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The perfect link

From: SEO: Link Building in Depth

Video: The perfect link

In this video, we're going to look at the perfect link. What kind of links do you really want pointing to your site? You can't always get exactly what you want of course, but in this video we'll be looking at what you're aiming for. First, you should try to get text links rather than image links. I'll take an image link over no link of course, because even if I can't get keywords into my links, the links still provide some value, such as passing through PageRank. But the ideal is a text link, so that you can use anchor text keywords, as you learned in the last video, to tell the search engines what the reference page is about.

The perfect link

In this video, we're going to look at the perfect link. What kind of links do you really want pointing to your site? You can't always get exactly what you want of course, but in this video we'll be looking at what you're aiming for. First, you should try to get text links rather than image links. I'll take an image link over no link of course, because even if I can't get keywords into my links, the links still provide some value, such as passing through PageRank. But the ideal is a text link, so that you can use anchor text keywords, as you learned in the last video, to tell the search engines what the reference page is about.

And if we have enough keyworded links, we are in effect, Google bombing the site we're linking to. Of course, the text needs to contain useful keywords not "click here" or not your company name or URL, but rather the keywords for which you want to rank well. You can add a title attribute to the tag if you wish, though as I mentioned in an earlier video, it may not make any difference. Where should this link be placed? Well, first of all, it needs to be on a web page that is indexed by the search engines. If it's not indexed, then of course that link has no value.

That's not to say that you necessarily turn down links on pages that are not indexed. If the page is very new for instance, it maybe indexed soon. In fact, one technique that used to be popular was to figure out which links to your site are on non-indexed pages, then get those pages indexed by linking to them from other already indexed pages. Anyway, as far as the ideal link goes, it needs to be on an indexed page. What kind of site do you want your link placed on? There's a lot of talk about relevance in the SEO business, and while I'm sure it has some importance, I believe it's often overrated.

The idea here is that a link from a related site is more valuable than a link from a non-related site. A link to your olive oil website is more valuable when it comes from the cooking site, for instance, or some kind of food site, rather than from a blog about American history. This may be true to some degree, however it's completely untrue that a link from a non-related site holds no value as some people claim. I'll take a well keyworded link from anywhere I can get it. Relevant is the ideal, but not 100% essential.

Let's not forget trust either. As we're building the ideal link, the very best link we can, we might as well put it on a well-trusted site, perhaps a major newspaper website or the website owned by a highly respected university; .edu domains are thought to carry extra weight in the search engines, as are .gov domain names, government websites. Our ideal link will also be on a high PageRank web page. As you learned in an earlier video, PageRank is a measure of value, so as we're dreaming about the perfect link right now, we might as well get that link from the highest PageRank page we can.

It also needs to be on a readable portion of the page. For example, if a page is pulling content from another source using JavaScript and your link is in that content, it may not be read. Actually, Google can read JavaScript and sometimes does, but quite likely not all the time. It does, for instance, read the content in Facebook pages that is being pulled in using JavaScript, all the dynamically updating content that appears as you scroll down the page. That doesn't mean it reads all such content on all sites though, so I believe the ideal link is one in static text that has been loaded into a web page by the web server, not the web browser.

Where within a page is ideal? Preferably within content, rather than in a list of links. Again, I'll take a link anywhere on the page, rather than no link, but links embedded into paragraphs are likely to be more valuable than links in a big list of links. The theory is that links in paragraphs tend to be surrounded by other related words. The search engines may see these related keywords as associated with the link giving the link more value. On the other hand, it's not at all a bad thing to get a link in say a blog's blogroll, its list of favorite sites, as then you end up getting a link from every page in the blog.

I think it's fair to say that it's better to have a hundred links from a hundred different sites, rather than a hundred links from one single site. However, it's also better to have a hundred links from one site, than just one link from that site. A hundred links from a single site is not a hundred times the value of a single link from that site, but I'm sure it's worth more than just one link. As far as where to put a link on the page goes, perhaps there really is no ideal, rather it's good to get a variety; links embedded into paragraphs, links in blogrolls that appear hundreds of times, links in page footers that appear on every page, and so on.

To summarize then, what's the ideal link? It's a text link with good keywords in the anchor text and a title attribute if you think that may be important, or want to cover all bases. It will be on an index page on a relevant site, a trusted site in fact, perhaps a .edu or .gov domain with a high PageRank. The link should be in static text, not text created browser site dynamically. Getting the link into paragraph text is a good thing though I like to see a variety of link types really.

So that's the ideal. But as I mentioned before, you can't always get what you want. You have total control over the links in your own site of course. And as you've learned in earlier videos, even internal links are important. As far as links from other sites are concerned though, it's harder to get the ideal. Sometimes other site owners will link using your URL or your company name, rather than the keywords you want for instance. Still, do what you can to get as close to the ideal as possible. But even non-ideal links have value.

If I can't get a text link, I'll have an image link. If a text link has to use my URL or company name, so be it. And most links I get won't be from high PageRank pages. In fact, if there's one thing that I think is most important, more important than PageRank or site relevance or placement on the page, it's keywords. The single most important thing is to get plenty of keyworded links pointing to your site.

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SEO: Link Building in Depth

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Peter Kent
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