You may already know that backlinks to your website serve as votes of confidence. The more incoming links to your site, the more important you become in Google’s eyes as it assumes you have high quality content. Or does it? Turns out backlinks aren’t that simple. Before you embark on a linkbuilding campaign, consider the factors that influence the value and quality of those links.
1) What is the PageRank of the linking page?
Google uses a ranking system called PageRank to assign value to individual web pages. The higher the PageRank of the linking site, the more authority that gets passed on to yours. Some say only “dofollow” links pass such link juice, but others say even “nofollow” links have value. I tend to agree with the latter.
2) Is the page or website relevant to your site?
Backlinks from websites in your own niche are much more weighty than links from unrelated sites, especially general article directory sites. Perhaps Google thinks websites that focus on a specific topic are more likely to have authority on that than sites that have no central focus. When building links, therefore, choose sites that are connected to your subject. If you have a choice between a general directory type of a site (or else a rambling sort of blog) and a focused niche site, it’s usually better to pick the latter. Not only are these links more valuable from the SEO perspective, you are also more likely to get targeted visits from people coming via those links.
3) What is the anchor text in the backlink?
Anchor text is one of the most highly regarded factors in linkbuilding, and this is justified up to a point. Anchor text refers to the readable text that contains the clickable hyperlink to your site. An example would be “unblock Facebook home page” where the phrase is the anchor text and the URL itself is the link. You want to use relevant keywords in your anchor text because it’s one way Google determines what the page is about. If you want to rank for “lego building ideas” then you use that and similar keywords.
4) Is the text surrounding the backlink filled with related keywords?
Another way search engines judge link relevance is by looking at the keywords in the text of the linking page. If the linking page contains keywords about small businesses and your site is about the same thing, the link carries more worth. But if your site is about car insurance and you get a backlink from a page filled with references to social media, the link is far less significant. Keep this in mind when posting blog comments with backlinks to your site.
5) How old is the page that contains the backlink?
Google is known for its love of old domains and web pages. Generally we can expect a site to have more authority the longer it has been around online. It’s not easy to get links from very old pages such as the home page of a website, though. If you get links via guest posts, for example, your link will come from a new page. The good news is, your backlinks should grow more valuable over time as they age.
6) How many domains do the backlinks come from?
Now consider the number of websites that link to you. That is, unique domains. It is okay to get five links from the same site, but it would be better to get as many links from various quality domains as possible. This makes your link profile look more natural and credible. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to get more than one link per domain though. It can be beneficial to write several articles for the same site, thus earning trust and favor with that site.
7) What is the overall quality of your backlinks?
You should periodically examine the value of your backlinks combined. A high number of links from low quality sites is worthless. You would rather get links from quality sites in your niche, even if it takes longer to get them. I’m not saying you should ignore every PR0-PR1 site you run into. Every website starts as such! Look over the site to see if it is active, well cared for and promising before you decide.
Quality is the key
Linkbuilding is not about amassing as many incoming links to your website as you can. Ultimately it’s about connecting with people who will find your content valuable. This is what Google wants: for experts and authorities in a niche to link only to quality material on the Web. Make that true about your website. That’s legitimate linkbuilding.
Contributo L.J. is a professional freelance writer, Internet marketer and blogger who writes on a variety of topics including Facebook, social media, SEO, WordPress blogging and content writing at bloglady.net.