External hyperlinks are half the battle when it comes to search engine optimization. But there are some links that are really good and will help you rank at the top of the search engines and others that will get you penalized. This creates an extreme difference between a good link and a bad link. In this post, I want to show you actual examples of the most powerful links for SEO.
Metrics to Determine a Powerful Link
Google used to have PageRank and people would often look at it to determine the value of a link to your website from a particular page online. Well, a year ago Google came out and said they will no longer be updating the PageRank tool. This eliminated a core metric that SEO professionals would look at it. Now, if you even bring up the term Page Rank to someone at Google they get upset. Just a week ago someone was talking to John Mueller (one of the lead Google web spam spokes people) about PageRank and John pretty much laughed in their face. So today we are left with different metrics.
Moz has the open site explorer tool. This tool focuses on the following core metrics.
In this example utilizing Search Engine Land, we see that Page Authority, Page MozRank and Page MozTrust are some of the most important indicators listed.
When we look at Majestic, they have similar metrics such as Trust Flow, Topical Trust Flow and Citation Flow.
Here we see Search Engine Lands backlink profile again.
Examples of the Best Links for SEO
So when it comes down to it, what are the best links for SEO? Let’s take a look at the most powerful links that these tools are flagging.
When we go to the backlinks tab in Magestic, we see that the most powerful link list is a hyperlink on the home page of http://diythemes.com/. Here we see, that they are linking to a Search Engine Land article. What is really funny is that they are touting the importance of authorship, but it doesn’t increase CTR like it used to as it does not show in search results anymore.
Now this is certainly a very high quality link. Also, I would say that this type of natural home page link is one of the best for SEO (my highest ranking clients have home page links from other major websites in their own industry). However, most people would want this link to go to a specific page that they are trying to get ranked for a term. That being said, this link does show the depth of the site and increase overall domain authority for Search Engine Land.
The next most powerful link that is still live, is this one on robotstxt.org.
When we go to this page, we see a followed link to Search Engine Land, Search Engine Watch and Search Engine Roundtable.
These are powerful links that certainly help the domain authority of the site. Domain authority is so important, because if you have high domain authority, it trickles down into all your other pages. With great domain authority, you can publish a post and start ranking right away.
So let’s take a look at one more link that Majestic is showing as the most important…
The next one we see is this link on digital.com.
Here we see a link for the term Alta Vista.
The page links to the Eulogy for AltaVista that Danny Sullivan wrote.
So now we have seen the top 3 links that Magestic is reporting for Search Engine Land. As we can see, all of the links were established because they are a Subject Matter Expert and publisher.
Now when we look at Moz, first we see an entirely different set of hyperlinks that they are flagging as the most powerful.
As we can see, they are pretty clear to point out that the most powerful links to the entire domain are all from Wikipedia. But, all of these links are nofollow.
Now if we change that to only followed, this is what we get.
Anything look familiar there? As you can see, the digital.com and diythemes.com links are also being flagged as the most powerful followed links by Moz Open Site Explorer. I was really happy to see that there was this congruity between the tools.
Outside of this, we also see a link from Bing News that goes to a blog post and home page link from Marketing Land, their sister site. In addition, there is a link from Bloomberg that is being listed. Let’s take a look at that.
Here we see the link from Bloomberg. It is an hyperlink that goes to a blog post on a Twitter deal.
Best Link for a Page with Most The Important Keyword
Let’s take a moment to look at Search Engine Lands best non-branded keyword and the most powerful link pointing at that page.
Here we see the highest trafficked keywords below that are ranking position 5 or higher. I am guessing the Google in 1998 page is pretty niche so that is why it is ranking and I already did an analysis on the SEO page (read it here). I am most interested in the SEM page.
So the SEM page is one of their channel pages. Major news sites like Search Engine Land, Forbes, Entrepreneur, etc., will create these channel pages that basically function as micro websites. Here you can see an example of the template. This is a very nice template, which is almost identical to the template on Entrepreneur.com. However, the Entrepreneur page does not rank for any SEM related terms on the first two pages of Google.
Here is the SEM page on Search Engine Land.
So this page has been optimized for SEM and constantly has fresh content published on the topic, but let’s take a look at the external factors.
This page only has 89 links and many of them have been deleted.
The most powerful link listed is this one on Business2Community.
Example of Powerful Links, What Have We Learned?
As we can see tools such as Moz Open Site Explorer and Majestic do a pretty good job determining the most powerful links for a website. While Page Rank is no longer being provided, it is nice to have these tools to rely on. They might not be 100%, but they are close.
Generally, search engines want to see links that look natural inside article or page content. Generally, the most powerful pages for links are home pages, popular product/service pages or article pages, where the article was a major source of breaking news. If it was a really big source of breaking news, it most likely generated a large amount of links.