We’ve mentioned the relationship between hyperlinks and Google rankings before (Game of Thrones, Penguin) without ever delving into how they operate or why they work. It’s about time we did. Links are one of the most important factors in your Google Page Rank.
Put simply, hyperlinks are elements in electronic documents that redirect users to a different part of the document or to another document altogether. If you’re a regular web user, you’re familiar with hyperlinks already (they normally look like this). There are two types of hyperlinks: internal and external. Internal links send you to a different page on the same website. External links send you to an outside website, and improve your Google Page Ranking.
Popular Websites Rank Best
Popular Websites Rank Best
To Google, the simplest way to measure a website’s credibility and relevance is to determine its popularity with users. Because measuring web traffic is difficult (site visits are volatile and the information is often stored on private servers), Google counts the number of external links that a site has instead. Links are public, stable, and difficult to manipulate, which makes them an easy way to judge the relative popularity of a site. They’re a vote of popularity from the web community.
The impact that a link has is called “link juice,” but not every link supplies the same amount of juice. Links from popular sites with a lot of incoming links provide more juice than sites that have few links. Similarly, links from sites related to yours also count more strongly towards your Google ranking. If you sold baking equipment, a link from a cooking site has more juice than a link from a sewing site.
Anchor text is the blue, underlined text in a hyperlink and often describes the content being linked to. When the anchor text is relevant to your website, the link is extra valuable. It associates your site with the keyword more closely and increases the likelihood that your site will appear prominently in searches for it.
FreshRank is a measurement of a site’s perceived relevance. Sites that regularly add new links are perceived as more relevant than sites that don’t, which means that the older a link becomes, the less juice it supplies. In order to keep your links fresh, it’s important to regularly add new content in order to attract visitors. How often new links have to be added in order to maintain or increase your FreshRank depends on what type of site you operate. Daily news sites need new links every day. Pest control companies do not.
It is important to note that not all links are beneficial. Approximately 60 percent of the Internet is spam. Google has been rigorously eliminating spam sites from its index in the past few years and bad or broken links to a known spam site will lower your ranking, as it indicates that your content cannot be trusted. Linking schemes – underhanded methods of increasing a sites link count – have also come under increased scrutiny. If you’re unfamiliar with link schemes, or worried that you may be a part of one, read up on our articles on Google’s Penguin algorithm.
Next week we’ll take a look at internal links and how they affect your website’s visibility and ranking.
Do you have questions that I didn’t cover? Let me know in the comments!