How do I evaluate an incoming link to my site?
 by Casey Markee

How do I evaluate an incoming link to my site?

  • How do search engines evaluate links to my sites? What should I as a siteowner be looking for when seeking out links to my site? Are there some specific factors that determine the eventual weighting of the link for either positive or negative search rankings?

Answer: There are literally dozens of answers to this question. Search engines evaluate links in a plethora of ways which influence how much authority that link receives, and in turn how much of that authority is passed on to a specific site page. The more authoritative a link is perceived by the search engines, the more weight that link is given algorithmically, resulting in potentially higher rankings for the site being linked to.

Here are some specific factors that we feel are the most important, as well as relevant considerations that siteowners should be aware of when evaluating links into their sites (these are listed in no particular order of importance):

  • Anchor Text— Targeting a specific keyword phrase and having that phrase appear exactly as the linking text in a link into your site can have a significant, positive ranking effect.

  • PageRank of the Page — The higher the PageRank of the page linking to you the better. The higher the PR of a page linking to you, the more importance Google gives it.

  • Use of NoFollow — A link that is NoFollowed will not be crawled by Google, although it is indexable by Yahoo and Microsoft. But such a link does not pass PageRank and thus is limited algorithmically for ranking purposes in all the major search engines.

  • Relevance of Page Content — The higher the relevance of the page to the page it is linked to, the higher the link value. If you have a software site with lots of links from other software sites or technology-related organizations those are going to be substantially more effective then non-themed links.

  • Relevance of Linking Site — The higher the relevance of the site doing the linking, the higher the link value. Same example, software sites ...

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