The Search For the Perfect Link

The Search For the Perfect Link 
With Google’s release of Penguin 2.0, we have another piece of evidence to pile on the “New SEO” heap. Just like the first update, Penguin 2.0 is about punishing websites who have built poor links to their sites.
It’s not really all that surprising. Links are still a big deal in SEO, and if you can build enough of them, you’ll rank. So because of this, online business owners still find value in building links for their sties. However, too many of them are building poor quality links. So let’s just get this out in the open: 
If you build poor quality links to your website, you are WORSE OFF than if you built no links at all!
That’s because low-quality links are BY FAR the biggest “red flag” Google looks at in a website.
Of course, that leaves us in a sticky situation. We need links, but if we build links and they happen to be “poor quality” by Google’s standards, we’re only going to be digging our own graves.
That’s why it’s absolutely vital to have a standard for the “perfect link” – a link Google views as ideal. Obviously, the best links are all natural, meaning links you receive for simply posting great content. But sometimes you need to give your site a bit of a push. And for these situations, it’s absolutely vital you know what a good link looks like.
So let’s explore that, shall we?
Authority and Relevance
Unsurprisingly, a “good link” in Google’s eyes is a combination of a two main factors: Authority and Relevance.
This is how Google’s algorithm has ranked websites from the very beginning. And it’s also how they determine whether or not a link pointing to your site is good or spammy. If it’s good, it increases your rankings. If it’s spam, it flags you for a potential penalty in a future Google update.
In a nutshell, the perfect link is a link from a well trusted authority website in your niche. So for example, if you own a store that sells basketballs, getting a link from a site like Nike.com would be INCREDIBLE for your rankings.
Here are some factors Google considers for authority:
  1. Site PageRank – PageRank is a metric designed by Google. Now, it means a few different things, but in general, the higher the PR of a site, the more authority it has in Google’s eyes. PR is a scale from 0-10, with each number being exponentially better than the last. A PR 3 website has much more authority than a PR 2. 
  2. Site Age – The older the site, the more authority it has in Google’s eyes. Look to get links from websites with a significant amount of age, because they’ll offer your site more authority, and will have more trust from Google automatically. However, keep in mind that just because a site is aged doesn’t mean it’s an authority. An aged site can build spammy links and get penalized just as easily as a brand new site.
  3. Social Engagement – Social engagement is a determining factor in whether a website produces value. If a site is valuable, a community will naturally form around it. Therefore, when looking for links, don’t spare a second glance for sites with high PR or site age, but low social engagement. This means the site is not providing value, and as such, could be a target for future Google penalties.
Getting a link on a well trusted site with high PR, lots of social engagement and a good amount of site age will do wonders to your website. Provided you have the opportunity to get this type of link, here are some other factors you should keep in mind.
  1. Type of Link – Not all links are created equally. The best type of link is a link from a relevant authority site, in that site’s content. In other words, if you have a site that sells basketballs, the absolute ideal link could be a link from Nike.com, in an article about basketballs, which features your site. If you have the option, always look to get a link in the content of a site.
  2. Number of Links on Page – Lastly, on any given page, a site’s authority is spread out between all the other links on a page. That means if your link is one out of a thousand, the amount of authority you’ll get is minimal. On the other hand, if your link is the only link on the page, ALL the site’s authority will be funneled to you.
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