Link Acquisition Rate
An algorithm may view the acquisition of many thousands of links by a new site as suspicious, if not
also accompanied by relevant highly ranked authority sites. Usually this is an indicator of a linking
scheme. This consideration was affirmed by Google engineer Matt Cutts in one of his videos at
Link Anchor Text and Surrounding Copy
Inbound links that contain semantically related anchor text to the content they point to have a positive
effect on rankings. The copy surrounding the link, if present, may also do the same. Some even posit
that this copy is as important as the link anchor text itself. Links with such surrounding copy are widely
believed to be valued more by search engines, because links without copy surrounding it are frequently
purchased and/or less indicative of a vote.
Manipulating link anchor text and the surrounding copy, if done en masse, can be used to manipulate
search results by creating a phenomenon called “Google bombing” (
. One popular example of this is illustrated, at the time of writing, with a
query to Yahoo!, Google, or MSN, with the keyword “miserable failure.” The top result is the White
House’s official biographical page for President George W. Bush, which doesn’t contain either of the
words “miserable” or “failure” in the copy, but is linked from many sites that contain the words
“miserable failure.” This particular Google bomb, and a few related ones, are described at
A long time ago, webmasters used to trade links strategically to achieve radical improvements in rankings.
This created an artificial number of self-serving votes. Over time, search engines became wiser and they
devalued such reciprocal links. In response, search engine marketers created link-exchanging schemes with
multiple parties to avoid detection. Modern search engines can detect such simple subterfuge as well. That
is not to say that reciprocal linking is bad, but it should be balanced by several one-way links as well. The
combination of the two models something more natural-looking and will result in higher ranking.
Number of Links on a Page
A link on a page with few outbound links is generally worth more than a link on a page with many out-
bound links. This concept is also implied by the formula for Google’s PageRank.
Semantic Relationship among Links on a Page
A search engine may assume that a page with many links to pages that are not semantically related is a
links page, or some sort of page designed to manipulate rankings or trade links. It is also believed that
even naming a page with the word “links” in it, such as
, may actually devalue links contained
within that particular page.
IP Addresses of Cross-Linked Sites
It is sometimes useful to think of an IP address as you do a phone number. For this example’s sake, format
a hypothetical phone number, (123) 555-1212, differently — as if it were an IP:
Chapter 2: A Primer in Basic SEO
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