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Are all Links Equal?

By • May 7th, 2010 • Category: Linking Strategies

Simple answer no! Applies to both outgoing links and incoming links.

Outgoing Links

Linking out to bad neighborhoods is BAD – you are effectively recommending a BAD site in Google’s eyes – so watch out, and protect yourself by checking all sites you link to! Google, however, approves of you recommending good resources, and you can expect some browny points!

Incoming Links

Incoming links are more complex. Links coming from bad neighborhoods is less of an issue. Afterall a competitor could use this tactic to try and get you banned – so Google is more tolerant.

Backlinks Checklist

But use this checklist and re-evaluate your link campaigns

1) Are your links diverse? 500 links from 10 sites is probably not as good as 500 links from 500 different sites. Are they all from bookmarking sites? Google knows you can manipulate your rankings by spamming bookmarking sites. So a mixture of natural links, bookmark sites, directory sites, articles to blogs, forum signatures, blog comments, etc. are typical of many sites so you will not be flagging up your site.

2) Anchor text is diverse? Let say your keyword is “blue widget” (why is it always widgets?), then if all incoming links used “blue widget” as anchor text on the partner site – it NOT be natural. So make sure anchor text is variable and uses stemming and other variations. Don’t just link to you home page – link deep into your site. Ideally the anchor text (on the partner site) should be on a page about your theme.

3) Link Juice – don’t just get links from pages with high PR (again this would not be natural); you need a wide spread of links with different PR – even PR 0 and n/a (check the neighborhood though). Mix nofollow and dofollow links – remember nofollow links can still bring you traffic!

4) Trust / Authority – do try to get some sites that have authority (such as newspaper/media sites, leading sites in your niche, top blogs in your niche, etc)

Do examine your incoming links – use Yahoo Site Explorer (tends to give you a better picture than Google); you will probably find that you are lacking in one of these 4 factors.

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is Howard Farmer - over 20 years of IT experience with IBM, Lotus, GE and Ameridata.
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