By Andrea Greene, Internet Marketing Specialist

Often when considering how to raise a website’s rankings in the search engines, one crucial factor is overlooked: Links. Search engines have become flooded with websites vying for top placement and many are utilizing unconventional ways to get there. Now, the search engines rely more on page content and links to your website for many reasons, notably:

Quality & Validity – Be sure your website contains legitimate content that would be useful to searchers. According to a popular search engine resource, Search Engine Watch, “Having websites that are experts in your field or subject area link to you notifies search engines that you are likely a valuable source of information and highly relevant to the keyword phrases that characterize your site.”

Popularity – Google rates websites according to “popularity” or PR (Page Rank) which is determined by how many other qualified websites link to your website versus the number of links to your competitors.

Overall Internet Penetration – Try not to think about acquiring links to your website merely for increasing search engine rankings. Rather, think of it as an avenue for trying to attract people in your demographic from venues other than search engines where they would be interested in finding your website (and of course, the products you sell). An example would be a recipe website listing you as a resource for this niche product.

You do not have to acquire hundreds of links to achieve higher search engine rankings, however, a handful of high-quality links are worth more than a thousand Free-for-All links.