What Are Backlinks?

Backlinks are links that point back to your websites. The number of backlinks you have is an indication of the popularity or importance of that website.

A search engine considers the content of the sites to determine the QUALITY of a link. When inbound links to your site come from other sites, and those sites have content related to your site, these inbound links are considered more relevant to your site.

Everyone wants their website to get a high ranking on the search engines and there are many ways to go about it. Backlinks is one the most powerful methods. Backlinks are also one of the most dangerous SEO factors to tinker with if you don’t know what you’re doing. Let’s start by taking a look at what backlinks are…

BacklinksWhat Are Backlinks?

Backlinks are links that point back to your websites. The number of backlinks you have is an indication of the popularity or importance of that website.

A search engine considers the content of the sites to determine the QUALITY of a link. When inbound links to your site come from other sites, and those sites have content related to your site, these inbound links are considered more relevant to your site.

For example, if a webmaster has a website about how to get your website on the first page of Google, and received a backlink from another website about SEO, then that would be more relevant in a search engine’s assessment than a link from a site about public speaking.

The more relevant the site is that is linking back to your website, the better the quality of the backlink.  If inbound links are found on sites with unrelated content, they are considered less relevant.

Backlink Bombing

Many webmasters have more than one website. Sometimes these websites are related, sometimes they are not. You have to be careful about interlinking multiple websites on the same IP.

If you own seven related websites, then a link to each of those websites on a page could hurt you, as it may look like to a search engine that you are trying to do something fishy. Many webmasters have tried to manipulate backlinks in this way; and too many links to sites with the same IP address is referred to as backlink bombing.

Anchor Text backlinks

There are different types of backlinks… The links you should focus on are Anchor Text backlinks. Anchor text is the text that is hyperlinked. This text helps Google (and other search engines) know what the site being linked to is about. If you wanted your site to rank in Google for ‘Dog Training’ then the anchor text should be: <a href= “http://www.yoursite.com/” >Dog Training</a>

‘No Follow’

Google doesn’t follow and give weight to every link though, as you sometimes get sites that tell Google not to follow the links on their pages. These sites use a tag know as: ‘NoFollow’ If you view the source code of a page.

It looks like this:
<a rel=“nofollow” href=”http://www.yoursite.com/”>.

‘Do follow’ links – <a rel=“nofollow” href=”http://www.yoursite.com/”> – will give your site weighting. Google counts these links and passes ‘link juice’ onto your site, and ranks it better.

Link Farm

While it is fairly easy to manipulate links on a web page to try to achieve a higher ranking, it is a lot harder to influence a search engine with external backlinks from other websites. This is also a reason why backlinks factor in so highly into a search engine’s algorithm.

Lately, however, a search engine’s criteria for quality inbound links has gotten even tougher, thanks to unscrupulous webmasters trying to achieve these inbound links by deceptive or sneaky techniques, such as with hidden links, or automatically generated pages whose sole purpose is to provide inbound links to websites.

These pages are called link farms, and they are not only disregarded by search engines, but linking to a link farm could get your site banned entirely.

Reciprocal Links

You will probably have to get the word out there about your site. One way webmasters got the word out used to be through reciprocal linking. Many webmasters had agreed upon reciprocal link exchanges, in order to boost their site’s rankings with the sheer number of inbound links. In a link exchange, one webmaster places a link on his website that points to another webmasters website, and vice versa.

Many of these links were simply not relevant, and were just discounted. So while the irrelevant inbound link was ignored, the outbound links still got counted, diluting the relevancy score of many websites .This caused a great many websites to drop off the Google map.

We must be careful with our reciprocal links. There is a Google patent in the works that will deal with not only the popularity of the sites being linked to, but also how trustworthy a site is that you link to from your own website. This will mean that you could get into trouble with the search engine just for linking to a bad apple.

It is helpful to keep track of your backlinks, to know which sites are linking back to you, and how the anchor text of the backlink incorporates keywords relating to your site. A tool to help you keep track of your backlinks is the Domain Stats Tool. This tool displays the backlinks of a domain in Google, Yahoo, and MSN. Another tool to help you with your link building campaign is the Backlink Builder Tool.

You need to have a large number of QUALITY inbound links. This tool searches for websites that have a related theme to your website which are likely to add your link to their website. You specify a particular keyword or keyword phrase, and then the tool seeks out related sites for you. This helps to simplify your backlink building efforts by helping you create quality, relevant backlinks to your site, and making the job easier in the process.

A good tool for helping you find your backlinks and what text is being used to link to your site is the Backlink Anchor Text Analysis Tool. If you find that your site is being linked to from another website, but the anchor text is not being utilized properly, you should request that the website change the anchor text to something incorporating relevant keywords. This will also help boost your quality backlinks score.

How to Enable backlinks on Your WordPress Site

If you use WordPress it has a handy option that will help you to see backlinks to your posts. To enable backlinks on your blog go to your Settings|Comments tab and select Show. Once everything is set up, you’ll see a new link marked “Links to this post” next to the comment link for each post. If you click that link you’ll be taken to the post page, where the backlinks are all listed beneath the comments. Clicking the triangles next to each link will display a snippet of text from the page linking to you, as well as some author and date information.


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Taylor Bare - CEO Founder and Chief Web Developer at TaylorMade Web Presence

Taylor Bare
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Where Do Google Ads Come From?

When you’re in the web development business, you end up doing marketing, whether you want it or not. After all, websites are probably the most effective marketing tools, if done right, that is.

iStock_buy -LargeIf you are marketing to a specific niche, the number of people who are searching Google for exactly what you have to offer may be surprising to you. These are potential customers or clients, looking for a business, service or product just like yours.

Your existing customers will search for your business by name so it is easy to be number one because your business listing will definitely show up in their search results.

When it comes to your PROSPECTS, though, they don’t know your business name, and so, they tend to search by topic -using keywords- and location in which case it’s likely that your business won’t show up… UNLESS you are using Google Ads or organic SEO (more about this later).

This is where Google Ads come in: when your prospects search for the products or services you offer, your ad is eligible to appear on their results page – whether it be in Google Maps, or Google Search.

Google Ads is a paid service. It’s up to you what you pay.  You can set a daily budget you’re comfortable with, and adjust it as you see results. Pay-Per-Click means you only pay when someone actually clicks on your ad for more information. This I like.

Google Ads come from online marketing campaigns to capture prospects that are looking for information savvy business owners easily provide in an ad: “your expertise, a special offer, or the latest, most sought-after product.”

Are you using Google Ads?


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Taylor Bare - CEO Founder and Chief Web Developer at TaylorMade Web Presence

Taylor Bare
CEO | Founder | Chief Web Developer

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Save Time and Headaches with Post Snippets

I don’t know about you, but I can use all the time and hassle saving tools I can get my techno hands on! I just wanted to quickly share one that I love with you. It’s called “Post Snippets” and it’s a very simple but amazingly powerful tool. Post Snippets allows you to create multiple, saved blocks of text and code, then insert them into your posts with shortcode.

I don’t know about you, but I can use all the time and hassle saving tools I can get my techno hands on! I just wanted to quickly share one that I love with you. It’s called “Post Snippets” and it’s a very simple but amazingly powerful tool.

Saves Time and Headaches - Post SnippetsPost Snippets allows you to create multiple, saved blocks of text and code, then insert them into your posts with shortcode. I use it at the end of every post I write by typing [TM] to insert my formatted signature and logo. If I change my logo or update my bio, I just change it in my saved snippet and it’s magically updated throughout all my posts! I love it!

There are so many ways to apply it. Another great use for Post Snippets is ads. Save any ad code you want to place in posts as snippets and insert them on the fly. If you change to a new advertiser just update the snippet and every occurrence of the ad changes.

If you want to check Post Snippets out you can find it here: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/post-snippets/


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Keep LIFE simple,

The TaylorMade Team for

Taylor Bare - CEO Founder and Chief Web Developer at TaylorMade Web Presence

Taylor Bare
CEO | Founder | Chief Web Developer

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Get Canonical! Part 2 – Domains

What is a Canonical Domain?

Most of the time the WWW and non-WWW version of a domain are treated as separate websites, unless you manually specify which version to use.

A canonical domain is one that specifies to the search engines and browsers which version to use.

A similar but separate issue is URL canonicalization, but in this post we will focus on canonical domains.

What’s Wrong with a Non-Canonical Domain?

One of the biggest problems with a non-canonical domain is that some people link to your site using WWW, and some without. This splits the power of your backlinks between the two since the search engines see them as two separate sites, effectively splitting your link juice in half.

A quick and easy way to check your domain is to type in both version and see if one redirects. Or to see it in action just type in google.com without the WWW and you will be redirected to www.google.com.

This affects not only yourdomain.com, but any subpages as well. If half of your incoming links for yourdomain.com/my-page.htm are using WWW, and half are not, the link metrics for that page will be split.

How to fix canonical domain name issues

So what do you do if you don’t have a canonical domain? Here are a three methods you can use to fix domain canonicalization issues.

Method 1 – Edit the .htaccess file

This is the most technical method and you can easily crash your site by doing this, so be careful and make a backup of the .htaccess file!

With this method you will add an Apache re-write rule  to your .htaccess file. In order to do so you will need an FTP client to edit it and you may need to change the settings in your client to show hidden or system files.

You can choose to direct all traffic to the WWW or non-WWW version of your site.

Here is the code to redirect the non-WWW to the WWW version of your site:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^domain.com$
RewriteRule (.*) http://www.domain.com/$1 [R=301,L]

Here is the code to redirect to the non-WWW version:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^domain2.com$
RewriteRule (.*) http://domain2.com/$1 [R=301,L]

Method 2 – Web Hosting

Another way to do it is through your web host. Not all hosts offer the option, but some do. I prefer to use Dreamhost and they have an option in the hosting to redirect to the WWW version, the non-WWW version, or just leave it alone.

This is perhaps the simplest way to make your domain canonical, and it affects all web traffic, unlike the next method.

Method 3 – Google Webmasters Tools

Yet another way is to create a Google Webmaster’s Tools account and tell Google which version you prefer. While this is the least effectigoogle webmasters cannonical domainsve method since it does not fix the issue for other search engines, it’s an easy way to start if you aren’t able to use the previous two methods described.

Another, similar issue you should be aware of and take action to correct are canonical urls. You can read about them in Google’s Webmaster’s Tools Help Section.


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The TaylorMade Team for

Taylor Bare - CEO Founder and Chief Web Developer at TaylorMade Web Presence

Taylor Bare
CEO | Founder | Chief Web Developer

Please note that I may earn a small commission for products, services, and/or programs I review or recommend on my websites. Thank you for your support!

Get Canonical!

Get Canonical URL

One of the most common, and commonly overlooked SEO problems, is url and domain canonicalization. Simply put,  canonical urls are two or more pages with the same or very similar content. The problems arise when you don’t notify the search engines about these pages  using the rel=“canonical” tag, or url re-write rules.

Before I get into the specifics of canonicalization, let’s talk about why you would want to mess with this in the first place. Here are some problems canonical url tags can solve:


Solutions and Benefits of Canonical URLs

  1. You have a page that you don’t want to show up in the SERPs (e.g., a printer friendly version)
  2. You need the Search Engines to know that several different url variations are the same page, and all of the link metrics (trust, authority, link juice, etc.) should flow to a single url (e.g., domain.com, www.domain.com and domain.com/index.htm)
  3. You have different version of the same page (such as sort by price, color, etc.) and you want the Search Engines to know which variation you want to rank

Domain and url canonicalization are two slighlty different beasts for which we will need to use different methods to tame. Let’s focus on canonical urls first.

Putting Canonical URL’s to Work

Let’s say you have an e-commerce page with different sort options. If you had a page for blue fish the url might look something like:

http://yourdomain.com/product.php?item=blue-fish

But then when a customer sorts by price the url becomes:

http://yourdomain.com/product.php?item=blue-fish&sort=price

As far as the search engines are concerned, those are two completely different pages with very similar content, which could lead to duplicate content issues and ranking penalties. Or it could be that your analytics research shows your customers tend to purchase more when they land on the unsorted page. In that case you would want your unsorted page to show up on the SERP to maximize your sales.

To give the search engines a hint as to which page you prefer you can insert a rel=”canonical” attribute in the <head> section of the canonical page. It tells the Search Engines – “Hey, these two pages are basically the same in content, but I prefer this page to show up in the search results.”

To implement this in our example above, you would place this line of code between the <head> and </head> tags on any canonical pages:

<link rel=”canonical” href=”http://yourdomain.com/product.php?item=blue-fish” />

That tells the search engines that the page “../product.php?item=blue-fish” is the master, preferred page.

Don’t forget to check your domain canonicalization as well!

Before you dive into your website’s code to canonicalize all your urls you may want to check out Google’s conical urls guide on the Google Webmasters Central Blog.

Happy canonicalizing!


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Keep LIFE simple,

The TaylorMade Team for

Taylor Bare - CEO Founder and Chief Web Developer at TaylorMade Web Presence

Taylor Bare
CEO | Founder | Chief Web Developer

Please note that I may earn a small commission for products, services, and/or programs I review or recommend on my websites. Thank you for your support!