Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Future of Backlinks

Since the Google "Panda" update a lot has changed. Google has moved the playing field and simple text links are almost counter productive, Pyramid linkbuilding is no longer worth the effort but Contextural Links will get you an almost immediate SERPS improvement. Most of the backlinks you will be offered today will be either, simple text on blog profiles or blog comments. Tens of thousands of both can be done in 24hrs using Scrapebox, and because of that Google is now giving simple text links less weight in SERPS. If you watch the latest video by Matt Cutts, Google's own guru, you will learn that contextural backlinks now have the most value. Contextural backlinks are links placed inside an article or blog post that are in the context of their surrounding text, so they look natural. For example an article on firefighting might have links to a firestation URL. These are quite time consuming to create and invariably need an image to get maximum Google juice.

Contextual Links – The Future of Backlinks

There has been much talk in recent months about contextual links as well as how their placements are viewed in the eyes of the search engines particularly Google. In view of this and the importance which incoming links to your website plays in the overall ranking of your website, we look into the detail of linking profiles and how they affect rankings.

Contextual Links and Google

There is little argument to have in terms of the effectiveness of incoming links to your website and how it can under certain circumstances trump all other SEO factors. A great example of this is the domain This link takes you to a Google search for the term ‘something’. This is a highly competitive search term which is searched for by users thousands of times each month.

What aspects of on page SEO do you see? Here is the only code on the page;

I think this emphasises the point rather well. There are a few things to consider here though. The first is the age of the domain which was created on the 28-Jul-1995 making it an aged domain. The second point to consider is the amount of backlinks the page has (28,010 at the time of writing). Without spending hours analysing the quality of these backlinks I am confident that many of them are contributing to the 1st page rankings – it is clearly not the SEO properties which contrinute to its lofty postion in the serps. It also worth noting this domain has held this top position for several years.

Contextual Links – What are the most effective?

Back on topic; in recent months there was a video from Matt Cutts discussing how Google originally viewed links and stated that in the early days it didn’t matter where on a page a link was placed, the flow of page rank was equally split between outgoing links. He goes onto say that Googles Algorithm has changed much since the early days and now they ‘reserve the right’ to view links included within the footer (and sidebar undoubtedly) differently to those included within the actual page content i.e. Contextual Links.

This makes perfect sense given the emphasise which is now placed upon ‘editorial links’ which it stands to reason to carry more weight than those included within footers and sidebars. Why? An editorial link is far more likely to indicate ‘trust’ and authenticity to a search engine than a simple footer link. I would even go as far to suggest that footer and sidebar links are grouped into the ‘paid links’ category which inevitably means their link value is vastly reduced in significance.

Contextual Links – the Future

I am of the opinion that Google has a vast library of link categories which are linked with page placement; this means that they are able to devalue links which hit a set criteria. In order to ensure you gain as much benefit from your link building efforts, the future is Contextual Links. Keep the relevancy and have your links within relevant and on topic content for maximum benefit and leave the footer and sidebar links way down your priority list.

Prachar is the owner of IndSEO, A Indian based search engine marketing firm offering a variety of SEO related services including reputation management, social media marketing, email marketing, website conversion metrics and mobile phone application development. Please contact to learn more

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