Link Basics

Anatomy of Links – Before diving into link value factors, let’s review the anatomy of a link. A standard link is going to look something like this:

<a href=”http://www.somesite.com”>Click Here</a>

  • http://www.somesite.com is the destination URL
  • ”Click here” is the Anchor Text

The rest of the code you see is just the standard opening and closing tags. Be sure to memorize the anatomy, as you will be using it often.

Target=”_blank” – At times, you might see the addition of a target=”_blank” which is simply an attribute included to make the link open in a new tab. This can come before or after the destination URL.

Here are two examples in use:

<a href=”http://www.somesite.com” target=”_blank”>Click Here</a>

<a target=”_blank” href=”http://www.somesite.com”>Click Here</a>

At times you will also see a rel=”nofollow” or a rel=”external nofollow” which we will cover in later chapters.

Link Value Factors

Many factors play a role in determining the value of a link. High-quality links can drive considerable benefit to your site while low-quality ones can actually hurt your rankings. To help determine which links are worth building, it’s important to understand the many factors that influence the value of a link.

All else equal, the following factors play a role:

  1. The Distance of the Link from a Trusted Source – Links from a trusted source are more valuable than links from a non-trusted source. “Trust” takes into account the age of the domain, quality, and quantity of links to the domain, the quality of content on the domain and other factors. The websites of universities, large media outlets, and government websites are prime examples of high-trust websites.
    Getting links from these sources is not easy, but the good news is that websites can pass this “trust” to other sites down a chain via links. So you may not have a direct inbound link from one of these sites, but you might have a link from a site that does. Even if your inbound link is a few links away from the trusted source, your site will still benefit. The more degrees of separation, the less benefit is passed.
  2. The Linking Website’s Quantity of Inbound Links – Backlinks from domains with many inbound links are more valuable than backlinks from domains with only a few inbound links.
  3. The Linking Website’s Quality of Inbound Links – Backlinks from domains with high-quality inbound links are more valuable than backlinks from domains with low-quality inbound links.
  4. The Linking Page’s Quantity of Outbound Links – Backlinks from pages with few outbound links are more valuable than backlinks from pages with many outbound links. This is one of the biggest limitations of link building strategies like directory listings. For example, if a page within a photography web directory lists hundreds of photographers in your area and links to every website, then the value passed from that page to yours is diluted by all of the other links. We will talk more about this later. On the other hand, this is one of the reasons in-content, editorial mentions are so valuable. For example, within an article or a feature on a major website, the number of links is typically limited to just a few links that are relevant to the actual content. We will talk more about this later as well.
  5. The Linking Page’s Quality of Outbound Links – Backlinks from sites that link to low-quality, spammy sites are less valuable than backlinks from sites that do not link to low-quality, spammy sites.
    This is the idea of “bad neighborhoods.” If you take a look at a site and you see links out to random websites from all sorts of industries without any context, you want to stay far away.
  6. Location of the Link on a Page – Links higher up in the HTML code pass more value than links lower in the code. This means that links within the menu and the content are more valuable than links in author bios, sidebars, and footers.
  7. Link Location within a Domain – Links from a top level domain, i.e. www. sampledomain.com, are more valuable than links from an individual page, i.e. www.sampledomain.com/random-page.
  8. The Uniqueness of the Linking Website’s Domain – Links from a unique domain are more valuable than links from a domain that is already linking to your site. For example, if Site A and Site B are the same; and you already have a link from Site A, then a link from Site B will be more valuable than a second link from Site A.
  9. The Keywords within Anchor Text  – As we mentioned in the first book, the Anchor Text is the visible text in a hyperlink. Links with Anchor Text containing the destination page’s keywords are more valuable thank links that do not contain the keywords.
  10. The Linking Website’s Content Relevance – Links from sites with relevant content are more valuable than links from websites with unrelated content. Along those same lines, links with related surrounding text are more valuable than links with unrelated surrounding text.
  11. Geographic Location of the Linking Website – Links from websites in related geographic locations are more valuable in regards to local search results than links from websites in unrelated geographic locations. Search Engines determine the geographic location based on the Host IP address, language used on the website, physical address of the business running the website, and other factors.
  12. The Existence of the “Nofollow” Value – The link type also plays a role in determining link value. HTML Text Links are the most valuable, followed by linked images, followed by Javascript Links. Links in Flash or iFrame content provide no value.
  13. Link Type of Backlink – The link type also plays a role in determining link value. HTML Text Links are the most valuable, followed by linked images, followed by Javascript Links. Links in Flash or iFrame content provide no value.

CHAPTER 1.01 – INTRODUCTION

CHAPTER 2: 1.02 – SEO BASICS & KEYWORD STRATEGY

CHAPTER 3 1.03 – CREATING CONTENT

CHAPTER 4: 1.04 – SITE STRUCTURE

Chapter 5: 1.05 – ACCESSIBILITY, SPEED, AND DUPLICATE CONTENT

Chapter 6: 2.01 – LINK BASICS

Chapter 7: 2.02 – LINK VALUE FACTORS

Chapter 8: 2.03 – NOFOLLOW, RELATED LINKS, & ANCHOR TEXT

Chapter 9: 2.04 – LINK BUILDING STRATEGIES

Chapter 10: 3.01 – THE IMPORTANCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA

Chapter 11: 3.02 – MAXIMIZING SPECIFIC SOCIAL MEDIA NETWORKS

Chapter 12: 3.03 – MASTER LOCAL SEARCH

Chapter 13: 4.01 – Initial Decisions

Chapter 14: 4.02 – WORDPRESS AND SQUARESPACE

Chapter 15: 4.03 – GOOGLE ANALYTICS

Chapter 16: PAID DIRECTORIES

ACCESS TO INDUSTRY-LEADING EDUCATION

Let SLR Lounge guide you in your photography journey with the best photography education and resources. Browse our complete, comprehensive solutions and take the next step in your photography.
BROWSE WORKSHOPS