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The Importance of Links in Search Engine Ranking

Written by Hamish Braddick on April 1st, 2008.      0 comments

Links are currently the single most important component that a search engine uses to rank a website. Incoming links (links to your web page from another website), are highly valued by search engines, as they are difficult for a Webmaster to control and manipulate the ‘results’. Because of this they are considered by the search engines to be genuine indicators as to the true nature of the content of your website. There are three key things that a search engine considers when assessing your incoming links:



How popular is your website? Do you have a lot of people with links to your site? You can check your link popularity by going to:  or



How relevant is the website that is linking to your website? Is its content in some way relevant to your website’s content? Is it in a similar subject space, but slightly different? Is it targeting similar keywords and about similar subjects?


Link Text

The text that is used within the link that is linked to your website is also very important (especially to Google). Try to include your keywords or phrases into the text that is linking to your site. Also think about the text that surrounds the area ‘linked-to’ on your site.

Search engines place a lot of emphasis on high numbers of websites linking to yours (if they’re all ‘deemed’ relevant to what yours is about).

If search engine optimisation is a crucial part of your website promotion then it is well worth spending time and effort on increasing the number of links to your website. The best way to do this is to set up a great website that attracts the interest of other website operators.

Build up a list of target websites that you would like to receive links from and then send an email or letter to their Webmaster or owner. A template for this email is provided below.

Expect a low response rate to these emails. Many Webmasters are very busy and sometimes they are just not concerned with their search engine rankings. However, the results that you can achieve from the extra links to your website can still make the effort worthwhile.


Link exchange template

Hi [Target's Name],

My name is [Insert Name] from [Insert Business Name]. I am currently in the process of working on the search engine rankings for our website and I noticed your website.

We have a website that [insert what your website does here].

I was hoping that you might consider linking to us and would like to invite you to review our website here [insert website address].

Many of the search engines currently place a lot of emphasis on link popularity, and since we both cater to a similar target market, but are not competitors, I believe that we can help each other to gain a better search engine rank by linking to each other’s website.

If you decide that a link to our website is appropriate and worthwhile, then please link to us. Perhaps the following link and description might assist you:
[Your site name and address] - [Your site description].

Please let me know if you would like to proceed and I will set up a link to your website from ours.

Thank you for taking the time to consider this. If you have any further questions or queries please don’t hesitate to contact me.

With regards,
[Insert email signature here]



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Zeald was formed in 2001 by three young guys from the small New Zealand town of Mangawhai Heads. Now, Zeald is the largest website design and digital marketing agency in New Zealand and has recently made moves into Australia. This is the Zeald story …

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