In terms of Human Evolution, everyone’s heard of the hypothetical ‘Missing Link’ right? But there really isn’t any such thing, because in order to have a ‘link’ at all you need a chain. If there’s a gap somewhere on the chain, then you have a missing link. But the evolutionary process looks more like a massive tree with its endless branches all spilling off in numerous directions. So if a ‘branch’ happens to break off or fade away into nothing special, no big deal . . . the tree keeps on growing nonetheless, with lost of other branches forming as it goes.
It helps to use the same ‘tree/branch’ analogy when thinking about all your SEO cross-links as well. Yeah it would be a tad regretful if one of them unfortunately failed to deliver, but loosing one measly link won’t really harm the key ‘organism’ itself, that being your business. Luckily you’ve got a whole slew of other link-related branches all doing their individual jobs to help keep that business of yours booming.
There’s basically 3 main types of links used in SEO: Internal Links, External/Outbound Links, and Backlinks.
Internal Links: These are links pointing to web pages within one site. Although external links are usually thought of as more valuable than internal links, internal links are still vital to your success. You need to link your articles in order to make it easy for the search crawlers to “read” your content and to make it possible for the visitors to spend more time on a site. Keeping visitors on your site will in-turn increase the probability of their clicking an ad, generating sales by buying one of your products, or maybe even signing up for the site by subscribing with an email account.
External Links: As you might expect, these are links pointing to other websites. In layman’s terms, if another website links to you, this is considered an external link to your site. Similarly, if you link out to another website, this is also considered an external link. Not surprisingly, most believe that getting external links is the single most important objective for attaining high rankings. This stems from the idea that external links are one of the hardest metric to manipulate and thus one of the best ways for search engines to determine the popularity of a given web page. Think of it this way: what others say about you is more important than what you say about yourself. So yeah, these are gold.
Backlinks: A Backlink is a link back to your website. So for example if you were to link back to, say Facebook, from your website then that would be a backlink to Facebook. Backlinks are extremely important in SEO: They show a site’s popularity; they function as doorways to your site; they drive direct traffic. The more backlinks you have from other web sites, the better it is for you and your business because search engines like Google and Yahoo will recognize those links as a sort of ‘thumbs up’ for your specific content and consequently place you higher on search engine result pages.
Think of your website as like a tiny city but on the Internet. Like any of the best on Earth, a well developed city will have scores of roads, interstates, airports, and all types of other different, convenient ways of getting in and out of the city. In the exact same way, your website needs similar avenues as well. The busier the city, the better chance it has at becoming a bone fide Metropolis, teeming with activity and excitement.
Stay tuned for another up-coming post SEO In Depth: Your Missing Links Part 2, where I’ll talk about some of the ‘lesser’ known SEO links like Organic, Anchor and One Way links.