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October 25, 2013

How To Improve SEO - Link Building Tip


This article focuses on identifying the ideal link for the off-page search engine optimization (SEO) tactic called link building.

PageRank - Part of Google's search engine ranking algorithm named after co-founder Larry Page.

Key-worded link - An anchor text link that targets keywords you want to rank highly for. Example would be:
Learn more about our <a href="" title="keyword-title-as-well">keyword phrase here</a>.
TrustRank - A concept that came from Stanford and Yahoo! and is almost certainly used by Google's algorithm. Links from sites with a high TrustRank are worth more PageRank than links from sites with low TrustRank. TrustRank is shared from site to site. The farther away from a site with a high TrustRank a link gets, the less value it carries as a trusted site.

Static text - Text on a webpage that doesn't change; text that remains on the screen. For example, the text on this definition is considered static text. Text that appears on an e-commerce product page is typically generated by a backend database. This would be categorized as dynamic text, which is the opposite of static text.

Off-page SEO - Ways to increase your webpage's search engine ranking that involve SEO tactics on pages other than the page your trying to optimize.

Image vs. Text
A well-keyworded text link is ideal, but an image link pointing to your still holds some value, for example passing PageRank to your site.

Relevant sites vs. Any site
Any well key-worded link pointing to your site is better than no link. Relevant sources to your site are ideal, but not 100% essential. Take a well key-worded link from anywhere you can get it.

Ideal sites are more trusted sites. High trusted sites are major newspapers and websites owned by a highly respected university; .edu domains are believed to carry more search rank weight, as are .gov websites.

An ideal link will also be on a high PageRank web page. PageRank is a measure of value, so as we're dreaming about the perfect link right now, we might as well get that link from the highest PageRank page we can.

Ideally, your anchor text link will be on the readable portion of the webpage; the ideal link is one in static text that has been loaded into a web page by the web server, not the web browser.

Most of the time, we want well key-worded anchor text links in text paragraphs, not in lists of links. You want a link anywhere on a page vs. no link at all. The idea is that search engines see a link surrounded by other related text and the search engines think this link is more relevant and give it more value. On the other hand, if you have a link in a set of links that appear on every page, say a blog roll, it's not a bad thing at all.

To summarize then, what's the ideal link?
  • It's a text link with good keywords in the anchor text and a title attribute if you think that may be important, or want to cover all bases.
  • It will be on an index page on a relevant site, a trusted site in fact, perhaps a .edu or .gov domain with a high PageRank.
  • The link should be in static text, not text created dynamically.
  • Getting the link into paragraph text is a good thing though I like to see a variety of link types really.
  • The single most important thing is to get plenty of key-worded links pointing to your site.

More link building tips and strategies coming soon!

For tips on keyword analysis and keyword distribution mapping for your links and seo efforts, see our earlier blog posts.


  1. Thank you Jackson - this was a very clear article, and I appreciated the definitions. Are you saying that by using shortlinks instead of writing the whole long link that I may be cutting off the effectiveness of any links I may get?

  2. Hi Ms. Carroll, great question! The answer is no, with the caveat that you're using a "good" url shortener like bitly or others that provide a proper 301 redirect with your shortened link, so that PageRank and the anchor text can flow through to your page. Hope that makes sense. Here's a video my Matt Cutts, Google's SEO evangelist, with more on the subject:

    If you're interested in checking your shortened links to make sure they are properly coded, do a google search for "301 redirect checker" and you'll find online tools that will help you do this.