inbound links to your website are an important ranking factorThe original purpose of the Internet was to connect people to information and so website links were born.

Those once blue, once underlined, collections of letters, characters and numbers were there from the start and they have never gone away. They might have changed colour, they may not be underlined anymore, but they are still just as important as they ever were … and Google loves them.

For Google, every link is a vote in favour of the site that the link points to and, at one stage, Google placed a huge amount of importance on those links.

The level of that importance has decreased over the years as people found more and more ways of using links to trick Google and make Google think that a website was more important than it really is.

Links are still important

Today, even though Google does not place a huge amount of importance on links, they are still an important ranking factor for your website.

However, not every link carries the same weight. In the past any old link was worth something but today your website needs inbound links from trusted and relevant websites.

And those three words are the most important thing to remember when you’re thinking about links for your website. They must come from trusted and relevant websites.

Links must come from TRUSTED AND RELEVANT websites

If you’re running a plumbing business in Hervey Bay, and you have links coming to your website from the Karachi Times or the Rawalpindi Gazette then you have links but they may not be trusted and certainly aren’t relevant … how many people in Karachi or Rawalpindi need a plumber in Hervey Bay?

Links like that have no positive impact on your website and may have quite the opposite result for Google does see links that aren’t relevant … or trusted … as a negative when it comes to ranking your website.

A link that would have a positive effect on your plumbing website would be a link from an Australian trade organisation or a supplier. A link from Yellow Pages or Local Directories would also be seen as a link from a trusted and relevant website.

Unfortunately obtaining links from trusted and relevant websites is not an easy job. You can pick some up quite easily but others take time and patience and so there are people out there who will offer to obtain those links for you.

Be careful who you employ to build your links

Be very careful if you do decide to hire someone to obtain links for you. Anyone can gather huge numbers of links that have no positive value at all and that’s what many people do. They charge you very attractive rates but deliver nothing but a load of negative-value links.

Genuine link builders take time and charge a lot of money for their services and their results can seem meagre in comparison to those who offer you lots of links for little money. But don’t be fooled because large amounts of irrelevant inbound links can do serious damage to your search engine rankings and getting rid of those crappy links is another costly job that needs an expert.

Avoid outbound links if you run a business

Before I finish this I should talk about outbound links. Google definitely does like to see your website linking out to trusted and relevant websites but every time you link out to some other website you’re encouraging people to leave your website before they have done business with you.

If you’re selling a service or a product then we would encourage you to get as many relevant and trusted inbound links as you can find but don’t link out to anyone. Of course, there are exceptions to that “rule” but, in most cases, outbound links will do nothing positive for your business.