The anatomy of backlinks and why they’re not all created equal. A link, or anchor as its otherwise known, is one of the most basic HTML entities. <a href=”http://www.iconkitchens.co.nz”>Icon Kitchens</a> will create a link to iconkitchens.co.nz with the text on the page displayed as Icon Kitchens.
- Anchor Text
The anchor text is whatever words are displayed on the webpage for a link. A backlink with the anchor text set to the keywords a page is targeting is worth far more than one with any other text. When you are starting out you won’t go far wrong if you make your articles target a single keyphrase that appears on the page multiple times, as well as in the title and as the anchor text for every backlink you get. To illustrate how powerful anchor text is do a Google search for “click here” and you’ll see the number one result is Adobe. They’ve never released a product called Click Here but millions of pages all over the web have linked to them using those words. So as a result they rank highly for it.
- Internal vs External Links
Links from the same domain are referred to as internal links because they exist within the same site. While the anchor text can help tell Google what a page is about you can’t rank very highly from just these links. Links from other websites external links are worth far more.
- NoFollow vs DoFollow Links
A couple of years ago the fastest way to boost your search engine rankings was to leave comments on every guestbook, forum and blog you could find, leaving a link to your site. With very few people doing any active backlinking, this alone was enough to rank highly for most terms. To combat this, the “NoFollow” tag was introduced. This is a way for websites to say, “This link doesn’t count.” You can check for this by looking at the source of a page. A NoFollow link will contain rel=”nofollow”.
Please note: Although Google definitely respects the NoFollow attribute it’s widely believed that Yahoo and MSN ignore it so don’t dismiss NoFollow links completely.
- Page Rank
The best backlinks you can get are those from pages that have a high Page Rank but they are very rare and hard. The next best thing is a backlink from a page on a domain that has a high Page Rank. These are a lot easier to find and available all over the places.
- Domain Authority
This goes hand in hand with Page Rank but there are some other factors at work here. Domains gain authority as they age, gain backlinks, contain more and more high quality content etc. A link from an older domain with thousands of backlinks and tens of thousands of pages is worth a lot more than a link from a new domain with little content and no backlinks.
As well as the anchor text being important the overall relevancy of the page and the domain the backlink is on as a whole is also important. If you have two backlinks where all other factors the same except one comes from a site closely related to your topic, that backlink will be worth more than the other, off topic one.
Don’t go overboard on this last point. Lots of people take this too far and only go for backlinks that are highly targeted to their site’s theme. Although relevant links are worth more this doesn’t mean you should ignore less relevant ones.