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Importance of a link building program to overall
ranking results

Given that link popularity (the number of incoming links you have pointing to your website) is 95% of the success factor in achieving high search engine rankings, it's important that you understand the concept of "link value".

Not every link is created equal and in this report I hope to help you better understand where you should be focusing your efforts.

Having said that - in my opinion - a link is a link.

Any link is better than no link and every link is going to have some impact on your search engine rankings. This will either have little to no impact (you cannot negatively manipulate your own or third party website rakings via link building) or have a positive impact on your search engine rankings.

That impact will also vary from little to no impact whatsoever in the case of really poor quality links - right up to the biggest impact possible for the best quality links - and have varying degrees of positive impact in-between those two extremes.

The most important thing to understand - the two most critical factors that will have the most positive improvement in search engine rankings are...

1) The relevancy of the website (and the specific page) that links back to you.

2) The relevancy of the terms included in the anchor text that links back to you.

...everything else aside the more relevant the website, and the more relevant the anchor text used, the bigger the impact on your rankings.

There are a few other factors that can also play a part in determining "link value" and we'll discuss those soon, but as far as seeing measurable results those are the two things you want to be most focused on.

"Theme Relevance" is the buzz word here.

CATEGORY ONE LINKS -

These links are going to produce the biggest improvement in your search engine rankings when targeting specific keyword phrases.

The downside is they are often the most difficult to obtain (and if you buy link advertising are the most expensive - if that option is even available). They are...

* A link from the most relevant page/s already ranking in Google for the target keyword term (in descending order from the #1 result backwards) where by...

  • Using that exact term as the anchor text to link back to your website gives you the "ideal" link.
  • Using a broad match for anchor text gives you a "good" quality link.
  • Using unrelated anchor text (click here) or no anchor text (plain link) gives an "ok" link.

Let's assume you want to rank for the term "Organic Search Engine Optimization".

Your most "IDEAL" link is to have the #1 website / page already ranking for that term linking back to your page with the term "Organic Search Engine Optimization" as the actual anchor text. Alternatively using that exact term somewhere in the anchor text i.e. "Free Organic Search Engine Optimization". You're next most ideal link would be to follow the same format from the #2 currently ranked page, the #3 and so on.

A "GOOD" link in this category would be the same websites / pages linking back to you, with the individual terms of the phrase somewhere in the anchor text - but not necessarily as an exact phrase (rather a "broad match").

For example using "Advice about SEO" as the anchor text will still pass relevancy for your target term "Organic Search Engine Optimization". That's because all 3 individual terms are contained within it. Again we then continue down in descending order of the existing websites / pages ranking for this term.

The "OK" link in this category follows the same logic but where, for whatever reason, you cannot include target terms in the anchor text. That is your link might have to be "Click Here" or you might only manage a link without anchor text at all (http://www.yourwebsite.com). In such a case you're relying entirely on the theme relevancy of the already ranked websites passing that relevancy onto you - without the additional advantage of having related anchor text.

CATEGORY TWO LINKS -

These links are the "next best thing" to category one links and will still provide an excellent positive improvement in search engine rankings when targeting specific terms.

They are often easier to obtain because you're no longer limiting yourself to set of potential link partners based on a specific keyword term. They are...

* A link from "theme relevant pages" for related terms (but not necessarily your target term) where by...

  • Using that exact term (Organic Search Engine Optimization) as the anchor text to link back to your website gives you the "ideal" link.
  • Using a broad match for anchor text gives you a "good" quality link.
  • Using unrelated anchor text (click here) or no anchor text (plain link) gives an "ok" link.

The same principals apply here in terms of anchor text use, however these links are not specifically from the top pages already ranking for your target term "Organic Search Engine Optimization".

Instead they are from "theme relevant pages".

Basically any website that is themed around the topic of "SEO" - where by websites exclusively themed around "SEO" - rather than a website with a section on "SEO", a section on "cats" and other sections on different animals (which dilutes the overall theme) - would produce a more theme relevant link.

Websites that fall into these categories might be those that rank for terms "SEO training techniques", "SEO Implementation", "Company SEO and sales increases", "SEO implementation" and so forth (of course if you want to rank well for any of those terms then they become category 1 links when linking to your optimized pages with respective anchor text).

Essentially anything related to SEO.

To broaden the horizon a bit these links can also include "directory listings" (something which many webmasters devalue).

That means your website submitted to a directory in the "search engine optimization" (or SEO related) category of a general website directory. That page itself will hold theme relevancy for the "SEO theme" although will have less positive impact on ranking than if the entire website was about SEO (rather than just being a general website directory).

CATEGORY THREE LINKS -

These links are the least desirable however they can have a positive impact on search engine rankings when targeting specific terms. The key is to ensure you're able to use your keyword specific anchor text (i.e. the "Ideal" link or "Good" in this category) as the "OK" links aren't going to do very much for you at all.

The flip side is that these links are often the easiest to obtain, you can get more of them, and the same ranking affects can be achieved as category one and two links - simply by scale of volume. The more of these links you obtain, the more effective they become. They are...

* A link from pages of no relevance (totally unrelated to your topic) where by...

  • Using that exact term as the anchor text to link back to your website gives you the "ideal" link.
  • Using a broad match for anchor text gives you a "good" quality link.
  • Using unrelated anchor text (click here) or no anchor text (plain link) gives an "ok" link. These are not really worth bothering with unless you can add some relevancy with associated text around the link.

Again the same anchor text principals apply for this category of links but these websites / pages have no relevance to the theme of your website. An example of this might be leaving a link in a discussion forum comment about Ipods, linking to your "Organic Search Engine Optimization" website.

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS -

There two other metrics of link value.

The first relates to link position - the positioning of your link within a page; the second is link volume - the number of other links on that page (both internal and external).

It's very important to stress that these have much less impact towards positive improvements in rankings. They are more factors that relate to Page Rank improvement.

If Page Rank is important to you then these can also be taken into consideration. However at the end of the day it's the theme relevancy of the pages and/or anchor used as incoming links that will directly improve your search engine rankings.

Link Positioning:

Ideally you want your link to be one of the first that shows up on the page.

That means in the top fold of the page.

It is also helpful to have the link placed contextually - surrounded by content (within an article for example) that is discussing "Organic Search Engine Optimization". It will have more weight than a link placed in a sidebar navigational structure, which in turn holds more value than having a link placed in the footer of a page.

Link Volume:

Generally the less links contained within a page the better for you. If there are 10 links on that page - 1 is yours and there are 9 others - then the value is divided amongst all links. This applies to both internal links (links pointing to other pages within the site in question) and external links (links pointing to third party websites). Again this primarily relates to Page Rank so is not much of a concern.

Out of the 9 link types mentioned in the various categories above, the only ones I tend to avoid are the last type mentioned in category 3 - links from unrelated pages without being able to use either exact or broad match keyword terms as the anchor text.

They really hold little to no SEO value other than creating another entry point into your website.

Everything else is fair game and very worth while pursuing.

And as I mentioned earlier, in my opinion - a link is a link - and any link is better than no link. Don't become too hung up on focusing entirely on category 1 and category 2 type links. Often they are the harder to obtain (and more expensive to purchase) and the same result can be achieved using the first two types of category 3 links.

To better highlight this let's stick with the "Organic Search Engine Optimization" example.

You have a brand new page related to "Organic Search Engine Optimization" that you want to show up in the top 10 results when someone searches on that term. You have no existing links pointing to the page (other than perhaps a few internal links).

If you managed to get 5 out of the top 30 websites that already ranked for that term to link back to you using any of the category 1 links specified, there is a very high probability that your own page will then rank somewhere in the top 30 for the term.

That sounds simple enough but the trouble is achieving that.

You'll find it hard to obtain those links without purchasing them on a monthly basis - and then again, only about 5% of the top 100 results for each term would even present that as an option. If they do you'll find they'll be pretty expensive - more so depending on the niche market.

So let's flip this around.

You take the same page and you generate 500 category 3 incoming links (ensuring that you use at least exact or broad match anchor text for those links). There is a very high probability that your page will also rank somewhere in the top 30 for that term.

Please note however that this does depend on how competitive that specific term is, and how competitive your overall market is search engine optimization wise. The more competitive a term, the more category 3 links you're going to need. In our example here you might need more or less - I've not tested it.

Those are two ends of the extreme that will produce the same end result.

In a well rounded link building campaign you'll find you'll obtain links from all 3 different categories and ultimately not focus too much on one or the other.

For example in the first scenario above, if you've maxed out the availability of obtaining category 1 links and you're ranked in the top 30 but not seeing any further improvement, then often you'll need to focus on category 2 and 3 links in order to push you further up the ladder and appear in the top 10 rankings or higher.

Similarly, in the second scenario, if you've managed to obtain 500 category 3 incoming links and are ranking in the top 30 for the target term, then often all you'll need is 1 or 2 category 1 links in order to push you up into the top 10 rankings or higher.

Hopefully this has given you a better understanding as to the value of different links and the impact they can make to your search engine rankings. Hopefully it will also ensure you have realistic expectations as to the actual search engine ranking improvements various links are going to produce. And remember, a link is a link and any link is better than none. The key is to ensure you're continually working on building more.

 

If you're looking to purchase text link advertising, and have a minimum budget of $1,000 p/m please contact me right now...

Duncan Carver - admin@onlinemarketingtoday.com

 


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