Link building is an important part of SEO strategy for most of the popular search engines. Back when Yahoo Japan used its own search engine for the organic search results, massive link building was perceived to be the key to SEO success by many. Now that Google powers Yahoo Japan’s organic search results, it’s a good time to review your linking strategy to make sure you aim to gain the ‘quality links’ that actually bring positive impact. The great thing about these three strategies is that you have control and it won’t cost you anything.
1. Clean up on-site links and re-directs
It’s not a good search user experience when she is looking for specific information, but lands on the home (top) page of the website. If your home page ranks well for all or most of your SEO keywords, it’s usually because the value of links pointing to the home page isn’t passed onto other important pages, and you need to improve your on-site links.
If your home page is linking to other pages, check if:
b) Home page links to too many pages, and each link has little to no value
The home page should link to important pages such as category top pages and product pages so that links are crawlable by the engines. The home page is not a site map, and you don’t need to link to all pages on the site from it.
If the site has gone through several redesigns and restructures, you probably have some broken links and too many chained redirects on site. Use the link checker tools to find and update the broken links on site. Redirect old URLs to new URLs. If you know that you have been chain redirecting, clean them up and redirect from each old URL to the latest URL so that the search engines won’t stop crawling those links for ‘too many redirects’ error.
2. Make good use of friends and family benefit
If your company has multiple websites or brands, be sure that all sites are linked to each other. It’s best to set up each brand and site with a unique domain, and host them separately. It’s even better if you host each language or market site in a targeting country. Since most, if not all, of your sites are targeting the same industry and probably have similar content, you can easily create quality links among relevant content sites that are yours.
Keep in mind that those language/country selection splash pages that you push to first-time visitors don’t help much at all for the link building as those usually don’t have any links from external sites and don’t have any content other than the links. It’s even worse if you push a specific site (language) based on the access location. If your U.K. site is hosted in the U.S., the search engine bot crawling in the U.S. may never see, and therefore never index the U.K. pages.
3. Use your own material
In addition to websites, many companies now have blogs/forums and social media pages as well as publish white papers and reports online, and distribute digital press releases. These provide great opportunities to build quality links between relevant content and the specific related pages on site. Since you own this content, you have complete control over how and where the links are made. However, many of them only link to the home page, or don’t link back to the website at all. It’s almost a crime that this content isn’t utilised well for link building.
By linking from this content to a related page on site, you can create quality links to the site and the pages and direct traffic to the site (first timers and repeaters).
Perhaps a better communication between the SEO team and the department in charge of this content is needed. It’s a good idea to provide an SEO overview explaining the benefits to them and the company to get their buy-in to the strategy.
Stop wasting your time and money to build thousands of links that won’t do much for you. You’d be amazed how much positive impact you see just by implementing the above three strategies.