Posts on the latest trends and developments in the online marketing industry from the Mozetta team
What makes a good link? A good link in SEO is not an exact science but is a sum of a lot of different factors; there are a number of criteria that I personally look for when deciding what makes a good link
- One of the major factors in a good link is relevance, that is, how related the contents of the linking website and webpage are to our site. It doesn’t have to be identical. For example, if our site was about Weight Loss, then pages about Healthy Eating, Workout Routines, and even semi related topics like Weight Related Health Disorders and Depression Support would be ok; however, things totally unrelated like Video Games or Politics would not.
- It is not an exact rule, but generally speaking, the bigger the site, the better the link. There are a lot of ways to measure what makes a ‘big’ site. Two you make be familiar with are the Alexa Ranking as well as the Google PageRank. If you want, add a column for the Alexa and Pagerank for these links to make sorting easier… however…
- The size of the site itself is not everything. The actual page where the link is on is extremely important. We always want to have our links on an important page of a website that will be seen by their visitors. The homepage would be the best, while an isolated page, even on a site like twitter.com which is huge, would be less valuable unless it has lots of links, followers, and posts that make it important within its own site. A homepage or important blog post on a smaller or medium sized site will usually be more important than a random small page on a massive popular site.
- When it comes to site size, balance the overall size of the site with the importance of the actual page
- Another factor of importance, though not usually as much as the first two, is the number of other links on a page. If a page only has 5 or 10 links on it, it will be more important having a link there compared to a page with 300. Usually I don’t care as long as it’s under 50 or so, and I only start to worry if it has more than 100 (to pages that are NOT on the same website). There are many outbound link check tools. If you wish, you can add a column for this on the spreadsheet and add the data.
- Placement of link. Generally speaking, a link will be better if the link is within a paragraph of text surrounded by content, rather than alone by itself in the footer, sidebar, or in a list. This factor is less important that #1-3 above though.
Next up, there is what constitutes a BAD or Spam link. Something we do not want as it can get the website in trouble.
- Completely unrelated content. This can be foreign language, poorly written gibberish, or sites that have random unrelated paragraphs on seemingly unrelated topics all next to each other
- Sites with no value or visitors. One of the biggest indicators of spam is a site with lots of content, but it’s bad, filled with links, and the site itself has no visitors itself. Sites like these are basically made for spam. The best indicator of this would be a site with a good Pagerank (3 or higher) but a bad Alexa (3 million or lower). Unless this site is clearly related to our topic and not filled with unrelated links to other sites, we always want to avoid these sites and mark them as spam
- Too many links. Some pages are ‘too easy’ to get a link on, and as such will attract hundreds and hundreds of links, mostly from unrelated topics to ours. We usually want to avoid these
- ‘Bad Neighborhoods’. There are a few things we never want to be associated with. For a tech and software site, these would be: Pornography, Gambling, Pharmaceuticals (Viagra etc), Hate/Racism/Violence. Any page with these on it, or in its comments/links, is something we want to avoid. This is the most important of the rules when deciding if a site is spam.
If you’re like a lot of website owners, you may have noticed your rankings, and consequently your website traffic, take a hit over the past few months due to the latest iterations of Google’s Panda search algorithm update. The major updates took place in early and late February, and seem to have had a major impact on the way that many rankings are calculated. Whether you have been pushing the issue with aggressive optimization and link building, or have done things in an entirely safe and natural manner, your site still could be at risk, or already have been hit. It is still a bit too early to draw accurate conclusions, but in my own early testing, as well as that by noted industry experts, there are several major changes to be aware of:
Don’t Ignore Social Media
It is becoming very obvious that Google is putting a lot more weight behind what is known as ‘social proof’, or in practice, how many visitors are Liking your site on Facebook, Tweeting it on Twitter, Digging it on Digg, Pinning to Pinterest, or Plus One-ing to Google’s Plus One social network. For many businesses social media can seem like a waste of time, as it can be very difficult to utilize effectively. Ignoring it used to be an option, but in 2012, if you want to preserve and build on your search traffic, you will need to develop a strategy to make sure your site gets at least some attention on the social networks.
Don’t Over Optimize Exact Match Anchors
This one is a major problem that many site owners have made without even noticing. The latest Google Panda update seems to have put a penalty, or at least a devaluation, on sites where too high of a percentage on their links have the same anchor text, especially if that anchor text is a keyword rather than their brand or domain name. In any link building campaign it is important to diversify, and with Panda 3.3 this is now more important than ever.
The Death of Public Blog Networks
Many people aren’t familiar with public blog networks, but they have historically been a very effective way to rank for some very difficult keywords. Recently, two of the largest networks, ALN and BMR, were crippled by recent Google updates. We at Mozetta never use public blog networks for clients as they tend to be a bit risky. Based on my own personal data, I can confirm that public blog networks are all but dead at this point, and would not advise any SEO or site owner continue to use them.
Associate Your Website with Large, Respectable Websites
Google’s recent updates are putting a lot more focus on ‘neighborhoods’ and ‘association with authority. This is one tip I won’t be delving into in great detail, but I have found recently that if you are able to successfully associate your site with the largest, oldest, biggest brands in your industry, you can find your rankings sky rocket.
Quality Over Quantity
A trend that has been occurring for several years, especially when it comes to links, a few good links will now do far more for your site’s rank than hundreds of low quality ones.