Search Engine Optimization : SEO BOOK.
Using Link Popularity to Boost Your Position
Thousands of the site owners have experienced of frustration of not
being able to get search engines to index their sites. You build a Web
site, you do your best to optimize it for the search engines, you register
in the search engines, and then nothing much happens. There is lot of
confusion about links and their relationships to Web sites. Most site
owners don't even realize that links have a bearing on their engine
positions. Surely all you need to do is register your page in a search
engine and it be indexed.
Why Search engines Like Links
Earlier all you had to do to get your site listed in a search engine
- and may be even ranked well - was to register with the search engine.
Then along came Google in1998 and that all changed. Google decided to
use the links pointing at a site as another factor in determining if
the site was a good match for a search. Each link to a site was a vote
for the site, and the more votes site received, the better a site was
regarded by google. To rank well today, you need to use links to vote
the site up in the search engines. Links pointing to a web page do several
· Links make it easier for search engines to find the page. As
the searchbots around the Web, they follow links. They index a page,
follow the links on that page to other pages, index those pages, follow
the links on those pages, and so on. The more links to a page, the more
likely the page is picked up and indexed by the search engines, and
the more quickly it happens.
· Search engines use the number of links pointing to a page as
an indication of the page's value. If lots of pages link to your page,
the search engines place a greater value on your pages with few links
pointing to them. If you have lots of links from sites that are themselves
linked to by many other sites, search engines conclude that your site
must really be important.
· Links provide information to the search engines about the page
they are pointing to. The link text often contains keywords that search
engines can use to glean additional information about your page. The
theme of the site that is pointing to your site also gives search engines
an indication of the theme of your site.
· Links not only bring searchbots to a page, but also bring people
to the page. The whole purpose of your search engine campaign is to
bring people to your site.
Links are very important. Sometimes they mean the difference between
being indexed by a search engine and not being indexed, and between
being ranked indexed in a search engine and not being ranked well. Backlinks
are an integral part of the optimization of your web site. A backlink
is a link back to your site. Search engines look at backlinks to figure
out what your site is about and how important is. Link are not something
detached from your site; they are an integral part of your site. Think
of your web sites in terms of a regional map; your site is a major city
and the backlinks are the roads bringing traffic into the city. The
search engines are trying to figure out what site of page is the best
match for a search. Search engines use links as one way to determine
this. As with content though using the number of links to and from a
site to measure significance is an imperfect method. A page can conceivably
be the best page on a particular subject, yet have few links to it.
Understanding Page Value and Pagerank
Search engines assign a value to your site based on the links pointing
to it. The most popular term for this kind of ranking is Pagerank, which
is used by Google. The Pagerank is a value that google gives to a page,
based on thenumber and type of links into the page. Pagerank is used
frequently in the search engine optimization field for several reasons.
The primary reason is that google is the world's most important search
engine. And despite the changes that will occur in 2004 - primarily
that Yahoo! Is going to dump Google and start using search results provided
by its own search engine - google will remain the most important search
engine for world's search for the foreseeable future. Google currently
provides about 75-80 percent of the world's search results. You could
be forgiven for thinking that the term Pagerank comes from the idea
of well, ranking pages. Google claims that it comes from the name of
one of the founders of Google and authors of the original PageRank document,
Larry Page. The truth is probably somewhere in between. Another reason
why PageRank is such a hot topic for SEO types is that you don't need
a Ph.D. to figure out the PageRank for a page. We al so have a good
idea of how PageRank is calculated.
PageRank - One Part Of the Equation
The PageRank value is just one part of how Google determines which pages
to show you when you search for something. A low rank page is often
an indicator o problems, and a high pagerank is an indicator that you
are doing something right, but pagerank itself is just a small part
of how Google ranks your pages. When you type a search term into Google
and click Search, Google search looking through its database for pages
with the words you have types. Then it examines each page to decide
which pages ar most relevant to your search. Google considers many characterstics:
what ht e<TITLE> tag says, how the keywords are treated, where
the keywords sit on the page, and so on. It also considers PageRank.
Its possible for a page with a low Pagerank to rank higher than one
with a high Pagerank in some searches. When that happens, it simply
means that the value of all the other characterstics of the page that
Here's what google says about PageRank:
"The heart of our software is Pagerank, a system for ranking web
pages developed by our founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin at Stanford
University. And while we have dozens of engineers working to improve
every aspect of Google ona daily basis, PageRank continues to provide
the basis for all of out web search tools." So Google claims that
PageRank is in use and is important. But you need to keep its significance
The PageRank Algorithm
Here comes the Pagerank algorithm
D=A damping factor,usually set to 0.85
T1….tn=pages linking to Webpage
C=The number of outbound links frompage tn.
Rather than take you through the PageRank Algorithm step by step, here
are a few key points that explain more or less how it works:
· As soon as a page enters the Google index, it has an intrinsic
PageRank. The Pagerank is very small, but it's there.
· A Page has a PageRank only if it's indexed by Google.Links
to your site from pages that have not yet been indexed are effectively
worthless ,as far as PageRank goes.
· When you place a link on a page, pointing to another page,
the page with the link is voting for the page it's pointing to. These
voters are how Pagerank increases. As a page gets more and more links
into it, its pagerank grows.
· Linking to another page doesn't reduce the PageRank of the
origin page, but it does increase the PageRank of the receiving page.
It's sort of like a company's shareholders meeting, at which people
with more shares have more votes. They don't lose their shares when
they vote. But the more shares they have, the more votes they can place.
· Pages with no links out of them are wasting PageRank; they
don't get to vote for other pages. Because the inherent PageRank of
a page is not terribly high, it isn't normally a problem. It becomes
a problem if you have a large number of links to dangling pages of this
kind. Or it can be a problem if you have a dangling page with a high
· A sigle link from a dangling page can channel that PageRank
back into your site. Make sure that all your pages at least onelink
back into the site.
· You can increase a site's overall PageRank two ways:
v Increase the number of pages in the site .
v Get links to the site from outside.
· The Page receiving the inbound link gets the greatest gain.
Thus you want links into your most important pages
pages you want ranked in the search engines. PageRank is then spread
through links to other pages in the
site, but these secondary pages get less of the boost.
It's important to understand that Web sites don't have pageranks, Webpages
have PageRanks. It's possible for the home page of a site to have a
high PageRank, while internal pages have very low ranks. Here are a
couple ofimporatant implications from this:
· You can vote large amounts of Pageranks through your site with
a single link. A page with a pagerank o 5 can pass that on to another
page as long as it doesn't split the vote by linking to other pages.
· You can ensure PageRank is well distributed around your web
site by including lots of links. Linking every page to every other page
is the most efficient way to ensure PageRank around the site.
Huge Sites=Greater PageRank
Because every page is born with a PageRank, the more pages in your site,
the greater the site's intrinsic PageRank. If you create a linking structure
that links all your pages well, you will be providing your pages with
a PageRank simply because you have many pages. Don't think it as search
engine strategy. You'd need a huge number of Pages to make a difference.
If you own o manage a site that already has hundreds or thousands of
pages just because that's what you do, consider yourself luky, but don't
build hundreds or thousands of pages just to boost PageRank. This page
does provide another reason for Web sites to retain old pages.
How can you discover a page's PageRank? You can use the Google Toolbar.
Each time you open a page in internet explorer 5.0 or later, you see
the page's Pagerank in a bar. If the bar is all white, the pagerank
is 0. If it's all green, the Pagerank is 10. You can estimate Pagerank
simply by looking at the position of the green bar, or you can point
at the bar, and a pop-up appears with the PageRank number. If the PageRank
component isn't on your toolbar, click the options button to open the
toolbar Options dialog box. Check the PageRank check box and click ok.
Here are a few thing to understand about this toolbar:
· Sometimes the bar is gray. Sometimes when you look at the bar,
it's grayed out. Some people believe that this means Google is somehow
penalizing the site, that it's withholding PageRank. I believe the bar
is simply buggy, and that Pagerank is just not being passed to the bar
for some reason. Every time I've seen the bar grayed out, I've been
able to open the Web page in another browser window and view the PageRank.
· Sometimes the Toolbar Guesses. Sometimes the toolbar guesses
a page's Pagerank. You may occasionally find a PageRank being reported
for a page that isn't even in the google index. It seems that Google
maybe coming up with a Pagerank for a page for a page on the fly, based
on the Pagerank of other pages in the site that have already indexed.
· A white bar is not a penalty. Another common pagerank myth
is that Google penalizes pages by giving them PageRanks of 0. That is
,if you see a page with a PageRank of 0, something is wrong with the
page, and if you link to the page, your Webpage maybe penalized. Most
of the world's Web pages show a PageRank of 0. that's not to say that
Google wont take away Pagerank if it wants to penalize a page or site
for some reason.
· Zero is not zero, and ten is not ten! Although commonly referred
to as PageRank, and even labeled as such, the number you see in the
google Toolbar is not he page's actual PageRank. It's simply a number
indicating the approximate position of the page on the PageRank range.
Therefore, pages never have a PageRank of 0, even though most pages
show 0 on the toolbar, and a page with a rank of say 2, might actually
have a PageRank of 25 or 100.
The true PageRank scale is probably a logarithmic scale. Thus the distance
between PageRank 5 and 6 is much greater than the difference between
2 and 3. The consensus of opinion among people who like to discuss these
things is that the PageRank shown on the toolbar is probably on a logarithmic
scale with a base of around 5 or 6, or perhaps even lower. Suppose ,
for amoment, that the base is actually 5. That means that a page with
a PageRank of 0 shown on the toolbar may have an actual pagerank somewhere
between a fraction of1 and just under 5. If the PageRank shown is 1,
the page may have a rank between 25 andjust 125, and so on. A page with
a rank of 9 or 10 shown on the toolbar most likely has a true PageRank
in the millions. With base 5, the toolbar PageRank numbers would represent
true Page Ranks. The maximum possible pagerank, and thus this scale,
continually change as Google recalculates PageRank. As pages are added
to the index, the PageRank has to go up. Here are two important points
to remember about the PageRank shown on the Google toolbar:
· Two pages with the same PageRank shown on the toolbar may actually
have very different true PageRanks, with one having a PageRank of a
fifth or sixth, or may be a quarter, of the other.
· It gets progressively harder to push a page to the next PageRank
level on the toolbar. Getting a page to 1or 2 is pretty easy, but to
push it to 3 or 4 is much harder and to push it to higher levels is
very difficult indeed. To get to 8 or above is rare.
It's possible for PageRank to leak out of a site, despite the fact that
pages don't lose PageRank when they link to other pages. Here's how.
As you have seen, each time you link from one page to another, the origin
page is voting for the recipient page. Thus a link from one page in
your site to another page in your site is a vote for that other page.
If you link to a page on another site, you are voting or another site's
page rather than your site's page. As a general rule, you should worry
more about getting back links to your site from appropriate Web sites
than about how much PageRank is leaking through your outgoing links.
You can build Pageranks quickly by using the techniques. And in most
cases, worrying about outgoing links wont save you much PageRank. Still,
you can do two simple things to help reduce rankleak:
· If you have a page with lots of outgoing links, make sure it
also has links to the other pages in your site. You'll be splitting
the vote that way between outgoing and internal links, instead of passing
all of it on through outgoing links.
· Ideally, you want the page with the external links to be one
with a low PageRank, reducing the outgoing votes. You can do than by
minimizing the number of links from other pages on your site into the
Page relevance is harder to measure. The idea is that a link from a
page that is related in some way to your page is more valuable than
a link from a page that is entirely unrelated. A link to your rodent-racing
site from a Web site that is also related to rodent racing is more valuable
than, a link from your someone's personal Web site. The problem with
pagerank is that it's independent of keywords. the value is a number
derived from links pointing at a page, but it has no relation what so
ever to a specific keyword. Thus The search engines add something else
to the mix: relevance or context. The major search engines are attempting
to do this sort of analysis by matching keywords. In effect, the search
engines are trying to create what have been termed context-sensitive
PageRanks or topic-sensitive PageRanks. A topic sensitive PageRanks
is dependent on a particular topic. Rather than counting any and all
links, only links from relevant Websites are included. One way the search
engines are probably trying to do this sort of thing is by using the
Open Directory Project directory to provide some context. Because Websites
listed in the directory have been put into categories. It gives the
search engines a starting point to figure out that keywords and sites
relate to what categories. Because the search engines use the Open Directory
Project and Yahoo! Directory to help figure out what category you are
related to, this is yet another reason why its important to be in these
Hubs And Neighborhoods
Search engines are also looking for what may be thought of as Web neighborhoods
or communities or hubs - groups of Web sites related to a particular
subject, and the sites that appear to be most central. If you are positioned
in them middle of a cloud or web o websites related to a particular
subject, that's a good thing.
Avoiding Links with No Value
Some links have no value:
· If a page isn't in Google, the links from the Page have no
value. Google doesn't know about them, after all.
· If a page is what Google regards as a link farm Google may
know about the page but decide to exclude it from the index.
Link Farm is an automated system that allows site owners to very quickly
create thousands of incoming links, by joining with thousands of other
site owners to exchange links. Another trick is to create hundreds of
shadow domains, and link them all into one. The search engines don't
like link farms and will exclude link-farm pages if they identify them.
However, as with much in the search-engine-optimization business, another
myth has arisen over this subject. You may hear that if a link is found
to your site from a link farm, you will be penalized. Search engines
do not penalize sites for incoming links. They cant or it would encourage
dirty tricks. Want to push a competitor's site down so your site can
beat it? Then link to it from as many link farms as you can. Obviously,
it wouldn't make sense for the search engines to encourage this sort
of thing, so links from such pages wont hurt your site - though they
wont help it, either. On the other hand, links to such sites may hurt
you. Because you do have control over links from your site to others,
if a search engine decides that you are linking to a bad neighborhood,
it may penalize you. The bottom line is that you should avoid working
with links farms because they could potentially harm you, and they wont
help you anyway. Do search engines ever penalize? Sure. But with billions
of Web pages in the large indexes, these penalties have to be automated.
In order to automate penalties, search engines have to create a very
loose system that penalizes only the very worst offenses, or they risk
penalizing innocent people. The proof is that if you spend time searching
through the major search engines, you will find many pages that clearly
break the rules, yet which are still included in the indexes.
Identifying Links that Aren't Links
When is a link not a link? In cases such as these:
· The link has been created in such a manner that the search
engines cant read it.
· The link points somewhere else, perhaps to a program else's
website, which then forwards the browser to your site.
Here are some examples. Take a look at this link:
This link passes through an ad server hosted by an advertising company
called Doubleclick. When someone clicks this link, perhaps on a banner
ad, a message is sent to a program on the ad.doubleclick.net ad server,
which logs the click and then forwards the browser to www.yourdomain.com.
You may think this is a link to www.yourdomain.com, and it may work
like one, but as far as search engine is concerned, it's really a link
Here's another example. Suppose the person creating a link to your
site doesn't want the search engine to be able to read it. This person
may be trying to get as many incoming links as possible while avoiding
outgoing links, so he does something
document.write("Visit <A HREF='http://www.yourdomain.com/'>
Joe's Rodent Racing site here</A>
// -- >
can see the link, other visitors can see it, and the link works when
wont know there's a link there. What appears to be appears to be a perfectly.
What appears to be a perfectly normal link on a Web page is invisible
to the search engines. So it does your site no good as far as PageRank
or any other link-popularity algorithm goes.
Some Links Are More Valuable Than Others
It seems likely that search engines - and google in particular - regard
some links as more valuable than others. And it seems very likely to
me that they - and Google in Particular - will tighten up the way they
regard links. Because the search engines keep their techniques secret,
The following practices may already be in use or could be soon:
· Links inside paragraphs of text are regarded as more valuable
than links in large lists or links set apart from text.
· The search engines could compare incoming links with outgoing
links, and downloading a page or a site if it appears to be doing a
lot of reciprocal linking from link pages.
· Links pointing to a page inside a site might be valued more
highly than links to the home page.
· Outgoing links concentrated on a few pages might be valued
less than links spread around a site.
Inserting Keywords Into Links
Keywords in your pages are very important. But keywords outside your
pages can also affect the page results. That's keywords in links to
pointing to your site to your site are very important. If hundreds of
links around the world point to one of
Your pages and all these links contain the word rodent racing, then
google and, other search engines will get the idea that your pages are
somehow related to rodent racing. It actually makes a lot of sense if
you think about it. If hundreds of site owners create links pointing
to your site, and in effect, say, "This site I'm pointing to is
about rodent racing," Then google is being given a darn good clue
regarding what your site is about! In effect, google has recruited site
owners to tell it what other owners' sites are about.
As you browse the Web, take a close look at links on the sites you
visit. Now that you know how critical it is to add keywords to links,
you'll see that many links provide relatively little value to the sites
they're pointing to. Sure, a link is better than no link, but a bad
link could be better still. Here are some of the problems you'll see:
· Image Links(Buttons or Banners linking to sites): search engines
cant read images, so they are not getting keywords from them.
· One-or-two-word links, such as company name: In most cases,
company names don't help you in the search engines. You need to use
the keywords your potential visitors and clients are using.
· Combination of descriptions and click here links: e.g. For
more information on rodent racing - rats, mice, gerbils, and any other
kind of rodent racing - click here. All the keywords are there, they
just have no links on them! Click here links are a total waste of hyperlink
A Few Basic Rules About Links
You know that links are valuable and can help boost your position in
the search engines. But what sorts of links? Here comes the summary:
· Links from sites that are related are often more valuable than
links from sites that aren't related.
· Links from pages with high PageRanks are much more valuable
than from pages with low PageRanks.
· Virtually all incoming links to your site have some kind of
value, even if the pages have a very low PageRank or are not contextual.
It may not be much of a value, but it's there.
· The more links on a page that point to your site, the lower
the value of the link to your site because the vote is being shared.
Thus, in some cases, a link from a low-page Rank with no other links
may actually be more valuable than a link from a high-pageRank with
· Links are even more valuable when they include keywords in
them because keywords tell the search engines what the referenced is
· A link strategy that positions your site as an authority, or
a hub, in a web community or neighborhood can be a powerful way to get
the attention of the search engines.