Search engine optimization for small and very small businesses.

Archive for the links Category

Our Entrepreneur Magazine Article

Our latest article has just appeared on Entrepreneur Magazine’s web site. It’s titled Improve Your Website’s Reputation. If you’re ignoring your link popularity–the number and quality of other sites that link to yours–your search engine rankings will suffer. Find out what makes good links and how to get them.


How well you rank in the search engines when someone searches for your products or services is a function of two things: relevance and reputation. Relevance has to do with how easily the search engines can tell if your page is relevant to the terms that were searched for. That’s addressed through classic search engine optimization techniques for enhancing on-page keyword relevance.

Reputation, on the other hand, is measured by your link popularity, which is the number and quality of websites that link to you. Search engines view incoming links as “votes” for the quality of your site by the websites that link to you. So obviously, it’s critical to obtain a good number of inbound links to your site. But … not all links are created equal, and it’s important to understand why, especially if you want to improve your link popularity.

This article provides concrete strategies that’ll spell out just where to look for links, how to evaluate potential links and — when you request a link — how to specify the exact link you want.

If you need help with link building, ask us.

How Google Ranks Links

As we point out in many places on, Google heavily relies on incoming links when it comes to ranking web sites. In addition to the sheer number of links and their anchor texts, the recently released Google patent specification shows possible ways how Google might use historical link information to further evaluate links.

For example, Google might record the date they first found a link and even record the life span of a link and the speed at which a new web site gets links.

The patent specification indicates that Google might track this:

  • Both the anchor text and the discovery date of links are recorded.
  • Google might monitor the appearance and disappearance of a link over time.
  • Google might monitor the growth rates of links.
  • Google might monitor the changes in the anchor text of links (what the link actually says) over a given period of time.
  • Google might monitor the rate at which new links to a web page appear and disappear.
  • Google might record a distribution rating for the age of all links.
  • Links with a long life span might get a higher rating than links with a short life span.
  • Links from fresh pages might be considered more important.
  • If a stale document continues to get incoming links, it will be considered fresh.
  • Google doesn’t expect that new web sites have a large number of links (but they do need some).
  • If a new web site gets many new links, this will be tolerated if some of the links are from authorative sites.
  • Google indicates that it is better if link growth remains constant and slow.
  • Google indicates that it’s best if anchor text varies as much as possible among incoming links.
  • Google indicates that a quick burst of new links may be a strong indicator of search engine spam.

What does this mean to your web site?

If you participate in quick link exchange schemes or buy links to your web site so that you get many links at once, chances are that Google will see this as a spamming attempt and will penalize your rankings. It’s far better for new links to appear in a natural way, a few at a time over an extended period of time.

Link Popularity Getting Harder?

New incoming links are very important to web site owners who hope to have potential customers find them in the search engines. It’s generally agreed that having lots of incoming links, especially if they’re topically related, provide a boost to a site’s search rankings. Our experience bears that out.

It’s beginning to look like Google may be employing a dampening filter on new incoming links. It seems that Google does not give immediate full credit for an incoming link. Observations seem to indicate that Google provides only a partial immediate credit, by running new links through a filter. Only as the link ages, and stays linked to the site for long enough, does the target site’s Google PageRank and link popularity receive full credit for the link.

That total link value and PageRank credit is further measured for link theme relevance (how related the link source is to the page it links to), making the process of link building much more difficult than in the past.

In Brief …

New links don’t provide immediate benefit to the receiving website. The link popularity and Google PageRank benefit is not passed in completely and immediately once the new link has been discovered by Google. In effect, the theory postulates the existence of a Sandbox for new links.