Lately I’ve been learning about search engine optimisation (SEO) and the many ways you can make your website more appealing to the likes of Google. They say, quite rightly, that the best way to do it is simply by being relevant and trusted by people looking for information on the topic you publish about.
Still, there are things you can do in the background that are worth noting. In particular: linking. If lots of people have a link on their site to yours it tells Google that, ‘I trust this person, therefore so should you’. Google accepts this and ranks your blog higher in search engine result pages.
Of course, this can be done nefariously, either by paying for links or by having fictitious sites link to yours. This is called black-hat SEO, is unethical, and Google penalises sites which use such practices.
One of the ways you can combat this is by adding a rel=“tag” to the code behind the link. When Google’s bots crawl your site they see the link and that you have taken the time to further identify how this link is relevant (or not relevant) to you. Rel=“tags” are used in many ways, one of the things Google is pushing at the moment is authorship tags. If you are registered as an author with your Google Plus account, and have a headshot online, Google will pick that up and put your smiling face next to your articles in any search results you pop up in. Neat idea.
The opposite of all this is rel=“nofollow”, which is a tag you can put on a link that tells Google, ‘for whatever reason, I do not trust this link and/or I don’t want you to attribute any authority to this URL just because I have a link to it on my site’. Google respects that wish.
The rel=“tags” have further expanded. Have a look at how easy wordpress makes it for you to identify the relationships you have to your links:
I often find the prospect of manually inserting code quite confusing, frustrating, and always a little bit daunting. This handy widget has the added benefit of being easy, convenient and safe for those of us who are code-shy.
It’s a big scary internet out there, but here are a couple great SEO sites if you want to learn more:
Now go forth and Link!