Off Site Optimization for SEO: Link Building

  • Link and backlink quality matters more than link quantity. Site quality is determined by Google’s PageRank (see below).
  • Abrupt changes in link/backlink count can actually damage a site’s PageRank.
  • Excessive linking between two websites can damage the PageRank of both websites.
  • Backlinks that look ‘generated’ (as if the site were involved in a link farming scheme) can damage a site’s PageRank. For example, thousands of backlinks with the same anchor text can look suspicious.
  • It is believed that links from relevant sites are more heavily weighted than those from irrelevant sites.
  • Links that are in larger or bolder font are weighted more heavily than those in smaller or regular fonts.
  • Anchor text is associated not only with the page on which it is found, but also the page at which it points.
    • This would lend credence to the idea that anchor text should be ‘natural’ and that it should be relevant to the content of the site in question

Linking Strategy

  • Are JavaScript and Flash avoided in internal / navigation links?
  • Is text-based navigation used throughout the site?
  • Does the Link anchor text contain keywords?
  • Do most inbound links refer to canonical URL versions?
  • Does the site leverage header, footer, or breadcrumb navigation links?
  • Are back links from quality web pages
  • Are back links from relevant sites
  • Are back links from pages with high Page Rank
  • Do back links have keyword in Anchor text?
  • Are there back links from do follow sites?
  • Are there back kinks from different IP Address?
  • Are there back links from big or branded sites?
  • Have all links been validated?
  • Are there less than 100 links on a web page?

Analytics Tools

  • MajesticSEO, a free backlinks and anchor text database for analyzing site linking.
  • Google webmaster tools, a site for managing Google’s crawling of your site and reviewing feedback from Google.
  • Google Analytics, an analytics site with a wealth of information about your site’s traffic patterns and more.
  • ComScore, a provider of digital market intelligence and measurement.
  • Xenu’s Link Sleuth, a program for checking a website for broken links and generating link reports.


Articles and Sources


This is a semi-technical description of PageRank and how it is calculated. If you want to skip this section, just read about the consequences below.

PageRank calculation uses the following formula: PR(A) = (1 − d) + d(PR(T1) / C(T1) + … + PR(Tn) / C(Tn)) where PR(A) is defined as the PageRank of AT1…Tn are the pages pointing to A, and C(A) is defined as the number of links going out of page A and d is a damping factor. A damping factor simply reduces the value of all links by a set amount, based on the model that a user will periodically directly change pages without following a link. It is commonly assumed that d = 0.85 in practice.

This has a number of consequences:

  • A page’s quality determines the value of its links (higher quality = more value per link).
  • A page’s number of links determines the value of each of its links (more links = less value per link).


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