How to Read the Backlink Grid?
-The closer to the upper left corner the better the link.
-The closer to the lower right corner the worst the link.
-Anything below the red line should be avoided (with one exception).
VERTICAL (Y) – Links and the quality of placement
CNN, Time, The New York Times, MTV, Rolling Stone, Gizmodo, Wired, The Jerusalem Post or Al Jazeera, are all examples of top tier authority sites, as well as Links with .GOV and .EDU domain names as long as their Page Rank is high. Any incoming links from such sites have an immediate effect on rankings, but as great as those links can be they are really hard to harness. An Authority site doesn’t have to be a “News Giant” or a government website; it can be an important blog within a Niche. The only premise to classify a website as an authority is that it has more authority than yours. For example if you sell Educational Wooden Toys, the authority for you might be some one that has a popular blog about education for children, or an independent toy review website. A link placed in those will increase your own authority immediately.
The line between an Authority Site and a Contextual site tends to blur. A contextual site is one that has the same topic as yours, doesn’t have to be exactly the same topic, as long as it falls within the same industry or particular market segment. When the GoogleBot reaches your website through a link from a website within your niche, that is, with similar recurring keywords, it increases your importance because it means that others ‘like you’, or are ‘talking about you’, or are ‘voting for you’. Contextual Sites can be of higher or lower authority than yours and they are a vital part of any back-linking strategy.
There are many today that would place Social Buzz (although real) ahead in importance of an Authority Site. I wouldn’t disagree. Search engines have definitely tweak their algorithms to assign a lot of weight to a wave of tweets, likes, +1’s, diggs, or blog comments, about a company, and rightly so. If a link to a particular page in your website suddenly appears as a successive wave in a bunch of real social accounts, it boosts your ranking. The reason I don’t place it ahead of an Authority or Contextual Site is that the buzz goes away along with your newly acquired placement. Authority and Contextual are longer term. In reality most efforts orchestrated to produce Social Buzz should be part of a broader strategy which includes placing backlinks in Authority or Contextual sites. Not to say that if there is CONSTANT BUZZ about your company that is the best type of backlink there is. The challenge relies in the CONSTANT part.
Every link helps. A non-contextual site is one from a website which topic is not related with yours. It’s not only that every link helps, actually a link from a website that is not in your same field can be the factor that puts you ahead of the competition, remember that it is about quality, but once you are in a competitive field you will also need quantity. A non-contextual link can come in the shape of a customer that happens to have a blog who saw something they liked in your website and linked to it, or one of your tweeter followers who stumbled upon a piece of content you tweeted about and liked it so much that he put a link to it in his blog. Or perhaps just an acquaintance you collaborate with to promote each other’s content. But note something: The absolute prerequisite for any of these scenarios happening is producing great content. Without great content there are no backlinks.
Press Release Websites like PR Web are treated differently by Google. The links within the text of Press Release, despite of being ‘DoFollow’ and allowing ‘Anchor Text’ will not give you a lot of link juice, if any at all. It makes sense; anybody can write a press release (writing a really good one is not so easy though). The value of a press release lays in the distribution of your company’s news to numerous outlets via RSS feeds and other means. But for those news recipients to follow along and re-publish your press release the actual piece of NEWS has to be real, exciting, and important. It has to do with crafting a set of online or offline activities to be executed with momentum throughout the year while reflecting them in a set of press releases which if done right and with passion, will get you links and buzz, it might even get you, yes, on CNN -> Authority Site
Niche Directories can have a very positive effect on SERP rankings. If you manufacture American Made Hats a listing in a directory of American Made Products definitely needs to be a part of your Backlink Structure. For nearly every segment of the market there is a directory reflecting the companies who participate in it. It is the job of any SEM specialist to place your company in every reputable directory available within your niche.
Reputable Paid Directory
The power of Paid Directories comes from the fact that the final publishing of the listing is done by humans with real criteria to classify or even reject a listing. This category could have been placed in a higher position in the Backlink Grid for the sheer weight of the link they provide. Yahoo Search Directory, Best of The Web, Business.com, Directory Journal, and several others, are consistenly used by many SEO’s. I placed this category in a low position because the listings tend to be very expensive (Yahoo is $299.00) so many people don’t invest in them, but when you think about it $300 for a really reputable link is better than $85 for an artificial SEO package with 300 worthless directory submissions to penalized websites. Or, it’s also faster than developing content. If there is a healthy budget to work with it’s a no-brainer to include a couple of these ones.
BELOW THE RED LINE
Content Farms – Article Directories
It’s remarkable how things change in a heartbeat in the online world. From 2008 until 2011 one of the most important forms of Online Marketing was Article Marketing. It flourished so powerfully and quickly because it was an effective way to disseminate a large amount of anchored backlinks. How? There was a double punch. For once the single written article provided a backlink to the author’s website by means of the signature box, but even more powerful was the fact that almost all Article Directories provided RSS feeds by category that were used to populate so called “Niche Blogs” which, for example, had “Adsense ” all over them and at some point became an incredible business model for many. Luckily Google was following this abnormal growth of millions of websites which all looked the same and had the same duplicate content, and with one single sweep in February of 2011, called the Panda Update, obliterated this absurd business model. Out of all the Article Directories only one will survive this cataclysm and that is Ezinearticles.com because they became stricter in the editorial guidelines but most of all because they are working to become a Social Network. In my opinion their effort is going in the right direction and if they keep it up they will deserve a position on top of the red line again, hopefully sometime soon.
Content Farms – Link Directories
As explained above there are many worthwhile directories in the internet, but most of them are worthless. Be very careful when buying Directory Submission packages so you don’t waste your money in links that will have no value at all or that can even devalue your website.
This is one of the most ridiculous back-linking services that have ever been conceived. It works like this: somebody finds a group of people in Philippines, Pakistan, or India perhaps, or here in the US, the place is irrelevant. Each one of them mandated to open as many Social Media accounts as possible. Afterwards, they receive documents with a list of links they need to promote in their accounts. When it’s done the customer receives a report with a list of let’s say 80 different social networks where their content was “shared”. This is supposed to have 2 positive effects on the client’s web property, one, the search engines will detect the signals and crawl the page faster, and two; many of those bookmarks will become an actual backlink. People, run away from this offerings, there is no substitute for Real Social Interaction and Real Social Buzz harnessed organically by brands. I recommend staying away from these kinds of services; I have personally used them several times and have never found any benefit from them. Grow your own Social Accounts organically and post great content. Tweets, Likes, and +1’s will come alone.
I don’t have much information about Linking Exchange Schemes, nor do I wish to gather it, all I know is there used to be many of them. Stay away from people, websites, or directories, offering paid –or free- schemes of reciprocal link exchange. It will devalue or ban your website.
HORIZONTAL (X) – Link Relationship
One Way Links
One Way Links have more weight than their counterpart Two Way Links. Why? It makes sense, when someone places a link in their website pointing to yours without asking for anything in return, it is because that person finds your content and your website deserving of attention. This link produces a one directional relationship to which Search Engines assign the utmost importance increasing the authority of whoever garners them.
Multi One Way Links
Content Development Strategies of the highest level should set as their goal to create content that is so good, so on target, so direct, that it harness multiple one way links just by its shear existence. The final moment of content publication should be accompanied by a “Content Launch Strategy” which reaches to pre-targeted entities within horizontal fields, like bloggers, news reporters, webmasters; to inform them about the existence of the new content. The recent wave of “Infographic Marketing” is a great example of “Multi One Way Link Building”. This guide that you are reading right now is also an attempt to garner Multi One Way Links from my part. Most often than not the obstacle for Small Business is that developing amazing content takes time and money and it’s difficult to justify if sold as an intangible, but when content strategies are implemented correctly they yield the highest ROI of any Online Marketing activity because most of those backlinks will remain there forever pumping your ranking. You invested in them once but they will help you forever. In fact for many niches the acquisition of multi one way links from authority sites will guarantee No. 1 ranking in Google for years unchanged simply because the competition has no clue, no money, or no motivation, to commission high level content.
Two Way Links – Reciprocal Links
The reason search engines assign less value to bi-directional links is that they can easily be obtained through an agreement amongst webmasters, which goes somewhat like this: I link to you if you link to me. Nothing wrong with that, but the more contextual you can make this links the better, in other words try for those reciprocal relationships to make sense to your website visitors. If you sell guitar accessories the reciprocity should be established with other guitar or music related websites when possible. Two Way links will help but not as much as a one way vote of confidence.
What is still missing from the Backlink Grid?
-Follow / No-Follow“.
-Unique Domain Links
-Inside Unique Content Link
-Burst of New Links