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Attract Quality External Links to Your Web Site

Quality links are links that contribute to your perceived expertness and the overall link equity of your Web site. These are external links that point to you and declare that you know what you’re doing.

There are three different types of quality links that you want to attract:

  • Complementary subject relevance links

  • Expert relevance reinforcement links

  • Quality testimonial links

Attract links from sites with similar subject matter

Complementary subject relevance links come from a site that has similar content to yours. The site might not be exactly what you do, but its subjects and themes are close enough to be complementary. If you have a classic car customization site, and you receive a link from a Web site devoted to classic car enthusiasts, this is a complementary link. Your site discusses something that their site also discusses, and they have declared your site to be worth reading. This kind of link is worth more than a link from, say, Jill’s House of Hamsters.

Link equity is passed depending on how much relevance the link has.
Link equity is passed depending on how much relevance the link has.

The above diagram shows the power of sites linking to you. In this case, the numbers are on a scale, with –2 being the least relevant and 10 being the most, where the higher the number is, the more your link equity goes up.

The box in the middle is your classic car site. The circle with the 1 is Harry’s House of Hamsters: It has very little relevance to your site, so it carries very little weight. The box with the 8 is a link to a large, official auto-trading Web site. Because it is a large, official Web site with a lot of expertise on its own and it has relevance to your site, the worth of the link goes up. It's important to note that these numbers just represent varying weights given by relevance — they don’t refer to PageRank at all here.

Then there’s the –2 poker site that has linked to you. The poker site comes from a spammy, spammy industry, used to shady doings and basically being a headache for the search engines. Having a link from one of those sites not only gives you no link equity, but it might actually cause your site to get flagged for review if you have a lot of these kinds of shady backlinks. By associating with one of these sites, you make it easy for the search engines to assume that you are doing something shady, too. Though Google says that almost nothing someone else does can harm your site, that doesn't mean there's absolutely nothing at all. Don't sweat a few bad links coming to you, but do your best to only work on acquiring links from quality sites.

Attract links that reinforce your level of expertise

It’s natural to have experts link to other experts in their field. It’s like a Nobel prize-winning physicist name-dropping another Nobel laureate in economics, as opposed to a kid who won his school science fair.

Experts require validation from their peers. When scientists publish a science paper in a journal, they expect other scientists to go out and test the published theory on their own, in order to receive validation from these other scientists. The same is true for Web sites. If an expert Web site discusses you on their own site and then provides a link to you, claiming you as another expert, that just reinforces what you say on your own site.

To put it another way, if the biggest, baddest, classic car customization site on the whole Internet has a link and a section describing you and linking to your site, that is going to mean a lot more than your brother’s very small classic car site giving you a link.

Attract testimonial links from high-quality sites

A testimonial link is a link that appears in a paragraph in the context of a lot of relevant information and then points to you as another resource of information. Basically, it’s like someone describing how to properly customize classic cars, and then providing a link to your site, as in the following example. Note that the text classic car customization business would serve as the anchor for a link back to www.classiccarcustomization.com.

There are many classic car customization businesses out there, but for the best, you have to check out Bob's Classic Car Customization, which has tons of resources for restoring and customizing every kind of classic Ford, Chevy, and 50s hotrod on the planet. Check out their gallery of restorations for some seriously cherry autos.

A testimonial link is worth a whole lot of link equity and is one of the best kinds of links you can receive (as long as it’s not coming from unsavory or questionable sites).

Link equity is always an important thing to keep in mind when you’re vetting external links. One good testimonial-grade link is worth a lot more than a hundred decent links or a thousand bad links. According to Google, link equity through a testimonial link is the highest grade of link equity possible.

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