Quality Links vs. Spam Links? Read On »
By Safiyyah Lanier February 26, 2010

quality-servicesOne of the greatest questions that Web site owners ask is what’s more important, quality of links or quantity of links? Back in the hay day, it was more about numbers — the more backlinks a Web site had, the better. This eventually sent everyone on a frenzy looking to purchase and beg for links from any and every where. A lot of people ended up purchasing backlink packages in large volumes, but even with all of the backlinks they had, their site wasn’t getting ranked any higher. Of course, this is because Google caught on and eventually decided that this wasn’t going to cut it. Today, it takes more strategy to build links and popularity on the Web, so marketers are going to have to work harder to get ranked higher.

The reality of backlinks today is, if it isn’t an authoritative site or highly ranked, it isn’t worth being linked to. A lot of folks are still thinking with the mindset that they should be the site owner with the most links. Truth be told, the Web sites that tend to be on top ten or twenty lists have much fewer links; and the reason they’ve made it to the top of these lists is because they used quality links.

Finding Quality Links

It’s true that beggars can’t be choosers, but in this case, you will have to be just a bit. In order to build up quality links, you will have to search through SERPs to find trusted, authoritative, highly ranked Web sites. This is called manual link building. The sites that you should be aiming for should be in the same niche of your site or somehow related otherwise. But before you go about requesting links from high quality sites, you will need to ensure that your site is high quality as well. No one wants to link to content that is irrelevant or lacks entertaining or important info. Making your content sell itself is one of the best ways to bring in more inbound links. Unfortunately, when you have high quality content, you may bring in much-wanted attention from unworthy sites.

Weeding Out the Good from the Bad

When you have a site that has great content that is linkable, you will likely bring in more links, but a lot of these could be insufficient for your site’s benefit. When Google is ranking your Web site, it checks SEO, content quality and backlinks from trusted sites. So this means that if your site has 100s of inbound links from sites that are considered to be irrelevant or of poor quality, you will get no points. For instance, if you have a Web site that talks about the game of poker and you have backlinks from sites that are talking about animals and food, you won’t earn any points from Google. Now, although you won’t be able to control the fact that all types of sites will be linking to your site, you can ensure that you do have some quality links.

This is the time when manual link building can be very beneficial. In this case, you will be able to control which sites will be linking to your site and it will help to ensure that you are viewed highly when scanned by Google.

Manual Link Building

If you’ve decided to try to quit the link spamming game and try manual link building, here are a few good tips to keep in mind while considering sites:

  • Check to see if the Web site has related content to yours
  • See what the ranking is for the site
  • What type of neighborhood is the site in and who are its neighbors? (Meaning, who are they linking to and who is   linking to them? Try using Yahoo! SiteExplorer to get a review of any site beforehand
  • Use PageRank to find sites with high rankings
  • Is the site considered a trusted site within the niche they’re in?

Another way of getting links manually is to link to sites you would like to receive links from. Keep in mind though, Google tends to frown upon sites that have reciprocal links (when you link to a site that has linked to yours and vice versa).

What Determines a Good Quality Link

Now, that you have the idea of spamming out of your plans for building links, you will need to carefully choose sites that will offer quality backlinks. Here are a few characteristics to look for in a link:

  • Has a keyword anchor. It is better to link to a keyword that is related to your site rather than an image.
  • Is relevant to your site
  • Has a high PR ranking on Google
  • Is one way (non-reciprocal)
  • Has a unique domain name and IP address; the links that you have for your site should be on a different domain, using a separate IP address.

Avoid

  • Links that have no-follow tags; pages that have a no-follow code embedded is useless. This tells Google not to follow the links on their page
  • Backlinks that are on pages with 100s of other links — this is like standing in the middle of a large crowd.
  • Links that are automated; programs that offer to automate the process for you is too good to be true — if it was official, everyone would be doing it.
  • Link farms, Free for Alls and Forums — these are considered poor quality. Although they may offer temporary boosts, it won’t benefit you for the long-term. They tend to lose quality as time passes by.

The next time you consider choosing quantity over quality, keep in this in mind — if you have 5 sites that have authorities that are worth 2, 3, 5, 5 and 3; the total authority gained would be 18. Then if you have two sites that have authorities that are worth 10 and 10, you have 20 gained authority points. Lesson

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