Link Analysis: Popularity and Authority
Link Analysis: In their ongoing battle to overcome spamming the search engines are placing more and more emphasis on link analysis because it should be a lot more difficult to fool the search engines. Not all links are equal.
Search engines place emphasis on good quality, high authority, related and highly relevant links.
Anybody can make a site popular just be creating thousands of web pages all of which link to the main page but none need contain any worthwhile information. Now if these hundreds of web pages all covered good and similar topics to the one to which they were linked then the linked to site would not only be popular it would have authority.
High link popularity and authority is normally but not always a prerequisite to get an improvement in Google PageRank.
Beware of the FFA (free for all) web linking sites and similar sites offering to get you 1,000 links in 24 hours for only $30 etc. Google is aware of this spam technique and may well apply the zero PageRank factor to penalize sites using these services. It was pointed out in a previous chapter that Google is aware of and records the source of the link as well as the destination of the link.
An interesting experiment was carried out some time ago that highlights the power of back linking and how it can be abused. Simultaneously a large number of determined web users all linked back to Microsoft.com using the words Go to hell or something similar. Sure enough when the search query Go to hell was used Microsoft.com came up as number 1 SERP. This technique became known as Google bombing.
Google possibly overcame this problem by carefully checking what was earlier discussed namely matching link text with text in the destination web page and source page and giving more importance in its algorithm to matching situations.
Lets take a look at the garden ponds SERPs again to take another step forward in our learning process and try to understand why some websites might outdo others based upon linking parameters.
The table below is a summary of the important parameters for these SERPs:
The number 1 result had fewer links than number 2 and number 3. It also had a poor keyword use in link text although it did use the keyword in the link itself. So why did it get to the top position. I do not know for certain but 1 of the 20 links back to its site came from a very high authority called dmoz.org (Google PageRank = 10 for this site which belongs to the Open Directory Project). Numbers 2 and 3 did not.
This was probably highly significant.
Lets continue with popularity and authority.
HOW MANY LINKS IS ENOUGH?
You can never get enough good links back to your web page.
To give you an idea from a recent study by Axandra.com some of the following important quality (based upon Google PageRank) websites had massive link popularity.
Within your own site you should create an internal link structure which satisfies your visitor from a navigation viewpoint and also your own attempts to get high search engine rankings.
In a survey done by Axandra.com (suppliers of Arelis link popularity software) it was found that from a very large number of top 10 SERPs on Google that 23.38% of the number 1 web pages used the queried keyword in the anchor text link. This fits in with what we discussed above.
One of the ongoing challenges of any web marketer is to get more and more quality links to point back to the selected page
Note I said selected page since it is almost impossible to persuade other web owners to link back to more than 1 or 2 pages. The other important point is to cultivate links back from similar sites as far as possible. Think twice when using links from totally dissimilar sites purely to gain link numbers.
The links back should be directed to the page you deem most important which would often mean a web page optimized for a very difficult (high competition) keyword or a home page.
It is conceivable that once you have an important and highly ranked page that other sites will automatically link to you without your even knowing about it. These should be considered bonuses.
DISCOVERING HOW MANY AND WHICH WEB PAGES ARE LINKING BACK TO YOU
Towards the end of the book is a list of the various commands you can use at the different search engines to discover this information. Using Google the query to type into the search box is link:www.yoursite.com. Here is an example done for the number 1 site that appeared for the search water.
Notice there are 1,770 links back to this one site.
There are a few very interesting free websites that will do this job for you and provide other useful information. Examples are the Axandra and Marketleap tools. Here is a screen shot example from Axandra.com called Link Popularity Check.
The screen shot shows that it queries more than 1 search engine and displays the results in a table. It is able to query multiple websites simultaneously this tool allows monitoring of and comparison with competitors. Beware that Google does not normally show you the correct number of back links. It used to but has now made finding this information difficult to avoid more spamming and gaming taking place.
THE OPEN DIRECTORY PROJECT (OWNED BY AOL) AS A SOURCE OF LINK POPULARITY
The ODP (http://dmoz.org) is a very important human operated web directory by editors they carry very high influence in Google SERPs.
This ODP ranking influence actually works through Googles PageRank factor. Google has given the maximum PageRank to ODP and this reflects as an enhanced link factor on any web page linked from the directory.
To reiterate this important point it is NOT the listing and back link from ODP per se it is the influence that ODP plays in propagating PageRank influence by virtue of Googles algorithm trying hard to return SERPs of high quality.
By now we have all agreed I hope that getting lots of links and especially high quality links is a vitally important objective for any web marketer.