Why Should I Care About Back-links?
Back-links are the driving force behind search engine rankings. No matter how good your site and page quality might be considered to be, without high quality back-links you will struggle to rank at or near the top of search for any competitive terms or phrases.
Think of the internet as a giant ‘web’ of sites, all linked together by links. Within the whole internet, there are billions of pages that are indexed by Google (as well as billions more that reside outside of Googles index).
All of the sites that google considers worthy of inclusion in its index are assessed and given trust and authority scores, based on many factors, of which one of the more significant is the value and authority of the links that point to its pages.
This makes the sites that link to you one of the key elements that power your final position in Google search. Websites are categorised depending on several factors. One of the main categorization factors is the category of the dominant links that link to you.
This means that if you are a Computer/Software company, but the bulk of authority sites that link to you are from Sports category websites, your rankings will be affected. This is because Google categorise your site as a Sports site rather than a Computer/Software site.
Categories are little understood by a great many website owners, but are a vital element of your SEO campaign.
If you want to rank at the top for the highest traffic search terms you needs to make sure that your back-link profile generates the ideal category for your site, as well as driving your trust and authority beyond that of your competitors for those search terms.
What Are Inbound Back-Links? What’s Their Importance In Terms Of SEO?
Inbound links is another term for back-links. Whereas internal links are links that join your website pages together, and external links are links from your website which point out to authority resources offering more information about your page topic.
Back-links are from other websites that count as ‘votes’ for or against your website. High quality inbound links from trusted resources count as a positive influence on your organic rankings and inbound links from ‘bad neighbourhoods’ and low quality sites and pages count against your rankings.
Google analyses the inbound link profile of all the sites in its index and depending on the quality profile will rank you accordingly…. or not.
In extreme circumstances, if your in-bound link profile contains enough low quality links, you will be de-indexed from Google completely, so your inbound link profile is a key performance metric which you can’t afford to get wrong.
What Is Anchor Text? Why Is It Important?
Anchor text is the text used as the clickable part of each link pointing to you. For example, for the link; SEO Link Building, ‘SEO link building’ is the link text, linking to http://deehoseo.com/seo/.
The ratios of the link text that are used in the back-links pointing to your pages are a vital element of your SEO.
Link text used to be a primary driver of rankings….. the more links you had that used a specific link text, the higher you would rank for that keyword, term or phrase.
Since Google introduced the Penguin algorithm, your link text has gained the ability to destroy your rankings much faster and easier than it ever did before.
Not only do you need good quality back-links, but your anchor next needs to be dominated by ‘Brand’ link text in our case things like ‘Deeho’, ‘Deeho Limited’ etc, as well as URL link text; ‘deehoseo.com’, ‘http://deehoseo.com’ etc.
As far as exact match anchor text goes, you need to have a large variety of different anchor text instead of larger quantities of identical link text.
The fastest way to drop in Google SERP’s is to over use the same search term link text.
What Is A Quality Link?
Everything you do to create links needs to be focused on HIGH QUALITY LINKS. We are frequently asked what this means in real terms and how can you spot a good place to get a link?
Finding a link opportunity that you can guarantee is high quality has become more complex than ever before. There are several key ingredients that make it a high quality link, including;
- The pages own link profile
- The categorization of the page
- The authority of the page
- Where your link appears on the page
- What type of link you have on the page
- The neighbourhood the sites IP is associated with
This translates into the following;
You want to aim to get contextual links (near the beginning of the content if possible) from the sites that google already considers to be an authority for the keywords and phrases that you want to rank for.
This is because, these are the sites that carry the most trust and authority for the particular niche.
If you focus on the top ranking sites, you can be sure that google likes them (because they are ranking well) & they are categorized well, meaning that their inbound links are mostly coming from related category pages.
What Is A NoFollow Link?
NoFollow & DoFollow links often cause confusion. The original function behind using the nofollow attribute in a link (<a href=”http://www.yoursite.com” rel=”nofollow”>Your Site</a>) was to identify paid links so that serch engines could ignore them.
However, it has become common practice for many webmasters to nofollow blog comments on a sitewide basis as a means to counteracting the proliferation of link spam received.
The theory goes that a nofollow link becomes valueless in the eyes of the search engines, but…… that isn’t necessarily the case across the board.
We have seen examples of sites that rank first for high traffic search terms with only nofollow backlinks in their profile. Google states in it’s documentation that nofollow links do not pass page rank or link text from site to site… but this doesn’t mean that they have no impact at all.
What About Reciprocal Back-Links?
What Are Reciprocal Links? Are They Really Less Valuable Than Inbound Links?
It’s been many years since reciprocal links offered much benefit. The very act of linking to someone who links to you has the effect of neutralising the link.
Reciprocal links look like you have done a deal with the other party.
By contrast, one way links, where someone links to you but you don’t link to them is a much more valuable signal that will aid your rankings.
Back in the day, most link building was conducted using reciprocal links and they were easy to monitor using cheap software, so you could soon see if someone had removed a link to your site.
Are Reciprocal Back-Links Bad?
Two way linking isn’t ‘bad’ as such, it just isn’t worth doing because there is little or no tangible benefit to gaining any reciprocal links.
It is only natural that within a natural link profile there many be a few reciprocal links, but actively working to create them is a timewasting exercise with no upside.
Which Is Better For SEO: Text Links Or Graphical Links?
The short answer is that you want to have both link types in your link profile. A ‘natural’ link profile contains a wide variety of different links, different link text, different permutations of your Brand Name, your URL, junk text like ‘click here’, ‘read more’, etc as well as having some images that contain links.
You need to be aware that google uses the image ‘alt’ text as the link text, so you can easily fall foul of exact match link text issues if you use the same alt text repeatedly. You should treat alt text in images like you would the link text in a link and use lots of different ‘long-tail’ variations of the terms or phrases you are targeting.