Search engine optimization for small and very small businesses.

SEO Blog

Link Building Strategy

A link from a web site that’s related to yours may count more heavily in your favor than a link from a more popular site that’s not related.


When selecting sites to request links from, don’t pick them just based on the traffic they get or how popular they are. Pick them based on their “content match” to your site.

Google’s Sandbox

There’s a phenomenon with Google that’s termed the Sandbox, which is a place where Google sends brand new web sites to play nicely for awhile before allowing them to mingle with the other sites in their rankings. One of the earliest descriptions is from about a year ago in Web Pro News.

What this means is that our initial Keyword Status Report, which we run about two months after submitting a newly optimized site to the search engines, may show disappointing results for brand new sites in Google, AOL, Netscape and some other search engines. Sites that may be newly optimized but which have existed on the Web for some time may not be affected.

We’ve seen sites that caused us some consternation on the initial Keyword Status Report until we checked them again in another couple of months to find that they’d nicely popped up onto the first page in Google.

The moral of the story
If you have a brand new web site, you may need a little something more than good optimization and link building:

Link Text

A piece of advice from the Search Engine Strategies Conference in NYC earlier this month: Don’t request a link for the PageRank benefit: concentrate on the anchor Text.

What that means is this. Very often people request links from pages with high Google PageRank because that link will share a portion of that PageRank score with the page it links to. That’s not nearly as important as making sure you have an important keyword in the “anchor text”. Anchor text is the text that’s actually part of the link. On this page, for example, anchor text is blue and underlined.

A link with a keyword in the anchor text is far better than a link that says something like That link might pass along a little bit of PageRank to the target page, but a link like East Hanover Restaurants does far more – it passes keyword relevance along as well.

Where you rank in any search engine is essentially a function of two variables, relevance and reputation. Relevance has to do with how relevant your page is for the keyword being searched. This is what classic SEO addresses: on-page keyword relevance. The other variable is reputation, which search engines essentially measure by your link popularity. A link with a keyword in the anchor text helps on both accounts.


Don’t request a link just for the PageRank benefit. Concentrate on keywords in the anchor text.

Links gain weight with age (as we all do).

Tip from the Search Engine Strategies Conference:

Links gain power over time

The value of incoming links seems to some of us to increase over time. So get good, solid, keyword rich links pointing to the important pages of your site (not all pointing to your homepage!), and the sooner the better so they have time to improve with age!

Gone Phishing

A recent security threat report from Symantec reveals phishing attacks are up an astounding 366%. “By the end of December 2004, Symantec Brightmail AntiSpam antifraud filters were blocking an average of 33 million phishing attempts per week, up from an average of 9 million per week in July 2004.” Unfortunately, Symantec expects this trend to continue its increase.