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Incoming links value factors

While everyone keeps talking about getting 'quality, relevant links', it is rarely said what those are. Let's see how you can identify a good link and estimate a page or a site to get links from.

The basics

A link relevance is when the web page (or a website) is on the same topic as yours.

Link quality depends on the amount of links to the page that links to you and on the amount of outgoing links from the page.

Anchor text is the text that people click on to visit another page. It can also be referred to as link text.

There are numerous factors that determine the relevance and the quality of a link. Let's see them in more detail.

Link value factors

When it comes to incoming (inbound) links, there are several factors to consider:

  • the page that links to you, should be on the same topic as the page it links to
  • preferrably, the entire website should be on the same topic (this will ensure the linking page [the one you get your link from] has more relevant incoming links)
  • the link has to be crawlable (in plain text), not as an image (if it is, it has to have relevant alt text), as Javascript or Flash
  • anchor (link) text should be related (relevant) to the webpage the link leads to
  • preferrably, the link should lead to an internal page on your website (not the homepage)
  • the site you get links from should be an established, trusted resource or a hub on the topic
  • there should be lots of links to the linking page
  • there should be text, related to the anchor text and your page, before and after the link (a link from the context)

As you can see from the above list, the most important thing is the relation of the linking page to you page. Then the number of links to the linking page from other websites matters.

On a related note, .edu and .gov websites tend to have more incoming links from other trusted websites, which is why a link from them is more valuable than from other websites. The exact domain extension (TLD) doesn't matter, though.

Estimating a link

When you estimate a site or a page to get links from, you can:

  • compare the topics of the linking page and yours: the closer the match, the better. It may help to get links from sites on complimentary topics to yours, too, of course.
  • estimate, whether you can get traffic through the link to your page, from the website/page
  • go to Yahoo, type in to see the amount of links to the domain, to estimate how established the domain is
  • instead, type link:page-URL to see the number of links to the page you are going to get links from
  • check other similar links (to the one you'll be getting) on the page and see, if they are crawlable (no script redirects, no Javascript or images)
  • make sure the link text will be related to your page (preferrably with the keywords, the page is focused on)

Of course, the above actions may very well be done to see, if the link you already have to your site, is valuable or not. Quite often, it helps to estimate the quality of a web directory you are getting a link from (Bob Mutch has a list of directories, based on the amount of incoming links they have).

Getting the links

After you have read how to get started with obtaining links, you can try building quality content to get links.

The advantage of the link building strategy with quality content is that you don't have to waste your time looking for links (which may be depressing, boring and exhausting). Another advantages of this link building tactic are:

  • the websites that link to you will be established and trusted (except those content scrapers, of course)
  • also, they'll be relevant to your topic (or why would they link to you?)
  • they'll be placing the links naturally, so you'll be getting targeted traffic
  • natural links means that they'll be placed in the context
  • most likely, the links will have relevant anchor text (quite often, the title of the article/post, name of the tool, etc)

As you see, naturally obtained links have plenty of positive factors behind them. And you'll be getting them over time, more than you'd get, when hunting for them manually. So why not start building unique, quality content now?

Rounding up

As you can see, there are a lot of things to remember about incoming links. While it is not necessary to check every backlink you get, these are things that may be helpful in certain situations.

I'd recommend focusing on providing valuable information to your visitors, along with tools, videos, references, so you'd get links naturally, thus eliminating the need to waste time on evaluating links and getting you plenty of links without you spending your time on it, too.

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