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Wyoming Business Tips for Feb. 20-Feb. 26


February 14, 2011 — A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (WSBDC), part of WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.

By Elizabeth Parks, Wyoming Entrepreneur Market Research Center market researcher

"Why is it so important to have links to other sites on my website?" Jonathan, Meeteetse

Website linking strategies require attention if a small business owner is trying to increase visibility on the internet. They are often misunderstood so some clarification is needed.

There are two types of linking strategies -- internal and external. Internal links are the navigation links that allow users to navigate through the site. They also are the live links to articles, tables and site maps that are within the site. The often neglected internal links are picked up by search engines (as are external links) and help to increase visibility.

External links are of two kinds. They are the links from your site to others and also are the links leading back to the website from other sites.  Links from your page to other sites are not so important. What is important is having links to your website on others. This is what drives traffic to you.

Link popularity is critical because it gives searchers different ways of navigating to your site. It is like having several "back doors" to web pages instead of relying just on your URL and business name to get people to visit. Having your URL on other websites also gives search engines different ways of indexing you, thus increasing visibility.

The quality of these links is more important than the quantity.  When selecting sites to which you want to be linked, choose ones that not only get lots of traffic, but are credible sites.  The stronger these "back links" to your site are, the better your site will look to indexing bots. 

One way to increase link popularity is to put the site on reputable search engine and business directories. Another is having organizations or associations that are related to your business link to you. Many associations have member lists that are live links -- think about joining associations to get traffic.

Does your large national supplier have live links to distributors on their website? How about a local chamber or tourist bureau? Organizations like these generally get plenty of traffic. If you were listed on their websites, it could increase visitor traffic. Most chamber websites have business directories, but not all have live links to member businesses. If your chamber does not provide live links, suggest it to them.

Here is a free online link popularity checker for websites such as Google, Bing and Yahoo that are picking up as back links to your site -- http://www.linkpopularity.com/

A blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments is available at http://www.wyomingentrepreneur.typepad.com/blog/.

The WSBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming. To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, e-mail wsbdc@uwyo.edu or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY, 82071-3922.

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