26 Mar


Chapter 8 - Link Building & Back-link Development

This guide was written in 2010, it demonstrates the forward-thinking nature of our SEO, much of our advice is still relevant today! However, please navigate to up-to-date SEO guides.

The Concept of Link Building & Development

If you know anything about Search Engine Optimization, SEO, you have realized by now that building links is extremely important to the successful ranking of a website.  However, for the sake of avoiding confusion we refer to link building as search engine marketing or SEM.


As discussed in Chapter 4:  How Search Engines Work, all the search engines use link analysis to determine the rankings of pages.  The various search engines are concerned with fighting what they call “spam” and link analysis is part of the process.  As a result, it is important to understand their algorithm as best as we can and what they are looking for when developing your link building strategy.


With this in mind, there is a variety of ways to look at any given link you might find on the web.  As a person trying to optimize a website, there are a few important points to consider when deciding what links search engines value and how they value links:


  • What page does a link point to?


  • What is the anchor text?


  • What is the value of the text in the link?


  • How much value will you get from the link?


  • Is there any risk of being penalized by using a particular link?


To effectively being this analysis, we must first look at links from the perspective of the search engines.

What a Search Engine wants

Search engines use an algorithm to measure the type and quality of links before deciding on their importance.

Why does a link exist?

The primary question a search engine considers is why a link exists.  Internal links that are blue underlined links in the body of your web page are considered as likely being there to assist the users to navigate your website or find information.

On the other hand, links that have no visible indication that they are a link are viewed as probably being there to influence your ranking.

Why was this link given to a website?

When looking at external links, the search engines break down the links into the following categories:

Stolen Links:

These links are created through web applications that allow users to add links to a webpage.  These kinds of applications can include blogs, directories and the like.

Manufactured Links:

These links exist because someone has gone out of their way to create websites and web pages for the sole purpose of creating links.  This is known as “link farming” and is often difficult for search engines to detect.

Bartered Links:

These links come about by people asking others to exchange a link to their site for a link to theirs or can be the result of including links in signatures of forums and links found on social networking sites.  When search engines determine that links are merely exchanged, the discount the value of that link.

Purchased Links:

These are considered by the search engines as falling into one of two categories:  Those which may be legitimate and profitable advertising for the purchaser and those which are there merely in an attempt to influence rankings.

Given Links:

These are links that are awarded freely because someone likes a website and wants to link to it.  These are the links the search engines like the most.

Authority and Trust

The value of a particular link depends on how much authority a website has (as measured by Google through its PageRank system) and the trust a site has.  An authoritative site might do well in the ranking while at the same time be an untrusted site because it sells link ads to other websites or SEO companies.


It is interesting to note that links from such sites might be regarded as useless in one search engine and invaluable in another.


While there are legitimate reasons to purchasing links such as attempting to drive traffic to a website, for optimization purposes it is better to create a link building strategy based on the concept of authority and trust.  The optimal situation is having a lot of links from authoritative sites with a high degree of trust, whether they are purchased, bartered or earned.


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