Search Engine Optimization. It's something we should all know about if we want our e-commerce websites to actually sell our jewellery instead of sitting on the internet gathering cyberdust, but how many of us start to glaze over at the mention of metadata, keywords and analytics?

In the next of our series on the subtleties of SEO, Lesley H Phillips looks at value of links and the best ways of acquiring them.

Why don’t I get sales or enquiries from my website /online shop?
8 & 9 Link popularity, Links from Social Networks

Despite the Penguin update by Google, links are still a very important factor in SEO. They are deemed to be votes for the popularity of your site.   If no-one votes for your site by linking to it, the search engines don’t think much of it either.   As mentioned before, don’t buy links (link farms), these will be unnatural links and often have no relevance to your site – you could end up with a sex site linking to yours and this would be deemed Black Hat. Too many links, too quickly will be assessed as being unnatural too.  Find sites that are willing to share links or directories that have relevance to you.
You will no doubt have a good quality link from The Guild of Jewellery Designers directory site if you are reading this article.  
Sites are given a PR (Page Rank) by Google.  New sites will be PR0 and Google has a PR value of 10.  It is unlikely that you will ever achieve higher than a PR4. Avoid swapping links with sites which have a lower page rank than yours.  If you have a link to your site from one with a lower page rank, but it is relevant and doesn’t require a backlink, then it is a worthwhile link. It’s probable that the home page of any site will have the highest page rank, so check this as it’s a good indication of the strength of the site overall.
You can check Page Ranks with this tool:
My own site has PR3 and it is likely that I will decline any link swap requests from PR0-PR2 sites as this could actually damage my SEO.  There are naturally exceptions to this rule.  The Guild of Jewellery Designers’ site is a younger than mine and is therefore a PR2. But it is exceptionally informative, innovative, up-to-date and above all 100% relevant to my customers and I – it is for this reason that I include a link on my site to The Guild of Jewellery Designers. The search engines will understand this link and I will not be penalised for it. On the contrary, it will assist my credibility as a jewellery site.

Social networking links. If you have hundreds of hours to spare you could create links from every social network site going… but, you’d never get much time to make your jewellery!  Concentrate on one or two - but do them well. Add something worthwhile weekly and treat your networking sites as if they are a department within your bricks and mortar shop.  Consider the fact that Facebook is PR9 rank /Twitter PR10 /Pinterest PR7 - you will then realise how valuable these social network links are to your website.  It doesn’t matter that people who visit from them aren’t necessarily buying – the link strength is worth the effort alone. By embedding social networking buttons into your website, it enables your users to share your website without you having to be actively involved in that particular social networking site.

Lesley H Phillips

****'A Jeweller's Guide to SEO' - Parts 4 - 7****

****'A Jeweller's Guide to SEO' - Parts 2 & 3****

****'A Jeweller's Guide to SEO' - Part 1****

****Introduction to 'A Jeweller's Guide to SEO' ****

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