In my last blog post I showed how Google was still weighing links as the primary factor in their ranking algorithm. From the comments added to the post, I was far from alone in my assessment of Google's algorithm.
So if links are the primary means of ranking in Google, then it's important to get a lot of links coming into your site. You may already be doing this, but it's possible that your links are being wasted.
How so? If you're submitting articles to a lot of "lesser" article directories (such as those often included in automatic submission software), or making posts to blog networks, or submitting your site to link directories, the odds are that at least some of your links aren't ever counted by Google -- perhaps even the majority of those links.
You see, just because a page exists on the web doesn't mean that Google will automatically add the page to their index. For sites that are very popular, and have a huge number of incoming links, it's a safe bet that any pages you have on those sites are being indexed and your links counted. This is true for major article directories like EzineArticles and ArticlesBase.
But the "lesser" sites, with fewer incoming links (which is often indicated by a lower PageRank on the site's home page) don't automatically get all of their pages indexed. Google will index quite a few pages even on these "lesser" sites (at least a few hundred), but many of these directories have thousands, or even tens of thousands, of pages -- the majority of which never make it into the index. If your link is on one of those unindexed pages, then Google isn't counting the link back to your site in your ranking.
Fear not, though. You can overcome this problem fairly easily. All it takes to ensure that your pages get indexed is to make sure the pages your links are on have incoming links of their own. Yes, you have to get links to your links! But they have to be links that Google will see and crawl.
There are a couple of ways you can do this:
1. Create an RSS feed and ping it.
There are a number of services that will host an RSS feed of the urls you provide for free. Or you can create and upload the RSS feed to your own site. Then submit the feed to a pinging service like PingOmatic, which will get your feed crawled and indexed on a number of popular feed sites. That will draw Google's attention and usually ensures that the pages in your RSS feed get crawled and indexed.
2. Manually build links to your links pages.
You can manually build links to your "lesser" links pages in order to get them indexed as well. One way of accomplishing this is creating a Blogger blog (or WordPress.com blog) and posting content to the blog that links to the "lesser" pages. Blogger is heavily crawled by Google, and is a sure-fire way to get your links pages noticed and indexed. WordPress automatically submits posts to PingOMatic, and that, too, will draw Google's attention and usually get your links pages indexed.
3. Use an automated indexing service.
This is my preferred method of ensuring all of my linking pages get indexed by Google. Rather than building and pinging RSS feeds, or manually building blog pages that link to my links, I just submit them to an indexing service. The indexing services let you submit the pages you want to get indexed, and they typically will post your url on high PR blogs and social networks, etc., in order to make sure that your links pages get indexed.
Not all of these services are created equal, though. Some work okay, some work well, and some don't work much better than doing nothing at all. I'm currently testing a newer service, and I have to say, so far I'm very impressed with it. If you're on my email list I'll be sending out a mailer once I have some longer-term data to pull from, but I am definitely seeing a much higher rate of indexing using this new service than I was before -- and it's translating into better rankings in Google without having to acquire new links.
I prefer the automated solution because it saves me loads of time and effort, but of course it's not free, whereas the other two options you can do for yourself at little or no cost.
So if you're wondering why your sites aren't ranking well even though you've made hundreds (or even thousands) of submissions to the directories, chances are those pages aren't getting indexed. With a little elbow grease, or a subscription to a solid indexing service, you can turn all of that around.
Please post your thoughts and questions in a comment below.