The Value of Links in SEO

I recently received a question from a business colleague and thought many other companies or individuals may wonder exactly how the different search engines value different types of links. This came after he read an article titled “SEO for WordPress”, part of which stated that Google does not provide as much consideration to sitewide links or links that are outside the main content area of the page. He went on to ask that, “I have also seen similar things before where people advise to keep the links only on the main page. As someone involved in the SEO field I wanted to ask the following: Do you think the above information is true? Or what is your opinion?”

As with much of the information regarding SEO and the value of links from other pages there is conflicting information throughout the internet. Sorting the fact from the fiction can be a difficult process. While this is posed to me as a short question there is an extremely complex and ever changing answer. 

The bottom line is that with all search engines and the manner in which links are valued is largely determined by the perceived quality of the link. It is certainly true that Google values sitewide links differently than links placed only in one location on the page. A common misconception is that sitewide links can hurt a website. The reality is simply that sitewide links do not help a website. Typically, credit or link juice is received for the first link on the site, but the remainders of the links are generally ignored by Google. This is especially true when the links all have identical anchor texts and surrounding content. Yahoo and MSN value sitewide links differently. As of now, a sitewide link can be an extremely valuable asset and can increase a website’s position in the search engine results pages. However, it would come as no surprise if this changed in the future and the other engines adopted a strategy similar to Google with regards to link valuation.

As for the question on whether links within the content are more valuable than those outside the main body of the text, the answer is resounding yes. Links contained within relevant body text typically carry a much heavier weighting than those that are located within the footer navigations or the sidebars of the page. The rationale behind this is quite simple. If the webmaster finds the resource (website) valuable enough than the link will likely be posted in the primary content area rather than along the footer or another place where visitors are less likely to actually visit the site. 

Of course besides this, there are many other factors that influence the value and importance of certain links more than others. A well formulated SEO campaign ensures that there is a wide selection of all different types of links and looks at many other considerations such as the authority of the site that the link comes from.

I wanted to thank my colleague who originally posed the question. Hopefully I answered it to your. satisfaction. With any “luck” others will be able to find this post and also gain a better understanding of the value of links in a SEM or SEO campaign.

5 Comments »

  1. Mehmet said,

    May 7, 2008 @ 7:50 pm

    An excellent article Brent. Thanks a lot for the clear and detailed information.

  2. Gabfire Web Design said,

    May 7, 2008 @ 8:49 pm

    [...] has answered me over his blog with an excellent article which is entitled as The Value of Links in SEO. I would encourage you to check the article since he states very important points as an SEO gabfire.com/site-wide-links-do-they-help-or-hurt/ [...]

  3. agilis said,

    May 9, 2008 @ 2:26 pm

    Thank you for the accolades Mehmet. Please let me know if you have any other questions related to links or SEO.

  4. Xanika said,

    May 16, 2008 @ 2:07 pm

    Hey

    Really nice SEO tips!

    will try to keep it in my mind

    thanks!

  5. international seo said,

    February 19, 2009 @ 9:20 pm

    international seo…

    I’m reading more on international seo and I’m planning to start a site like this. Any ideas where to start?…

RSS feed for comments on this post · TrackBack URI

Leave a Comment

*
To prove you're a person (not a spam script), type the security word shown in the picture. Click on the picture to hear an audio file of the word.
Click to hear an audio file of the anti-spam word