Tag Archives: Backlinks

Best WordPress Themes For Writers Feature List Continued

We’ve been looking at what kinds of features and functionality professional freelance writers should look for in a WordPress theme. At first, it can be hard to quantify exactly what a writer needs in a WordPress theme because they sort of all start to blend together and you forget what it was that compelled you to download one theme over another in the first place. Then, as you start to try and actually implement the themes it starts to get clearer. Whenever there is something that a writer can’t do easily with that WordPress writers theme, then you know what features are important.

One feature that is vitally important for any writer looking to make money writing online, is the ability to automatically provide links to other writings. For example, a freelancer writing a WordPress blog about local events as a way to drum up interest from local business, for example, would want that site to link to their freelance writing business website automatically. In this case, adding the homepage of that website to the blogroll or other link list would suffice, but what about really powerful link building?

While many SEO experts offer the misguided advice to be stingy with your links, one should never pass up the opportunity to link for their own benefit. For example, if there was a particular post on your blog that seemed to be attracting a lot of attention and traffic, using that page to link to other pages in your blog will boost that posts as well. This way you don’t end up with a huge website that has only two pages that have a high enough search engine ranking to ever draw any website traffic.

To really take advantage, however, you would also want to link your high PageRank pages and posts from many other places as well. That site about parenting skills could link to articles on your writing site about how to write high school essays that get good grades. Likewise, the writing site could link to an article about parenting tips for dads showing how important good writing skills are.

Doing this within individual posts is useful and essential for long-term search engine optimization power. However, linking to several of the best posts a writer has from all over requires putting those links in the template or widget part of a WordPress theme.

That is why the best WordPress themes for writers must include either a footer that can be used partially for links, or well-configured sidebars that can be filled with widgets full of links. Unfortunately, it seems that too many themes are either designed for AdSense, or designed for those who never want to earn money by writing. Smart writers want themes that are somewhere in between.

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Relevant Backlinks vs Unrelated Backlinks – Does It Matter For Improving Google Search Engine Ranking?

related-links-unrelated-links-comparisson-graphic A lot of information floating around the search engine optimization world is either old news. A lot of the so-called accepted wisdom is based on flimsy, or even non-existent, research. And, much of the search ranking conventional wisdom repeated, again, and again, on websites and blogs isn’t actually relevant to the most common scenarios.

So, when a disagreement between colleagues regarding the importance of relevant backlinks versus backlinks from sites that are not relevant arose, we looked around at trusted resources and found that they all said the same thing. In order for links to be worth counting toward a website or page’s Google PageRank or toward its search engine ranking, they had to come from relevant sites. However, we realized that, oftentimes, this bit of information came coupled with SEO strategies and tips that we knew were no longer true; if they were ever true.

Thus, the question remains. Does it matter that a page’s incoming links come from other websites or webpages that are related to the subject matter that they are linking about?

Google Search Ranking Algorithm

To understand why this question matters, and to be able to use the data found in the answer, it is important to have a basic understanding of Google’s search algorithm that ranks those results you see listed on the page after doing a Google search.

The search results page, or more specifically, the order that links are displayed on the search results page is sometimes known by the acronym SERP or Search Engine Ranking Page. The order those links are displayed in can be very important depending upon what is being searched for, and what the goal of the website on the other end of that search link is. Microsoft’s Bing Search Engine’s blog says that in researching how people use search, they found out that people stopped looking in much detail at the results after #5, and in many cases, after looking at just the top 3 results.

In the online advertising world, Internet marketers claim that the #1 position on a Google search can be worth anywhere from three times as much, to ten times as much traffic as the #2 position. They will also tell you that anything below #10 isn’t worth having, since it won’t be on the first page.

Whether any of this is true or not, is irrelevant to out question here. However, what is important is to know that the results that appear on any given SERP are not listed at random, nor are the listed alphabetically, nor by date, or any other non-discriminatory method. Rather, pages are listed in order based on how well they match up with the term entered into the search box on Google’s home page. These terms are known as keywords, even when they are actually a key phrase.

More accurately, the webpages listed high on Google search results pages are ranked based on how well they score on a secret algorithm that Google uses. The intention of that algorithm is to determine which one of all the webpages that match the query is most likely to provide what the searcher wanted to find. The reality is that a very small number of easily manipulated parameters determine the order from top to bottom of every Google search query.

One of the most important of these parameters is how many links point to a given website using the exact words entered into the search. This is by no means the only criteria, but it is very important.

Obviously, this evaluation can be very easily gamed. A determined webmaster or online ad salesman, need only create a million links on a dozen of his own websites to earn the #1 ranking over more legitimate websites.

Fortunately, the raw number of incoming links, or backlinks, is not the way rankings are scored. In fact, since the paper with the original ranking strategy that led to the found of the Google company and its famous search engine, much time and resources have been devoted toward determining which links should not count, which links should count more, which links should count less, and so on.

Thus, our million link creating Internet Marketer will get nowhere with his strategy.

However, the core of every search ranking improvement effort, or SEM engagement is building more links. They just can’t all come from your own websites, or from just two or three websites, or all from the same article.

Theoretically, one of the criteria for determining how much a link should count for is how much the site providing the link is related to the site receiving the link. The idea is that a website about Credit Cards would be more likely to provide "good" links on topics related to credit cards, like banking, loans, credit scores, and credit card reward programs. On the other hand, a website about plumbing would not be a good source to get information about financial topics.

Whether or not this concept is valid is open for debate. However, virtually any SEO consultant or SEM consultant (or whatever else they call themselves) will tell you that Google believes it, and thus related backlinks count for more than unrelated backlinks.

Do Related Links Count More Than Unrelated Links?

It is technically impossible to ever say with 100% certainty that something does or does not count at all in the Google ranking algorithm. However, what can be demonstrated is what features have so little value that they are easily pushed off of what determines the rankings of webpages under real world conditions.

In this case, it seems that whether or not a link comes from a related webpage or website is of so little value that its affect cannot be replicated in the real world! Instead, a host of other factors carry so much more weight that restricting oneself to only related backlinks is foolish.

That is not to say that getting links from spammy or MFA (Made For AdSense) sites is good. These sites can pass some of their negative marks on to your site, especially when they form a large number of your incoming links. However, a link to your home mortgages website from a legitimate site about Mickey Mouse collectibles will end up being worth every bit as much to your website’s PageRank and search engine rankings, that you shouldn’t bother finding related sites. Instead, just collect all the links you can.

Add those incoming links up with your other SEO optimization efforts, and your site’s rank will increase faster. Soon your website could be a high-ranking Google search result.

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HubPages Author Score – Phase 1 Complete

HubPages-HubRank-Author-Score-Hub-Llama-graphic

Couldn’t really sleep very well, so I got up early this morning and noticed that my HubRank over at HubPages is now over 75. It was showing at 79 when I checked. The reason this is so important is that HubPages nofollows all links from Hubs published by authors with an author score under 75. By hitting that magical number, my links should now be un-nofollowed and therefore building up additional authority for the various pages I have linked out to.

The next step is to build a few more hubs to ensure that my HubRank stays above 75. The HubPages Guide says that there is a "random" element to the scoring, whatever that is supposed to mean. Apparently, HubPages prefers the "fun" of moving scores to the accuracy of legitimate scores, but hey, its their ball.

Monitoring Incoming Links Google Webmaster Tools

Now that my HubScores are high enough and my author ranking is high enough, it is time to start monitoring incoming links to see if and when they show up. There are a ton of tools out there that will count and measure you incoming links. Some of them are free and others costs quite a lot of money. But, in the end, there is only one place that matters when it comes to link building, and that is Google.

If your incoming links are not counted by Google, then they don’t exist.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that every link on the Internet counts toward your PageRank and authority when it comes to Google’s index. Their spider does not index every page of every website every time it visits. One look at your site’s Crawl Stats inside Google’s Webmaster Tools will show you that.

The deeper a backlink is inside of a site, the more likely it is to not be indexed. This is why a lot of automated linkbuilding services don’t work. Sure, they post your links on a site, but they also post 100 other links on that site. As long as your link is on the first page, you are getting full credit. But, when it is buried deep inside of a site that the Google indexing algorithm doesn’t think is worthy of a full crawl, that is a different story.

That’s why I always monitor my website’s incoming links straight from the SERP source. Google’s Webmaster Tools are free and don’t require you to install any code like its Analytics Tools do. (You have to verify that you own a site either by including a meta tag or uploading a file, but that isn’t the same as adding a hunk of JavaScript to your website.)

If you want to check your incoming links at Google without messing around with webmaster tools, you can also just use some of the advanced search operators. Searching on link:www.yoursite.com will list the sites in the index that link to that domain. The drawback to this method is that you have to manually type in every page you want to check – link:www.yoursite.com/page1.htm , link:www.yoursite.com/page2.htm , and so on – versus being able to select multiple pages from a list. As an added benefit, Webmaster Tools lists your pages in order by how many incoming links they have, so if there is a surprise bump in links to a page you might not be manually tracking, you will still see it.

You can check out Google Webmaster Tools here.

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