Saturday, February 12, 2011

SEO Made Easy: The Importance of Being Earnestly Linked

When I started my online shop on Etsy, little did I know that I would also start a little online empire. For years, I owned a website which chugged along happily on a small railroad track in the middle of Siberia. Nevertheless, it got some people where they needed to go.

Then, I learned that in order to own a successful online shop, I would have to promote actively online. Thus my journey began and, I started to develop my little online empire. I joined Facebook, opened a fan page, I flickered, I followed blogs, and I even started my own blog (actually two, but I won’t bore you with the details).

“Why?” you ask. (A question I ask myself every day). Actually the answer is quite simple. I created my online empire so that I could create good links back to my online shop. 

For those of you out there who think that the only reason you are blogging, facebooking, and twittering is so that you can create followers who will worship you and then buy your wares, I have news for you. That is only part of the reason you are doing what you are doing. The other reason is called back links.

Definition
What is a back link? It is a link to your website via a back door, not the front door. If entering your online shop via the front door is by someone typing your “www.shopname.etsy.com” or “www. yourownempire.com” on Google; then, entering your online shop via the back door is by someone clicking on a link from someplace else on the web to get inside your online shop. A back link.

Why do you need back links?
You need them to impress Goggle and get better SEO (search engine optimization for those of you who fell asleep during the first three lectures) for your website. Imagine Google as the new nerdy kid in school. He does not know anyone, and even the geek squad won’t let him sit at their lunch table. He is easily impressed with whom he perceives as the cool and popular kids. He wants to be friends with them. How does he figure out who the cool kids are? 

They are the kids most talked about. Other kids are texting about them; there is cool graffiti about them; even the school paper have articles about these cool and popular kids.
Back links are like internet chatter to Google. The more Google sees that your website is being mentioned, the more Google thinks your website is popular. If Google thinks you are popular, it decides more people should see you. Then, Google will place your website higher in the search results page.

Lesson 1: Links from other sites which lead back to your website are called back links. More back links mean more mentions about you on the world wide web. Google translates this as you being cool and popular. Being cool and popular means Google will want to be your friend.

Quantity and Quality
So, Google, the nerd, really wants to be friends with the popular kids. He can only rely on hearsay since has no friends. However, Google has to decide which chatter is more important: the graffiti on the wall, the text messages, or the articles on the school paper. He gives more importance to the more reliable source.

Similarly, Google has to decide which back links are more reliable and more important. If you are just starting out many or quantity back links are good. But what you really want, in order to rule your back link universe, are quality back links.

What determines a quality back link?
Relevance (def. "connected with the matter in hand; pertinent" from www.dictionary.com). If your back links are located on a site which have relevant content to your online shop or website, then Google will consider these quality back links.

Lesson 2: Quality back links mean relevance. Google likes relevance. Keep your back links relevant, earnest and therefore important to Google.

How do you get relevant and earnest back links?
Two ways: create them yourself and have others create them for you. Again, very obvious.

Links You Create
Remember the little online empire I built? If no one is linking to your online shop, then, create content on other websites which will “inadvertently” mention your shop name, have a link to your shop or product, and be relevant to your shop.

An example is my Facebook Fan Page.
Back link 1: Here is a new pink heart necklace I made. Look!
Back link 2: My earrings are in a treasury of other cool Etsy stuff.
Back link 3: Vote! Which picture should I use as #1 for my jewelry listing.

These are great earnest back links coming from another website but solely created by me. Google likes the relevance and I love the attention. A win-win.

Links Other People Create
If online sites are not banging down your shop door to link to you, then, start knocking on their doors. Write articles and get them published on websites and blogs. Choose websites which are relevant to your online shop. What determines relevance? Similar content and keywords. For example, if you are selling hand knit baby clothes, you can post a blog on a mom-based website that talks about babies and their clothes. You can also post an article about different yarn types on a knitting website. Their keywords will be close to yours, and their content will be pertinent to your back links.

Lesson 3: Create your own web content to create earnest back links.

Playing With The Big Boys
There is no argument that the coolness factor of having your back links on Martha Stewart's blog or the Good Morning America website is off the charts super cool. Like as cool as climbing Mount Everest or flying solo over the Pacific. But guess what? The coolness factor does not stop there. Google likes back links which are on high ranking websites. Since we can pretty much assume that these sites are ranked number one in their respective categories, then having your back links on these sites will garner you some major coolness points with Google. Basically, Google sees you hanging with the big boys and Google will assume you are cool too.

Okay, dream over. So, you know that you don’t need to wait for GMA or Martha Stewart to actually call you. You can guest write on any website or blog that are ranked higher than your website. You will still get coolness points from Google. Getting published on a blog ranked well on Google and creating back links inside your article are great ways to improve your SEO which will lead to getting your website or online shop found.

Lesson 4: Google is easily impressed by highly ranked websites, so get your back links placed on sites which rank high on Google. This will increase your coolness factor for Google.

The Importance of Words
Believe it or not, the words that you use to create your back links are also extremely important to Google. This is commonly referred to as “anchor text”. What is it again? The anchor text is the actual word or phrase which you click to access the link.

Example: this is my online shop Fine Heart.

The words "Fine Heart" is the anchor text. If you click on that text, it will bring you to my Etsy jewelry shop. However, a better anchor text to use for my back link is handcrafted fine jewelry.

Did you see what I did there? I used a keyword phrase as the anchor text to my back link. Why? Because as usual, Google likes relevance and being obvious. If you are linking to a jewelry shop and Google sees the word "jewelry" in the anchor text for your back link, then it will know that the back link is highly relevant and pertinent, and therefore earnest and important.

Lesson 5: Use anchor text which is closely related to your website’s keyword phrase in order to tell Google that your back link is relevant to the web address you are linking to.

In Conclusion.
Back links are just links back to your website. Quantity back links are good, but quality back links are better. A quality back link means having links placed on websites which are relevant to where you are linking to. High-ranking websites are like the cool kids to Google, the nerd. Hang with the cool kids and your coolness factor will increase. Increased coolness factor means improved SEO. Improved SEO means your online shop will be found.

20 comments:

  1. TY for yet another interesting "lesson"

    I was wondering...do comments count like back links if you have your shop/blog linked to your name? :D

    ReplyDelete
  2. This series of articles are so helpful and easy to understand! I really appreciate those who have experience in these things! Maybe you could have an article with questions and answers?

    ReplyDelete
  3. @ Tirabaralla. Yes, comments on blogs do count as backlinks if you sign your name and your name leads to your blog or shop. Google will only give points to where it is leading to. Google will also give more points to comments left on more relevant sites to yours. Blog = blog, get it? :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. @primalpainter. Great idea. I will figure out a way to do this. Right now the best way to get a question and answer session is to start a thread on the Etsy Forums and add a link to the SEO posts. When I started a Forum discussion on SEO and linked the article, Etsy moved my post to Promotions (which now no longer exists). But, I'll pop in and answer questions there if you want.

    ReplyDelete
  5. You have shared very useful blog and i read it and got very good points from your blog. I need some strategies for search engine marketing, creative design
    services
    . I appreciate your blog and your time and efforts which you have spent to create the best blog .
    Thanks for sharing.
    Search Engine Marketing Company

    ReplyDelete
  6. Excellent series of articles! While I thought I knew about SEO, you filled in the blanks in terms anyone can understand! Thank you again.

    ReplyDelete
  7. This is great information! I have been doing a lot of research and the cool kid analogy was very helpful! Thanks! :)
    How do I post a backlink on a blog comment?

    Danna
    www.uniquescrapdesigns.com
    www.uniquescrapdesigns.etsy.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. maybe if you add the full address like this?

      http://www.etsy.com/shop/seedandsky

      Delete
    2. nope, that doesn't seem to be a live link either...

      Delete
    3. Check this out:
      http://easyhyperlinks.com/

      Karen at Bridgit's Bell

      Delete
  8. Hi FineHeart! I am so appreciative of your explanation on this! I am new to etsy and need all the help I can get! I have an idea!!! I think it would be a great idea to start a "Back Link Team" on etsy where everyone helps each other out by letting others put back links on their websites, blogs,facebook,etsy,etc. Since you are the pro, what do you think about this?
    Thanks again,Deanna
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/PeaceByPeaceJewelry

    ReplyDelete
  9. Terrific article!

    Please check out my Exquisite Handmade Jewelry

    Lynn
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/lynnbirdsall

    ReplyDelete
  10. SEO is one of the best techniques that is required for any kind of business website because without website visibility there is no chance to increase sales.

    seorocketrank-seo service

    ReplyDelete
  11. Great information! Thank you!
    Here is a new rustic wedding guest book i made!

    ReplyDelete
  12. It is so important for handmade stallholders to be found easily in search engine results. These tips are gold - I hope you keep posting in 2014.

    ReplyDelete