The Perfect Backlink
The Perfect Backlink
You hear a lot of about “good links” and “bad links.”
But what makes one link better than another? More importantly, which links yield the biggest results?
This chapter will teach you one of the most important skills in SEO: knowing how to spot links that actually work.
Not all links have the same value. The site they come from, where they are placed on the site, the text of the link, and many other factors determines the “value” of a link.
We are not going to be creating ONLY perfect links… But by understanding what makes the perfect link, we will be much more effective in building links that contribute to our success.
There are just 5 elements to the perfect backlink. They are:
1. Itʼs on a page with high authority
2. Itʼs from a relevant website
3. The link is contextual rather than on the sidebar or footer
4. Itʼs on a page with few other outbound links
The first and most important factor is the authority of the site. A link from an authoritative site is the most powerful link that you can receive.
If you get a link from Forbes or The New York Times you can expect some serious link juice to flow to your site.
Because Google is well aware these types of quality sites will only link to other quality sites. If the New York Times references your site, there is no better indicator of trust and worthiness.
Google determines the authority of a site based on a metric called PageRank (or PR for short).
Google goes around assigning PR numbers on pages on the internet. This number reflects how powerful and trustworthy the page is in Googleʼs eyes. The PR scale goes from N/A (worthless) to 10 (supreme authority).
PR is one of the few pieces of information that comes straight from Google so it is important to consider…
BUT, Google does not update this metric frequently for the public to see so it is not the most reliable metric to depend upon. Instead, a better metric to consider is Moz.comʼs Page Authority (or PA for short).
And while most marketers tend to fixate on homepage PR, itʼs a combination of both the pageʼs PR and PA that really matters.
A link from a relevant site will have a much more profound impact on your rankings than from a site that is not related to the topic of your site.
What this means is that links from “relevant” sites carry much more power than links from random sites.
For example if your site is about cooking and you have many links from cooking sites… Google will assume that you are a “cooking authority” and boost your rankings as a result.
On the other hand, if you own a cooking site and you have links from a sports blog, a video game forum, a weight loss directory, etc…
It is clear to Google that you are attempting to game the system.
Search engines pay a lot of attention to where your link appears on a page. In general, links in the footer, sidebar and other peripheral areas of a page are significantly less powerful than those embedded within content.
For example, check out these links tossed in at the bottom of a homepage:
If you blindly focused on the other factors discussed in this chapter, like PR, page authority and trust, these links would look like ranking powerhouses…
However, because they sit at the bottom of a page without any relevant content surrounding them, they’re actually spammy and irrelevant.
Google prefers links dropped inside of content for the simple reason that they are significantly more natural.
A link that is in-text (or in the middle of content) will have a higher impact on your rankings than a link on a sidebar or footer of a website.
Just look at this post with contextual links:
Here theyʼre linking out to posts that were helpful. Those links are much more powerful than if they were to randomly drop the same links in the footer.
On top of that, if you can get a link in the first sentence or paragraph of the content, it will have even more power. This is usually outside of your control though.
Low Outbound Links
When someone uses a link to reference a page on the Web, they pass authority, or link juice, to that page. If Page A is linking to Page B, itʼs vouching for it, and therefore, passes some of the authority Page A has to Page B.
This essentially means, if there is one link on a page, 100% of the link juice will flow to the one link on the page. However, if there are 2 links on a page, 50% of the link juice of the page will flow to each link. If there are 3 links, each link will only get 33% of the power, etc.
Therefore, it is better to get a link from a page with as few other links as possible.
What this means is that the more links that are on a page, the less “juice” each link will have.
For example, if Page Aʼs authority is measured numerically with 10 votes, and it has 5 different links on the page, then each of those links passes 2 votes to those pages being referenced (see below).
If Page A were linking to just 1 other page (instead of 5 like in the example above) that 1 page would get all 10 votes to itself.
This means that you want to obtain links from pages that have a low number of outbound links and a high amount of authority.
Overview: An Example of The Perfect Backlink
So in short, if we wanted to create the perfect link to our site, letʼs review how it would look.
Lets imagine we have a cooking site. If we want the perfect link, we want a link from a:
Has a homepage PR of 3+
A link in the context of the site
With very few other outgoing links
To find a backlink that matches all 4 criteria is certainly not easy, but it doesnʼt have to be perfect either.
Keep in mind, perfection is not something we strive for.
These guidelines essential steer us towards EPIC links, but “good enough” links will be sufficient to attract the rankings weʼre looking for.
In the next few chapters, weʼll see where to find these types of links and how to get them.
Now that we understand the “perfect link” and more importantly understand what Google values, weʼre ready to start building links!