishing – Just for SEOs, who want to publish their keyword-text-link in a good content-area. This links are a bit more expensive – as you also have to provide the text to link from. The public trap: Articles will be published on many, many portals. The problem is: Google will find out, that it is double content and will kick many of them out of its cache. So: Published articles not in cache are useless (look above).
You will get many, many offers for link exchange. Exchanging links with other websites is a giving and taking. In best case, each of the two gets the same. It usually requires much of negotiation about places for the links and so on. I found out, that such link exchange is really expensive – as you need much time for the communication. In the end, we will also need some link exchange – but I would suggest to start with it only, if the offer is interesting an many of the links you can get for free are there already....