The Value of Links for SEO

One of the most common questionable expenses when expanding into the online marketplace can be whether or not to hire someone with a background in SEO.  Recent rumours have speculated that links and SEO optimization have become stagnant and dead, but research has proven otherwise. With over 94% of all web content having no external backlinks, SEO is still very relevant to the online world of goods and services.  In fact, 50% of the most important rank factors are based on link quality.  Factors such as referring domains, total backlinks, total referring IPs, and follow-backlinks all have origins in SEO and linking properties. If you are looking into hiring an SEO expert, there is still a ton of value to be had.  

Two of the most important functions that must be fulfilled by SEO are link building and technical optimization.  These two factors are integral to maximizing the most out of your online web content.What is tricky about links is that they are not all created equal.  Many links do not have helpful information or a good origin point.  In order to facilitate this challenging situation, Google automatically filters search requests by four main factors: link schemes, doorway pages, hidden links, and thin affiliates. 

Link schemes are links that are selling content or goods and do not label them as such.  This could include blog posts endorsing a certain product or social media platforms that allow for transactions between advertisers and consumers. Doorway pages are like the Trojan horse of link fraud.  These websites are designed to fulfill a certain and specific search request.  When the person clicks on the page, they are redirected to multiple sites that may or may not fulfill what their original request was. Hidden links are pretty self-explanatory.  These are links that are embedded or hidden from the Internet user.  Typically triggered by a scroll over or a mouse click, these links will take the user to another sight despite their consent. Finally, thin affiliates are one of the most difficult types of link fraud.  Thin affiliates are designed to redirect the user to another page but unlike a doorway page, thin affiliates have content on them.  This content is created through an affiliated network and it offers no original or unique content to the Internet. 

Google also has a tendency to block or filter “unnatural links.”  The term unnatural link is a very grey one, meaning it is open to interpretation. Typically these links will contain excessive keywords, are distrubed in footers, or contain sponsored content that is not disclosed. However, these types of links are hard to sort out from the four main types of link fraud and can be subjective due to the vast amount of content on the Internet.  Many times unnatural links are filtered on the basis of following into one of the four main categories of link fraud.  

It is important to design a quality “natural” link so that you can avoid having your content removed from a Google search filter.  There are four main things you should be cautious about when designing a link: anchor text, URL factors, clickability, and follow links. Anchor text can penalize a link and be the cause of removal.  To have natural anchor text you must try to stay away from lengthy keyword optimization.  You must also ensure that your content is unique otherwise you may get penalized for there being a high volume of similar content. URL factors are commonly considered when assessing link quality but there are still some things to watch out for.  Making sure that your link has minimal tracking parameters and loe redirects will ensure that you do not get penalized. 

Clickability factors heavily into the assessment of a valuable link.  The more clickable your link is the greater value it has.  By putting links in the body of a text instead of the footer can help you get maximum exposure. By incorporating follow links, you can increase your value by providing a secure transit of authority.  This is important in building up the credibility of your links.  Links and SEO are not going away anytime soon. Considering this now will save you money in the future.

links are not dead