Links, links, links.
In the second of the series surrounding the Dark Art of SEO we study how linking can help establish a small business on the web.
Links, generally are classed as hyperlinks from one website to another. Now to the plain viewer these are simply a means of trafficking viewers from one page or one site to another. But delving deeper into the science behind the intricate linking strategies needed to increase your rankings is a subject in itself.
It is a well known fact that links to your site from good sources will benefit your rankings, but what governs a “good link”? I here you ask, well all in good time.
So what is a good link?
A “good” link can be classed in several different ways, it really depends on your niche what is needed to reach your ultimate goals on the SERP’s. For example if your site is about Financial News in the UK then your target links should be:
- .co.uk or UK hosted
- In the finance or news niche
- Have minimal external links
This is just the start of what you should look for in a good link, other “quality score” criteria could be:
- In content links
- Homepage links
- Keyword in title tag
- Individual IP’s
There are several if not dozens more criteria in which each link could be given weight, but ultimately what you need to aim for is one way, in relevant content, geo targeted niche links from individual IP’s. So if your mate has 30 news sites on the same IP, just have one or two and leave the rest, this is flagging up all you people doing this up as unnatural link progression. Big daddy Google will come looking for you!
The most common way of distinguishing a good from a bad link is PR (which to me is extinct). The theory being that a site with a PR5 is better than its counterpart of PR2…why? why would Google make it sooo obvious as to which sites they class as authoritative? Doesn’t that go against all there morals in displaying what’s best for the visitor? Surely if PR was so important every SERP would have the same sites top and all in order of PR. So all you link sellers out there charging per PR, may want to rethink your strategy, be the first to pioneer niche based pricing dependent upon competition rather than a few green pixels.
And the flip-side?
On a similar note bad links are pretty much the opposite of all that is good, though there are many different connotations of what can be deemed as bad. There are certain obvious no no’s for the average site including:
- Spam sites (page covered in links)
- Adult/gambling themed (unless you’re in that niche)
- Hidden links
- Same IP (when dealing in bulk)
- Manipulated PR
I would class these as the first things to look for when acquiring links, spotting spammy, or adult related sites is easy, also hidden links are easy to spot. Though you will need an IP locator, mines on my tool bar, this gives me an instant indication of the IP of any site I cruise. Enabling me to discount any multiple IP links from my searches.
Spotting a manipulated PR is a fairly simple process though often I come across sites which are obviously fake to my eye with dozens of paid links. Ask yourself these questions when looking at a potential link partner:
- Is the site new?
- When was the last PR update?
- Is the content new?
Generally a new site with PR over 2 in the time frame not close to a PR update with new content would ring alarm bells to me. Checking whois and the code should give an indication as to the authority of the site, it is relatively easy to create a false PR on a site, though often this only last a short period, people can be tricked into buying without thorough research.
Just as a quick FYI, if you are new to the link world then please do not be duped into wasting your valuable time acquiring no-follow links. These can be easily spotted in code, I use firebug, a Firefox add-on.