Top Ten Linking Questions
When Google introduced the Penguin algorithm into the search engine position ranking mix it caused quite a concern in the search engine positioning industry. It also caused some websites to drop in position.
We have been fielding many questions about what constitutes a good link which passes the “good link” test when analyzed by Penguin.
Does your website get a passing grade?
. . . (or a D- with a note from the professor “do not attempt to go to graduate school”)?
Here are our top ten linking questions and our insights.
1. How important is it to get links from relevant pages?
This is very important. When a site has content that is similar in nature to the one it links to then this is extra information for Google to understand what the page being linked to is all about.
Also, Google is more likely to determine that the page providing the link is providing extra content to the visitor and hence sees the link as being of value to the visitor.
Therefore, content relevancy has been achieved.
2. Is it important to get keyword phrase links?
This was once (pre-Penguin) a very important factor in gaining search position for the keyword in search results. The thinking was that the linking text was a significant factor in determining what the page being linked to was all about. It makes sense!
The technique became much more complicated. A search engine marketing expert would get links with very specific keyword phrases and indeed sometimes get many of them. This started to look “unnatural” and the Penguin algorithm now looks at all in-coming links and becomes suspicious when there are too many links with a very specific multi-word phrase. What defines too many – only Google knows.
It has been reported that the Penguin algorithm now looks at all links into a site and requires certain percentages and ratios to be present that indicate natural linking or not.
3. Why are non-keyword phrase links important?
Non-keyword phrase links are important to create ratios of non-keyword phrase links to specific keyword phrase links. Take for example a site that has very few non-keyword phrase links and many specific multi-words links. This may triggers a flag by the Google Penguin algorithm.
4. At what rate should I acquire links (also known as Link Velocity)?
The rate of link building should also be a “natural” rate. “Natural” is based on the website. For a website in a marketplace where the Page 1 competitors have a few hundred links then a linking program that acquires 20-30 inbound links a month may be a very proper “natural” rate.
The “natural” rate for a particular website will also be based on a component related to it own historical link-building rate. If the “natural” historical rate is 1-2 links per month and then jumped to 30 per month then this may also raise a flag.
Last of all, if the rate of link acquisition (the link velocity) is also related to an increase in content on the website then this helps to support a higher rate of linking building as the reasoning is that the fresh content is now being naturally linked to.
5. How can I see which sites link to me?
It is difficult to get a picture of the in-coming links that is 100% accurate if the links counts starts to climb (100’s of links).
There are some good tools such as Majestic SEO (http://www.majesticseo.com), Open Site Explorer (http://www.opensiteexplorer.org/) and BackLinksIn (http://backlinks.in/) that can be used to get a reasonable picture of your in-coming links.
Do not get too frustrated if you know you have links that these tools do not see. We have found that no one (not even the search engines) seem to be able to see all in-coming links. In the case of the search engines they may see more links than they report.
6. Can I tell how many links my competitors have?
Yes. Also, this is important research for you to conduct. It gives you one more view of the level of competition for your marketplace.
Use the tools listed above to gain insights into how many links your competitors may have.
7. Should my in-coming links go to pages other than my home page?
Yes – absolutely! When you have links going deep within your site then this is a clear message to the search engines that your deep content is seen a valuable to the website owners that links to these pages.
8. Do links from pages on my site count when it comes to search position?
Yes, an internal links is still part of the page’s link network. If you do not link to a page on your site then you may be indicating that this page is not very valuable. From your perspective this page may be valuable only to a specific audience and that is why you do not link to it from many pages. However, it could also be interpreted that the page with few internal links is not a very valuable page. It is wise to make multiple links to your most important pages.
Also, internal links enable the search engine spider to find your pages more easily. To have them find your high-value pages is very important.
Finally, internal links enable your visitors to navigate to these pages. Help to keep visitors on your site longer by providing them with links to content you feel they will value.
9. Does the quality of the linking site matter?
Yes. If you have many low-quality sites linking to you then these links may not count for much. Acquire links from the most authoritative website you can manage. It is very difficult to get links from high-authority websites but when you do these are links of gold.
10. When is an in-coming link a “bad” link?
Bad links come from pages and paragraphs with non-relevant content. Bad kinks come from low quality sites.
So There You Have It – My Top Ten Linking Questions
I hope that this list has provided you with some ideas and insights. Always strive to gain links from high-quality relevant websites with great content.