My social media journey - Week 5

Andy Hatcher of The Mapp talks about links and backlinks

Andrew hatcher

(Andy is the MD of  The MAPP Ltd., a company that provides simple visual planning solutions)

“Nonsense and beauty have close connections.” E. M. Forster


Listen to Andy’s interview on Show 20 Mapp-logo-R-80

Summer sloth has set in (plus a bike ride to Paris) which means I have slipped again – but at least the sun’s still out!

Visitor numbers are still rising although only just about up to 243 – Summer affects everyone I am informed… 3 more free account signups which makes 27 in total.
So this week I started to have a look at the world of links – or perhaps more correctly “backlinks”. Now these little critters seem to have a special type of magic when it comes to search engines and what they are really looking for in terms of ranking your site.

Not all links are equal

So simply put, backlinks, which are also sometimes known as ‘inbound links’, are links on other people’s web pages that are directed towards your website. In simple terms if someone else puts a link on their website that links to yours then it means that they have attached some value to your website in association with theirs. And because of this value attachment, the search engines also think that those links are valuable and so give them more credit and assign them a high level of relevance in search results.
So at this point many people go off and get as many links to their site as possible which in itself will no doubt provide some wider presence. As always, however, there is some small print which says that all links are not equal and some are rated as having greater ‘quality’ than others making them more valuable again. This then raises the question about what makes a quality link.

Quality links

Although it is not completely written in stone, the level of quality seems to depend on whether the link comes from a site that has similar or related content to yours. This generally means that these links have been added consciously by the site owner to provide their viewers/users with a better and more comprehensive experience and the search engines naturally prefer this to automated linking which is increasingly frowned upon.
Reciprocal linking (I link to you and you link back to me) seems like a sensible way to develop as long as the partner is a content fit but it seems that Google specifically applies a drag on those sites that have non-relevant links – have a look at Google Penguin for more details.
As a recurring theme, this area also has a little micro-industry of players designed to help you develop your understanding of links. I immediately liked as it gives you an instant report on how well your own site is linked, which surprised me as I found that I already had 28 backlinks in place. Google itself provides help through its own Google Webmaster Console but I haven’t tried that out yet.

Tracking links

Ultimately it is good practice to keep track of your backlinks, to know which sites are linking back to you, and how the text used by the other sites (often called anchor text) uses keywords relating to your site – and yes there are tools for that too such as Back Link Analyst.
So if you are reading this and think that your site might be worth linking to ours then please get in touch as this seems to be the best way to organically develop some presence while providing a better service to all our users!

Follow the progress of The Mapp on Twitter @The_MAPP" target="_blank">@The_MAPP 

Week 4 of Andy’s journey is here

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