Getting the Perfect Link

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piece by piece

Getting the Perfect Link by Guest Author Tim Grice

There is much talk about what makes a low and high quality link to your site, some argue that low quality links are not worth the trouble, others say that a mixture of links is needed in order to increase your search engine rankings. In this post I really want to focus on some of the things we should be looking for when building links back to our sites for SEO purposes.

In my opinion there are 5 main elements you should aim for when building links, they are:

  • PageRank
  • Relevance
  • Anchor Text
  • Authority
  • One way

Let’s get clear on what these mean exactly.

When we say we want links that pass PageRank or PR, what were really saying is we want our links on a page that has some authority. Now in the early days of your blog or site getting links from high PR pages is going to be tough, unless you have some good friends.

Look to submit to some of the better directories at first, ie DMOZ and the Yahoo directories. These will give you good authority. When your pages gain some PR then start looking at some high profile link partners within your niche.

For me this is the most important element of link building and that is to make sure your inbound links are from related pages. For example if you run a clothes store your not going to get any relevance with a link from an internet marketing blog no matter what PR it carries. Remember links pass on relevance as well as PR and it is relevance that ranks your site in the SERPs not PR.

Anchor Text
This is another very important factor and is one of the main difference between sites that dominate and sites that struggle. You should ensure as many links as possible are anchored with your targeted keywords, however there is one word of warning here, make sure your anchor text relates to your page and that they are as varied as possible.

OK, two words of warning, you see if your anchor text does not relate to your page Google will see it as anchor manipulation and ultimately spam, this will have a damaging effect on your site. I also like to use different variations, when targeting a keyword I like to use at least 10 – 20 variations, I find this generates the best results.

Authority refers to the page your getting the link from and applies to 2 aspects.

(1) How far up the page your link is and (2) How many other links are on the page.

If your link is at the bottom of the page it will pass on little authority, however if it is at the top Google will give it great significance. Also if you have a link from a page that has 30 – 40 other links, the authority it passes will be meaningless. Look to get unique links from authoritative pages.

I am sure most of you will be aware of this but it’s always worth going over it again and that is what you should be looking for are “oneway” inbound links to your pages. Reciprocal links carry very little in terms of relevance or PR and there is a good reason for this. Google wants natural links pointing to your pages, reciprocal links are artificial and therefore Google does not want to give any weight to them.

Make use of article marketing, press releases and other forms of content distribution. If you write quality content other people will want to link to you, I know this sounds unrealistic but I wrote a post a week or so ago which attracted over 50 links, this is 50 links to a deep page which is awesome.

Well there you have it, try and implement the above and your links should pass on the quality you need to rank high on the SERPs.

If you want to learn SEO free please visit my blog SEO Wizz.

Related posts found in this blog:
SEO Basics for on Page Optimization
How to select and use anchor text effectively
Understanding Backlinks
Understanding Reciprocal and Non-Reciprocal Links

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23 thoughts on “Getting the Perfect Link

  1. Thanks for this post. Good job guys! Interesting article, adding it to my favourites!

  2. Great Article.. very informative and insightful tips on page ranking and back links. I think I have learnt a few seo stuff from this article.

    Thanks for sharing

    Shabbar Suterwala
    Corporate Soft Skills Trainer

    1. Hi Shabbar,

      If you want to learn a whole lot more about SEO you should visit my blog SEO Wizz, glad you enjoyed the article.

  3. I’m reading about this stuff since some while and found this is article a very simple yet very informative indeed. Thanks a lot.

    1. @Hicham

      A lot of people make SEO sound ultra complex when really the basic principles are fairly easy to grasp. The above is an explanation of the “ideal link”, however a lot of new sites have to innovate in order to build links until their site receives some sort of trust and PageRank.

  4. You have presented an excellent and easy to understand overview, of what constitutes a good backlink.

  5. Very well explained. Quality links are those that convert and earn your website a place in the search engines.

    1. Indeed quality one way non-reciprocal backlinks is what all blogs need to improve their position in search engine results.

  6. Hey Tim,

    Thanks for another great post – lucid and terse.

    If I like a blog, I often add it to my blogroll (without asking for quid pro quo); So that’s a good thing (and I often find nice people like me who have me in their blogroll without me being informed)!

    Boy, I just remembered that I may be a follower of your blog (SEO Wizz) but am yet to add you in my links page (blogroll). Am going to add you in another few moments. It’s okay, don’t jump with joy (you may hurt yourself)! ;)

    1. Hi Vikas,

      Thanks for the add :) My blog has built up over 3500 incoming links this month and it’s thanks to friends linking back :)

      1. Tim, may be you know good online backlink checker tool? With PR information?
        Best wishes, Daniel.

  7. This does clear things up, especially ‘Authority.’ I wonder how much the individual PR of the page sending you the link matters in the authority equation? I’ve been putting the text link for guest writers in a note at the bottom of their posts — guess I should move it up in case the post contains lots of other links! Seems like relevance may work against niches devoted to ‘blogging’ (or at least not count as much), since someone may link from any other niche blog (creative photographs) simply because they value the blogging tips.

    1. Hi SBA,

      Yes “keyword authority” and PageRank are 2 different aspects when thinking about linking.

      The link being closer to the top of a page is relating to link prominance, it is the same concept as keyword prominance, for example – if you were targeting the keyword make money;

      Good Title Tag =

      Make Money Online Free

      Bad Title =

      Learn Ways To Make Money Online

      The second has a lower prominance and the same applies to links. However remember incoming links to your site cannot hurt you unless your getting hundreds of them from known link farms, other than that they can only add to your authority not take away. Don’t be afraid to link to sites you think your visitors may like but are not relevant, it will do nothing in SEO terms but your readers may love it. You have to strike the right balance.

  8. Very clear and concise explanations of links – thanks. They always tend to confuse me a bit :D

  9. Hi
    I have a question regarding your comment “Google wants natural links pointing to your pages, reciprocal links are artificial and therefore Google does not want to give any weight to them.”

    Let’s take the scenario where someone links to your site because they like your content. And you believe that pointing your readers to the site that has linked to you would benefit your readers. That is, you are pointing them to where they can find even more good stuff.

    How would Google know whether these were natural links or reciprocal links?

    I could attempt to answer this myself and say that Google could look at a site and see what proportion of its links were directly reciprocal, and make a judgement from that. And I guess that might explain the ‘rings’ of sites that join up for the purpose of avoiding direct reciprocal linking by having X link to Y who links to Z who links to X, etc.

    For any site starting out your suggestion advice seems to be a disincentive to link back to any other site that links to it, no matter how good its content is, for fear that Google will read it as an agreement between the sites and mark down the value of both links.

    Is that what you mean?

    I read this article on the value of outbound links, which you may find interesting.

    And is another take on this:

    Kind regards


    1. Hi David,

      I actually wrote the article you are referring to on SEOmoz and as you can tell from it I am not saying outbound links are bad, I am simply saying they pass on little in the way of “link juice”.

      The article “how effective are outbound links” was a little research I did involving a client who had multiple “anchored” backlinks and seemed to rank high for the keywords, these weren’t reciprocal links but one way outbounds from his site.

      I wrote another blog post recently about what I believe the way forward is in 2009 and I think Google will be looking at where you visitors are coming from and where they are going too. I think they will establish authority on how your site pushes traffic around the web, this is not proven yet but I am looking into doing some research in the new year.

      As I stated in the above comment I don’t reciprocal links are all bad and can be good to drive relevant traffic to and from your pages, however it is a known fact that these links carry very little in terms of link juice as per webmaster guidelines, however I am not aware of any evidence to show Google is able to tell the difference between a site with loads of reciprocal links and a site with one or two relevant ones. Should make an interesting subject to look into.

  10. Getting high PR links is really a tough job.

    Guest posts can do this job for you! I just got a PR 6 link from Daily Blog Tips. Although I must admit, it was a tough job!

    I also favour one way links as reciprocal links are a thing of past right now! (Still many bloggers waste time in it!) I get 5-10 monthly requests saying “Hi, I want to exchange link with you. Please contact….” I have learnt to ignore these messages now.

    1. Ye reciprocal links are hardly worth the trouble. It’s not such a bad thing to get one from a high traffic site as a way of driving visitors to your pages but for SEO purposes don’t go to too much trouble.

  11. It is very useful information. I subscribed your blog feed since last four months. But I never comment here before. I just read from Google reader. Wanna say you have great content here!

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