Links, Links and More Links (Guestpost)

Tue 30 June 2009 10:30, Editors

Links, Links and More Links (Guestpost)

In Europe and abroad we all know Dave Naylor. His name in the industry hardly needs any introduction. He is already involved with the Calling UK podcasts on Searchcowboys but is most famous for his presentations on events, his podcast Strikepoint and his passion for SEO.

Dave has the reputation of being one of the best SEO's in the world, who has a proven track record of successes in the most competitive markets. He is the owner of Bronco, a very successful web development and SEO agency in the UK. Dave writes on his blog

Links, Links and More Links

As the search engines get smarter and smarter the power of a single link can vary in many ways, so I’m going to try share some tests that I have carried out and some speculations about what type of link carries what weight.

I have tested citations quite a lot and generally they carry nothing. A citation is just a mention of the URL in a the body of the article, often we see these in press release services that strip out all html and leave you with a straight text copy.

I’m still running some tests on the nofollow link and will update you all when I have the results. At the moment it’s looking like it carries nothing but I’m going to test it on some serious authority sites later.


The next one I want to look at is JavaScript links. The search engines seem to follow these but give no real value to the content around the link which is a shame but totally understandable. If done correctly you can get page rank passing, so think about this when adding JS links all over your site.

The Url link, and what I mean by this is really a linked citation <a href=””></a>. Now you will obviously get full Link equity from this link but you can get a proximity boost in the organic. I first tested this ages ago, by linking to a new web site with the text – “written by (made up name which didn’t return many results)”  and the url, then I only linked the url. Now neither site had ever mentioned the made up name before and had never ranked for the made up name, but within 72 hours the target site was top for the made up name, showing that the proximity of the name to link had been counted.

Image links and using the alt tag can pass PageRank and anchor text equity. A big craze a year ago was blending html text over graphics, I saw a lot of sites do this and pick up heavy bans, although some of the bigger players are still using this and getting away if it, I would class it has medium to high risk these days.

The keyword link, <a href=””>UK SEO</a> is still the most powerful link and still the most dangerous link to do. I still see too often the keyword link just being dropped on to pages like a bad after thought. Take one I recently saw when I was searching for information on buying a classic car, I came across a great guide to VW campervans, what to look out for when buying from a private owner, the different models and problems that comes with those models etc a really well written page with diagrams. In fact it was pretty damn awesome until I got to the end and found 5 links to UK Car insurance sites with links like “cheap car insurance”, and even a mortgage link. Ok at the moment the target sites are ranking high for those terms but the links have clearly just been dropped on there and a quick look on the Way Back machine shows the article was around long before some SEO company grabbed hold of it. So I guess I have a couple of options:

a)     Do nothing but mark the target sites as link buyers and do a deep drive into the link profile, see if they have any good ones.
b)    Warn the webmaster that he has an awesome site but he is running the risk of being banned in Google.
c)      Fire an email off to a member of the quality team at Google .

These links are blatantly purchased that if touted around enough on blogs someone would feel the pain. What I would advise anyone if purchasing links for SEO value make sure the links blend into the site. Try and not be lazy, look at how the webmaster links out already and just do that, if they use images then use a image it’s not rocket science.

It’s also worth noting that if you have 2 links from one page on a site to another site, and the only difference in the links is different anchor text only the first will carry the anchor text but both carry pagerank. I tested this a few months ago and can say with 99% that the first link will boost your organic position, the second will not if you invert them on page you swap the equity again. I did this with made up authors pointing to my blog this time from an equally indexed and authoritive blog, by adding two links site wide to my homepage. I made my site rank for the anchor text on the first link within 48 hours, when I flipped the links we had a short period where I ranked for both keywords but after a while the old first link which was now second in the source code dropped completely from the ranking. Even by adding a graphic link I couldn’t get the target site to rank for both terms for any length of time, until I took the more orthodox way of picking two internal pages and using them to pass different anchor text links to my blog.

I hope I’m not adding to the confusion which can so often happen when it comes to SEO as there are really so many ways to do this correctly and this is just my opinion, so IMO the best way to link for SEO value is something like this:

A guide to search engine optimisation by <a href=””>Dave Naylor a UK SEO </a> born in the North of England Dave tells it the way it is on his <a href=””> seo blog</a> he is a true no holds barred seo blogger.

What I’m trying to do is let the search engines know by linking my target keywords “UK SEO” and “Seo Blog” and supporting them with England, Search Engine Optimisation and Blogger in near proximity hopefully that will do the job.

Comments (18)


  • Very interesting dave. I have always thought it was very important when obtaining links in copy to have related keywords surrounding the actual link and your proximity test with he url link seems to support this idea.

    Do you think the same would apply as strongly for the keyword link as the url link? keyword close to the link given a proximity boost?

    Di 30 jun 2009, 11:26

  • And the best place to get links like that, IMHO, is.... Press Releases, Guest Bloging or doing interviews. No mention of no-follow though, which is good becuase as I've always said, no follow SUCKS! And people should just ignore it. I don't know if others agree but my thought on it is if you don't trust a link to someone cloak it. No follow is a band aid for a broken leg.

    Di 30 jun 2009, 11:42

  • Great article Dave,

    I am going to perform an internal test with link proximity in the near future aswell, i am curious if i will get the same results as you do.

    Di 30 jun 2009, 12:08

  • All very true Dave and I agree that lazy ‘car insurance’ links held one below the other is not best practice, yet within that target area it can be done. The reasoning behind this is simple. Google still need to provide relevant results. If you had sites such as Gocompare, moneysupermarket, confused, directline and comparethemarket (examples and I am not suggesting they purchase links) all holding a low quality links on a single page, would Google ban one? Can they afford to ban them all? I dealt with a similar client several years ago who had suffered a Google penalization ‘not my doing’ and reviewing the user experience found that several moved search engine as the required result was not made available. Now this is a very low % yet if done on a large scale it could hurt Google Gods and with such high buzz surrounding bing, would they want to give anyone a reason to switch?
    In my opinion it’s not agencies being lazy; well not the 3rd and 4th link acquired. They have just taken advantage of the first links lazy way, hoping if Google do punish they punish all involved. Although incorporating a contextual link is not a difficult or time consuming task so it should be done.
    What I am trying to say is your right Dave :)

    Di 30 jun 2009, 12:16

  • All very true. When I was trying to help my links along I placed any links, I would put the name Dave Stopher next to them to try and bouldster the name higher in the rankings.

    With no follows google are starting to ignore it in some searchs arent they? so you cannot page sculpt usig that now.

    Di 30 jun 2009, 12:44

  • @only the first will carry the anchor text

    Well this is not true for every industry. Check all the e-commerce sites or dynamic sites. They have same url with different anchor text on there pages and i have seen more than one keyword ranking or getting the advantage of anchor text.

    Wo 1 jul 2009, 04:30

  • Good post. Anchor text, and text that surrounds links is definitely important for seo.

    Wo 1 jul 2009, 05:36

  • Hey Dave,

    Care to expand on the statement on both links carrying pagerank ? How did you go about checking that ?

    Wo 1 jul 2009, 08:42

  • Great post Dave, thanks for giving us that insight. It's great to see some solid research into this, something that I would have liked to do if I was in the position to. Cheers!

    Wo 1 jul 2009, 11:53

  • I read this twice. Clearly written valuable information. Your examples really helped drive your points home. Thanks!

    Wo 1 jul 2009, 13:54

  • That's a great approach about the theme, it's all true, more links are always better.

    Wo 1 jul 2009, 17:23

  • Fascinating post, it makes lots of sense and there are some very useful points raised. It's great to test things and this type of testing is invaluable. It's intriguing about the multiple links item as well.

    Do 2 jul 2009, 20:15

  • this is old school info, but still valid.


    Vr 3 jul 2009, 11:59

  • Are recip. links out? I've gotten nothing but headaches trying to trade links with people.

    Za 4 jul 2009, 22:07

    • Singapore SEO Specialist In Malaysia
    • [website]

    If SEO job is all about links, links and more links, then I think that chimpanzee could apply for SEO job. :)

    Vr 11 sep 2009, 10:44

  • Anchor text links are so powerful for SEO

    Ma 14 dec 2009, 12:56

  • Some basic info about anchor text linking but still very useful :)

    Di 22 dec 2009, 12:12

  • That's a cool article, I think I'll try to send you a guest post article and see if it's up the standards.

    If I had a dime for every time I saw a site with hundreds purchased links that ranks on top 3 on Google...

    Wo 7 jul 2010, 13:19


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