Without digging into the technical details…
Do you know what the data below means?
Most people don’t and that’s why they hire SEO firms. It is a basic record of an inbound link to a website. Inbound links impact your websites ability to rank organically. BUT not all SEO linkbuilding is the same. There are good links that support a higher search engine ranking, bad links that undermine ranking efforts and then a million shades of grey in between.
Over the years we have looked at the link profiles of hundreds of websites. In that time the difference between a good link and a bad link has become more difficult to determine. Add to that the fact that SEO’s gaming the system have forced Google to add buffers and vastly expanded the types & amounts of measurable metrics Google uses to determine site value. What we have now is a vastly improved Google Search Engine that has developed a fairly accurate way to determine the value of an inbound link to your website. Google has also built in an automated system that will penalize your website or promote it depending on your website promotion approach.
Hire a firm based on cost alone and you may end up with a link profile that looks like this:
You may not understand the value of the list above but ask yourself a question – what value does a link from a UK based cell phone directory provide to a web designer in Canada? That is what Google asks.
- Why is this link here?
- Are the sites related by content?
- What is Google’s historical valuation of the linking site?
- How old is the site?
- What is the page value of the linking site?
- Is the content related, professionally written and not overly linked out.
- How many outlinks are on this page?
- Are they related by owner?
- Does this link have the appearance of a spammy link?
- Should the receiving site benefit or be handicapped by the link?
If you believe the old adage that Google uses more than 200 separate metrics (actually much more complicated now) to rate the quality of a site than you understand that sorting through those metrics is a full time job for a technically minded person.
Don’t bother trying to learn the left brained data sorting. Its difficult, time consuming and not full proof. The best way to determine a quality link is a mix of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and experience. Hopefully we can pass on both to you below.
Read and understand Google Webmasters Link Schemes –
- Essentially Google says link building done to deliberately raise ranking is a no-no.
- Google has determined a number of common link spamming methods and warned against them.
- Link building is being pushed further towards complete legitimacy – they will eventually be able to determine most bad links.
- As an SEO company, we work in lock-step with Google’s changes because they are far and away the #1 North American Search Engine.
Ask questions of link source.
- Ask your self – is the linking site related to mine by Geography, similar content, similar niche, associations etc.
- Does the site have enough “quality” to extend value and traffic to my site?
- Do you expect traffic from that link to your website?
- How many other links are on that page. Google says top out a 100 – I wouldn’t want a link from a page with more than 10 external links.
- Was the link editorially chosen? Is the linking website purposely and willingly choosing to link to your website?
- How would your clients perceive you based on the linking page?
Link building needs to be treated with care.
- Avoid at all costs a link building program that can be scaled. That means no mass directory submissions, no comment spam, no automated submissions to directory sites. Also no distributed widgets, paid links or PRIVATE BLOG NETWORKS.
- The good rule of thumb “if the link was really easy to get and no one editorially chose to give it to you then its likely not good”
I know the post seems a little doom and gloom but the “New SEO” is a better fit for most companies. Due to the need for higher quality links, the playing field has been evened out.
Attractive website + decent content + quality links = Good Rankings & Good Traffic!