4.7 Factors that make up quality links
When you decide whether you need a link from some page or not, there are a couple of factors that can help you make up your mind. And these are not just things to add up to each other. You should carefully look at them, when building your links. I′ll tell you about some of the most important factors that contribute to the quality of a link. For the convenience of us both, I′ll call them quality factors, or Q–factors in this book.
Relevance of your and your partner′s site
When I talk of relevance of a potential partner′s website to yours, I mean how close your partner′s offer is to what you sell. If a website has a complementary offer, it′s great to have a link from it.
Well, say you′ve got a travel agency and have a site for it. One link to you comes from a website selling detailed
maps and travelers′ guides of countries and cities, while another link to you stands on a site that sells wallpaper.
The first website is connected with traveling, so it′s thematically relevant to your site, and Search Engines will value the link coming from it more. The second website is thematically irrelevant (travels and wallpaper normally don′t come together). And therefore, this link won′t be that trusted by Google, Bing, or Yahoo!
And it′s not only Search Engines who look at the relevance of a site that links to you. People who′re visitors of the website that sells golf clubs may be happy to click a link saying find golf course in your location. But if you′re a meat products wholesaler, the habitual visitor of www.vegetarian–food.com won′t appreciate the link to you.
When discussing the relevancy of inbound links I cannot help but mention the Penguin update.
The Penguin update mostly affected the off–page SEO strategy of the websites. It targeted websites using illegitimate aka "black–hat" SEO techniques to manipulate Search Engine rankings.
The new algorithm checked the backlinks for relevancy and lowered the websites rankings for any irrelevant links. That′s why today relevancy is most important thing to consider, and getting links from thematically relevant sites must be your thumb rule from now on.
Say, I want to get high rankings for the search term wedding ideas. I will try to use this keyphrase in my links′ anchor texts.
Let me remind you: an anchor text is the text that′s the clickable part of your link. For good SEO, anchor texts of the inbound links you′re getting should contain your keywords, as anchors help search robots determine the relevancy of a link, which we previously discussed.
At the same time, all your links must look natural. If you′re getting 1,000 links, you shouldn′t use the same anchors for all of them. Think: if 1,000 persons naturally put links to you, they wouldn′t use the same anchor texts — people don′t think absolutely the same.
This is true to check — and I did check this myself. I asked my relatives to say in a couple of words what I do. Here′s just a few replies:
"You promote websites"
"You do SEO"
"You optimize sites"
"You′re in Internet marketing"
"You idle about in front of computer, just like these little kids" — that′s my wife′s granddad, just turned 89.
So there′s dozens of ways to say one and the same thing.
Consequently, there are different types of anchor texts, for example:
- Brand name/Brand–keyword hybrid ("ralph lauren", "ralph lauren t–shirts")
- Commercial or "money" anchors ("buy t–shirt")
- Partial and broad match ("buy mens t–shirt online")
- Non–descriptive ("click here", "view details")
- Naked URLs ("Ralphlauren.Com")
- Anchors in foreign languages ("t–shirt kaufen günstig")
- ALT texts in linking images (which are perceived by Search Engines as anchor texts)
So, how should you build up links not get hurt by Google and still go up in Search Engines? Just use many anchor texts variations to make your backlink profile look natural.
Now many SEOs argue how many exact–match anchors (which are most often commercial) one may have to be on the safe side. Some of them say 30%, others say 60%, but from my experience I can say that 10% are what most webmasters now stick to, mixing commercial anchors with brand names, partial–match and non–descriptive anchors.
So, in the view of the recent Google updates (yep, I′m talking about this crazy "Penguinomania"), we have to be very careful with both existing and prospecting backlinks.
Let′s recollect the table we made in the previous chapter.
|Page 1||Page 2||Page 3||Page 4||Page 5|
|wedding ideas||wedding website||wedding dress||wedding gifts||wedding planning|
|wedding ideas flowers||wedding tips||wedding dresses Australia||wedding gifts personalized||wedding planes|
|wedding ideas pictures||wedding websites for couples||wedding dresses Sydney||wedding gifts Australia||wedding planning classes|
|wedding ideas Australia||wedding Australia||wedding dresses pictures||wedding gifts for her||wedding planning schedule|
|wedding ideas shop||wedding Sydney||wedding gowns||wedding gifts for him||wedding planning website|
|wedding ideas forum||wedding dresses||wedding gifts to parents||wedding planning list|
|wedding ideas magazine||wedding gifts and favors|
|wedding gifts for wedding party|
Look at the first group of keywords. Though I′m specifically targeting wedding ideas, I′ll also use wedding ideas flowers, wedding ideas pictures, wedding ideas Australia and so on. Plus, you′ve got an even bigger list of keywords where you can take other terms to create variations.
You can check the anchors of your existing links either manually or using the SEO SpyGlass tool I′ve described in the previous chapters.
Good context for links
Links will look more natural if they come in a natural context. I mean, text around the link should also be relevant. For example, a perfect surrounding for a link "wedding ideas" could be:
Getting married soon? Make your wedding unforgettable! Get fresh wedding ideas at Jeremy′s and plan your wedding with us!
Here the link with the anchor text wedding ideas is used in a keyword–rich context and is naturally built–in into the text.
Don′t underestimate the value of anchors and context in which they appear. Better spend a bit more time and put some effort into writing proper link contexts. This way, you will make Search Engines rank your site higher in their SERPs, because your linking strategy will look more natural.
DO IT NOW! Write at least 5 different anchor text variations and descriptions with your keywords, following the above mentioned recommendations.
Keywords in title and body of the partner′s page
That′s probably another dimension of relevance. Search Engines put more value to links that come from sites that have your targeted keywords in their page titles and body text. Sounds too difficult? Here′s a real–life example.
When I met my wife, I not only liked the way she looked. I was pleased to find out that she also loved listening to Depeche Mode, watching Scarface and reading Tom Wolfe, and hated tomatoes just like I did. You see we had a lot in common, and it wasn′t a surprise to anyone that we married soon.
Same thing happens in SEO: if you are "friends" with some webpage, it′s supposed to have something in common with yours.
Of course it′s not wise linking to a competitor′s page, though it may have plenty of keyword coincidences with yours. It′s also unlikely that your competitor will place a link to your site on his. Still, it′s possible to find hundreds and even thousands of non–competing pages.
For instance, if you sell cats food, and one of your keywords is smooth–coated cats food, you could get a great link from a webpage entitled "Cats pictures — smooth–coated cats and kittens".