Most of this post is about getting links from other sites pointing to your site. But remember that internal links, from page to page within your own site, can also help you in the search results if they’re nicely keyworded.
Finally, let’s not forget the original purpose of links, to help visitors, actual people, not search engines, find your website.
It’s worth remembering that links are useful from a totally non-SEO standpoint.
The right link in the right place can bring people to your site. Links help your site in a variety of different ways.
In this post, we’ll take a look at more ways that links help your site rank well in the search results. The first thing links do for you is to help search engines find your site.
It’s worth remembering that links are useful from a totally non-SEO standpoint. The right link in the right place can bring people to your site. Links help your site in a variety of different ways. In this post, we’ll take a look at more ways that links help your site rank well in the search results. The first thing links do for you is to help search engines find your site.
Keywords in the link’s anchor text tell the search engines what the reference page is about. This is a critical concept. You could have thousands of badly keyworded links and thus rank badly. Whereas a few dozens nicely keyworded links might push your site to the top in the search results. In fact, because keywords are so important, this means that internal links, links within your website, are also very important. The more links you have pointing to the site, the more often they will stumble across the site. In fact, the way to get your site indexed by a site engine is to point links to it. The search engines will follow these links, find your site, and crawl and index it. A site with no links pointing to it is in trouble. It’ll probably never be indexed. After all, if nobody cares enough about the site to link to it, the search engines wonder why they should care about it either. The more links, the better. The more links pointing to your site, the more often search engines will find these links, the more important they will consider it, and the more pages they’re likely to index.
A single link might eventually make major search engines aware of your site.
A hundred links will make them aware sooner and will give them more reason to index your site. Links can also help you get more of your site indexed. By pointing links not just to the homepage, but to pages inside the site, you’re telling the search engines that these internal pages are important to people.
So they might be worth indexing. Now here’s a critical function of links that are often overlooked. A link is good, but a link with keywords is far better.
Modern search engines use more than basic link popularity when they analyze web pages. They use more advanced forms of link popularity. Google, for instance, uses something called PageRank.
It’s a numerical value assigned by Google to every web page in its search index. Page Rank is complicated, but that’s okay, you really don’t have to know exactly how it works. I’m going to distill it down to what’s important. The PageRank value is an indicator of the worth of the page based on the number of links pointing to the page. In effect, websites vote for different pages by linking to them.
The more votes or links for a particular page, the higher the PageRank of that page, which tells Google that it’s likely to be more valuable than one with a lower PageRank.
That’s basic link popularity, of course, but PageRank goes even further. Google considers not just the number of links pointing to a page, but also the PageRank of the pages on which those links sit. That is, a link from a high PageRank page is worth more than a link from a low PageRank page.
Links from more popular pages are going to pass on more value than links from less popular pages. So, each link to a web page acts like a vote or a collection of votes. The more links, the more votes. The more votes or links for a particular page, the higher the PageRank of that page, which tells Google that it’s likely to be more valuable than one with a lower PageRank.
But some links, those from higher PageRank pages, carry more votes than others. It’s rather like when corporate shareholders vote.
Some shareholders have more votes than others because they hold more shares.
Google considers other factors too. It looks at how many links appear on each page.
A page’s votes are shared among links on the page. A link from a page with only one or two other links is worth more votes than a link from a page with the same PageRank, but 50 or 100 links. In effect, all of the links on a page share the pages’ votes, so more outgoing links from a page mean that each link is passing a smaller PageRank value to the page it links to.
Every page on a website has a PageRank and that rank can vary greatly throughout the site.
Pages within your own site pass PageRank from one to the other and when you link from your site to another site, you are passing PageRank to that other site.
Google uses PageRank to help it rank pages in the search results. For instance, if Google has two pages that seem to be an equally good match for a particular search query, the page with the higher PageRank
will rank higher in the search results, because, in effect, the worldwide web has voted for that page.
So, that’s the essence of Page Rank, a measure of how many links point to a page of link popularity.
But one that also takes into account the link popularity of the pages that contain those links and how many pages they link to. There are probably various other factors we don’t know about because Google isn’t saying. PageRank is used by Google to help it decide which pages are most important and to rank them accordingly. This is why links are so important, and not just for Google. All major search engines use something similar to PageRank.
It’s one reason why you must have good links if you want to have any chance of ranking well in the search results.
PageRank is a critical concept used by Google for valuing web pages and thus determining which pages rank higher. Links from pages with high PageRank are, all things being equal, more valuable than links with lower PageRank.
Well, you don’t anymore. Google uses to provide PageRank numbers for every web page on the web.
You could even see a number in the Google browser toolbar when you loaded a page. But, Google no longer provides this information and is unlikely to do so again. So, how do you determine whether a link from site A is better than from site B?
Well, to fill the void left by Google pulling PageRank numbers, various companies now provide what I like to call, Pseudo PageRank’s. These are numbers that express a value for a web page in a similar way that PageRank provided a value.
They’re not calculated in the same way, and in any case, Google doesn’t state exactly how it calculates PageRank. But they still provide, what is in effect, a measure of an advanced form of link popularity. A measure of value based on the links pointing to the web page.
As links flow away from the trusted sites, from site to site, the TrustRank passed gets weaker and weaker. Links from trusted websites are more valuable than links from sites with no trust. TrustRank helps the search engines decide which pages to rank higher. If a search engine is comparing two web pages, that seem to be equally good matches for a searcher’s query, the page that has a higher trust rank is going to rate higher. You don’t have to understand how exactly TrustRank works, and indeed we don’t even know how the search engines have implemented this concept, you just need to know that links from sites, that are likely to be trustworthy, are valuable.
Well, Majestic.com provides what it calls, “Citation Flow”, which is the equivalent to PageRank and is on a scale of zero to 100. It also provides Trust Flow, which is a form of Trust Rank. Moz.com (https://moz.com/) provides something called, “Page Authority”, along with Domain Authority, which is a sort of PageRank for the entire website.
Remember, PageRank itself is related to individual web pages, rather than entire sites. These two services provide this Pseudo PageRank information free. You may find other services, both free and paid. These measurements are not exact replacements for PageRank, but in many cases, they’re close. They do still provide an idea of how valuable a link from a particular webpage may be.
There’s another critical way that links help your site bypassing on trust. It’s commonly known as TrustRank, and the concept is simple. If a highly trusted website links to another site, it’s likely the site being linked to can also be trusted. So, TrustRank can be used to weed out low-quality sites that are likely spamming search engines, sites playing games to rank highly in the search results. The TrustRank process begins with a hand-picked list of trusted websites, newspapers, universities, radio and TV stations, and so on.
These sites are reviewed and chosen by search engine employees and are given the highest trust rating. Links from these sites are likely to be more valuable than links from MCLuliba’s blog, for example. TrustRank is passed from page to page. So we start with a trusted site, for instance, The New York Times. Any link from The Times to another site is assumed to also be reasonably trustworthy. And so the link passes on some trust. When that site, then, links to another site TrustRank is passed on yet again though not as much.