A Powerful Linking Strategy for Stronger SEO

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I’ve recently been noticing that often when people discuss the concepts and principles that deliver powerful search engine results that they often only focus on some of the simple core concepts like the title tags, the description, using the keyword in the content, etc. But there is so much more that you can do to find real success with the search engines.

The Power of Linking is often Overlooked

Although these concepts mentioned in the first paragraph are important there are actually many more incredibly important SEO factors involved that most bloggers and webmasters are overlooking. In fact, the vast majority of bloggers fail to realize the powerful impact that links have on the strength of their articles in the search engines results pages.

Links are powerful. Links from other websites, links from other articles on your site, and even outbound links from your site can massively impact Google’s view of your online authority. With this in mind, move forward and develop a strategy that makes use of this information and watch what can happen when you focus on building stronger SEO.

A Powerful Linking Strategy for Stronger SEO

Below you’ll find the linking strategy that I’ve adopted for Site Sketch 101 and I’ve been seeing explosive results. I’m not an expert on SEO and I won’t pretend to be, but I can boldly proclaim that I’m enjoying awesome success and tons of traffic from search engines and I believe whole-heartedly that you can also.

1. Improve the quality of outbound links

Google’s director of spam control, Matt Cutts, has made it very clear that outbound links are in fact used to determine the quality and relevancy of a page. Links that point to warez, piracy, pornography, cash advance and other shady sites do degrade the authority of the linking website.

If you’re caught linking to a site that defies Google’s terms of service then you can actually find yourself feeling the negative impact of the decisions that another webmaster made at their site.

This is, in fact, the number one reason that people employ the Nofollow tag in their comments sections. They don’t do it to deprive those who comment of precious Page Rank link juice. They do it to protect themselves from the painful consequences of linking to a low quality or spammy websites.

2. Massively increase high quality internal links

Take a moment to dig through any article on Wikipedia. For that matter, simply browse through this article and notice the large number of internal links throughout the content that use anchor text that is relevant to the article being linked.

Wikipedia is able to show off internal pages with average Page Ranks of 6 and 7 and they’re able to be listed at the top of search engine listings for thousands of search terms. Part of the reason that they’re able to accomplish that is simply due to the large number of internal links that point to each article.

Matt Cutts has made it very clear that Google prefers links that are in the content and that they value them very highly. Filling your content with relevant links to other great articles is a great way to pump the value of the pages on your site.

3. Increase high quality inbound links

Everyone agrees that building an army of inbound links is one of the most effective ways to demonstrate to Google, Yahoo, and Bing that your site is an authority in its niche. Yet too often bloggers forget that not all links are created equally. Here’s a few concepts to keep in mind when determining how important a particular inbound link is for your site.

  • Quality: Is the site that’s linking to you an authority or is it an obscure website hiding in the corner of the internet with little or no influence?
  • Relevancy: Is the site that’s linking to you providing relevant information to your content or is it random and likely confusing to readers and search engines?
  • Anchor Text: Is the site that’s linking to you using your keyword as the anchor text for the link or does it use generic links like click here.
  • Quantity: Are you building up more high quality inbound links than other sites who are trying to rank on similar keywords?

Group Reflection:

Don’t underestimate the power of links: internal links, inbound links, and outbound links. They are powerful. They can help you to develop a powerful online presence of which Google will sit up and pay attention.

Over the next couple of days, I’ll be posting some awesome guides that will explain how to rapidly grow the quantity and quality of your internal links and I’ll be discussing the hotly debated nofollow issue from a perspective that may surprise you.

So what’s your opinion on these issues? I want to hear what you have to say as we move forward into day two of our SEO fest that will hopefully rock your online world.


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44 Vibrant Comments

We would love to hear yours!

  1. March 24, 2010

    dhila said:

    what an applicative article. like this. 🙂
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Selamat Datang Cinta =-.

    • March 24, 2010

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      dhila » Thanks. I’m glad that it’s helpful. Just wait to see the articles that I have ready for the rest of the week.

  2. March 24, 2010

    Lou Belcher said:

    Great article. Very clearly written. Thanks.

  3. March 24, 2010

    Robyn from Sam's Web Guide said:

    Interesting post Nicholas.

    I really did not know that google used outbound links to rank a site as well. So would you say that sites that use dofollow tags may be causing more harm to their site than good?
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: 10 Simple Steps to Secure & Protect your WordPress Blog =-.

    • March 24, 2010

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      First, keep in mind that outbound links are perhaps the least important of the three types of links. They allow Google to gain a greater knowledge of what your site is about especially when the content of those linked pages reflects the content of your material. The added relevance is then weighed into the mix.

      This is actually a great case for using nofollow in the comments and dofollow in the content. This way you are getting credit for the relevant links and not for the irrelevant ones. And as a heads up, the next two days’ articles are actually devoted to discussing the nofollow issue with this concept being one of the foremost arguments in favor of it.
      .-= My Latest Blog Post: The Golden Nuggets of Negative Feedback =-.

      • March 24, 2010

        Keith said:

        I wouldn’t go as far as to say one is more important than another, but at the same time inbound links are probably most important in the big G’s eyes.

        If we think more about the reader (and I know you do) then linking out to relevant articles is always a good thing. But I think that you constantly preach having a balance, this is one of those instances where having a balance is necessary.

        Good article Nick!
        .-= My Latest Blog Post: Are You Being A Cry Baby? =-.

        • March 24, 2010

          Nicholas Cardot said:

          You’re right, Keith. I misspoke. It is perhaps the least important to Google but definitely not in other aspects. You are right about that. I was speaking from a purely SEO standpoint and not from an overall standpoint. Good observation.
          .-= My Latest Blog Post: The Golden Nuggets of Negative Feedback =-.

  4. March 24, 2010

    Bruce said:

    If content is king, then link building is the prince. A time consuming pain in the rear one at that. At least before you build your authority.

    Many people go the easy way and drop cash on links, but to me that’s cheating. Fortunately Google agrees with me. Unfortunately it’s done with a lot of success anyways.

    All the money in the world wont win out over high quality content that goes viral though.

    • March 24, 2010

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      Bruce » It is time consuming, but as you grow in your ability to grow and build that army of links surrounding your website, you will quickly learn that the key is to produce amazing content. About paid links…it’s shady. It’s understandable that Google frowns on it. Paying for links doesn’t prove that your material is better than other content. It proves that you are trying to pay in order to manipulate the system. Going viral is the key!

  5. March 24, 2010

    Kidgas said:

    This is very helpful information and I look forward to the guides. I did not know about the outbound link issue so it makes sense that nofollow is used frequently.

    I have also read elsewhere that the number of internal links can play a significant role as well so I appreciate the confirmation and reminder.

    Again, looking forward to the guides.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Thinking About Michelle Adams Site Flipping Guide =-.

    • March 24, 2010

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      Kidgas » Very few people consider the value of their outbound links. In fact, I’ve only seen the real value of it over the past couple of months as some friends introduced me to the concept, provided me with some resources and information about it, and then I began testing and I’ve seen great results because I’ve paid attention to it.

  6. March 24, 2010

    scheng1 said:

    I think you forget to mention about the effect of deeplinking. Most people link only to the homepage, and ignore the link building effort of inner pages.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Do you think an article is worth $1,000? =-.

    • March 24, 2010

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      scheng1 » Deeplinking is a great point. Of course, it falls in as a sub category of inbound links, but deeplinking is a great way to build search engine traffic on your internal pages. Thanks for bringing that up.

  7. March 24, 2010

    D'MarieF said:

    I’ve been following this blog since reading your “. ” guest post on problogger.

    In reading this post, I had to laugh when I got to “…obscure website hiding in the corner of the Internet with little or no influence” because that’s me!
    Good tips, keep ’em coming. 🙂

    • March 24, 2010

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      D’MarieF » Ahhh. My guest post on Problogger. I had so much fun putting that article together. Darren has a terrific blog and he’s doing a great job of helping a lot of bloggers out over there.

      There’s nothing wrong with being that obscure website in the corner of the internet. I certainly didn’t intend that to sound insulting or demeaning. However, we need to recognize the difference between those types of sites and the types of sites that are really making things happen. Then as we see the difference we can work on moving our site from the first category to the latter. My site is still very obscure as well, but with you, I’m working hard to move it into the spot light.

  8. March 24, 2010

    Thomas McGee said:

    Thanks for the article, this is some good info. I’ve actually been slowly learning more about SEO and it’s amazing how many different aspects there are to it.

    I look forward to hearing more about SEO and especially the nofollow issue.

    Thanks again!
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Alexis Johnson to Guest on The American View Radio =-.

    • March 24, 2010

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      Thomas McGee » I’m really amazed as well at the many different aspects of it. I’ve got five articles total in this series of SEO posts that I’ll be sharing and the only aspect that we’re going to be discussing and debating is the different aspects of linking. Hopefully it really opens our eyes to the many different variables that are involved in a simple link.

      Then after this little SEO fest we’ll be getting back to focusing on content, monetization, design, etc.

  9. March 24, 2010

    D'MarieF said:

    Oops, I skipped adding the guest post link with intention of coming back to add it after finishing my comment, but that publish button said “Publish” and I did! 🙂

    Here’s the link: http://www.problogger.net/archives/2010/02/14/take-your-readers-on-a-journey-theyll-never-forget/

  10. March 24, 2010

    Eli said:

    I have to confess I didn’t read many articles of my feed completely from start to end. But you just made me do it, especially because the content is so valuable.

    It also shows why the typical spam comments akismet blocks are full of anchor text links 🙂

    Thanks for the post!
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Russian Photo Stock, images, photographers… =-.

  11. March 24, 2010

    Tessa Shepperson said:

    What do you think of the Scribe SEO service/plugin? I have been using it for my blogs and it has certainly helped me to understand more about SEO.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Disrepair claim after consent order for possession is not abuse of process =-.

    • March 24, 2010

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      Tessa Shepperson » Personally, I think that you are paying for something that I can teach here for free. I think that they are taking advantage of a lot of people by selling that product. I’m very familiar with it, but I won’t be purchasing it. There are many good SEO resources available where you can learn this material for free. The only issue is that instead of pointing you in the right direction, they decided to sell you a product about it. I don’t personally recommend purchasing it.

      • March 25, 2010

        David Messmer said:

        I agree. I’ve been using Scribe and it actually taught me a few things (not $27 worth of stuff, though). I don’t see any reason to keep paying for it, though, since the things it taught me were simple enough to do on my own once I knew about them.

  12. March 24, 2010

    Mattheous @ Menu Musings said:

    I’ve always has trouble with the SEO part of blogging. I know what to do–I just don’t know when is enough is enough, or when it’s too little, too late! I tend to either over-link or under-link my posts. Will you help us find the right ballance in your coming posts? That would help me out a lot, and zi know that other people are wondering the same thing.

    I’ve also been wonderig…Can you go back and SEO old posts? Or is that
    completely useless?

    I have my blog writing down (as far as style, voice, etc go)–I just have to work on SEO! It would probably help if I got the other pages of my blog up…

    • March 26, 2010

      David Messmer said:

      I’ve been wondering the same thing. In particular, I was wondering how quickly, and then how often thereafter, Google evaluates sites. I help my fiance maintain her blog and she will often write posts and then I try to optimize them for SEO whenever I get the chance (usually within a couple of days). Does anyone know if we’re hurting our long-term SEO by doing that?

  13. March 25, 2010

    Web Hosting UK said:

    Outbound links to sites with high quality content that is relevant to the information on your page is always positive for your site’s PageRank and Absolutely the more acklinks, the more juice the page has to distribute. The more outbound links, the less juice each linked-to page receives.

  14. March 26, 2010

    Reza Winandar said:

    Onpage SEO are easy to do, but if you do offpage SEO like link building, then it will great for your page onpage SEO. Onpage and offpage must be done at the same time.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: This is blog is now Do Follow =-.

  15. March 27, 2010

    Dennis Edell said:

    Focusing at least one article on outbound linking would be greatness.

    There are still far to many beginners using the word competitor rather then colleague; as an example, and refusing to link out for “fear” sakes.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Holy Power Outage Batman, Not Again! Yep, Another Two Days Shot to Hell… =-.

  16. March 28, 2010

    Kok Siong Chen @ Cancer Research said:

    Hi Nicholas! I really agree you that the essential role of the linking in Search Engine Optimization. It represents the authority of the site. I used to read others blog and leaving the comment to build up the links.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Activation Proto-oncogenes Causing Cancer =-.

    • March 29, 2010

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      Kok Siong Chen @ Cancer Research » Don’t leave comments to build links. Leave comments to participate in the conversation. You’re essentially letting people buy your conversation. Comment where you think you can add value to the discussion and that will accomplish more for your online presence than anything else.

    • May 31, 2010

      Felix Albutra @ Blogging Access said:

      You got a point there my friend. But we must forget that doing comments is also a way of connecting people that would also in building our authority.

      Using keyword as your name is I think good way to build backlinks to your blog but I think it is not a good way of building authority because other commentators don’t even knew the name of the person behind those useful comments.

      But anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I hope we can be good friends.

      Best regards,
      Felix Albutra
      .-= My Latest Blog Post: 10 Things to Do After Creating Your Blogger Blog =-.

  17. March 29, 2010

    Sachin Bisaani said:

    Informative article,Other thing i like about the blog is Fonts are great and blog in user friendly.

  18. March 29, 2010

    chandan said:

    So Nick what you think about .edu and .gov link?I see people are paying even high amount of $ for .edu link? Do you think that if we get link from .edu sites or blog, but not relevant to our blog, till those links are valuable more than other .com link?
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: 10 Work from Home Money Makers =-.

    • May 31, 2010

      Felix Albutra @ Blogging Access said:

      Thanks for sharing this issue my friend. You also noticed it right?

      What others are doing is just take the benefits of the back links from those .edu and .gov domains but those people also does sharing their opinions and comments related on the topics that being discussed.

      Felix Albutra
      .-= My Latest Blog Post: 10 Things to Do After Creating Your Blogger Blog =-.

  19. May 31, 2010

    Felix Albutra @ Blogging Access said:

    These tips are really great. I should try this in my SEO action plans.

    Thanks for sharing Nicholas.

    Felix Albutra
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: 10 Things to Do After Creating Your Blogger Blog =-.

  20. August 13, 2010

    wordpress designer said:

    I think anchor text plays an vital role.

  21. May 12, 2011

    Brad Harmon said:

    I used to do a horrible job with links to other content on my sites, Nicholas. I relied primarily on YARPP to develop my internal links.

    When I did link to other posts, I wouldn’t use great anchor texts but used anchors like click here. It’s amazing how much you learn as you grow in your blogging career, and how little changes like this make a huge difference.

    • May 14, 2011

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      To be honest, I sometimes forget to link to other articles as well, but when I do link, I’m always careful to use a powerful anchor text. If you do enough little things right, it can lead to a big success.

  22. June 24, 2011

    Dan said:

    Excellent series of articles. I’ve learned more in the past ten minutes than, well, hmmm, been a while. Point is, you’ve really clarified things for me. I’m finally feeling on direction with my blog, and starting to work on linking. You’re insight on internal links is priceless. I was banging my head on where, and how to get anchor text links to my search strings. Thanks so much.