25th July 2007

Everyone knows that inbound links to your website are a good thing. Everyone also knows that some are better for you than others. But how do you tell exactly how much more valuable one link is over another?

Knowing exactly which link partners you should pursue first, and which ones ones are not worth your time can save you an incredible amount of effort.

Assuming that the link we are speaking of is a text link, and not some weird Java script or other link that search engines cannot follow, the following factors can help you formulate a plan:

What is the PageRank of the PAGE where that link will exist?
Remember, PageRank is assigned by PAGE, and not by website, so be certain you look up the PageRank of the particular page or your link will reside. This establishes a frame of reference by using a generally accepted measurement criteria. While may change at some point in the future, but for now, it’s PageRank that’s the indicator.

What is the total total number of links on that page pointing to other pages?
You can determine this by searching Google for link:domain.com, Which will show you, all of the inbound links to that domain, and you can use Yahoo site explorer to show “Inlinks”. (MSN inbound links do not matter, and MSN has even disabled the ability to look those up)

It’s a generally accepted fact among SEO experts that each page may “pass along” approximately 85% of its total PageRank or total “link juice” to all of the other pages it links to.

Obviously, this means the value of each outbound link is diminished as the number increases, so the less links you have on an outbound page, the more “link juice” each of them has to pass along. See?

What is the number of EXTERNAL links on that page pointing to other domains?
The value passed along for each outbound link from a page changes, whether that outbound link is to an internal page on the site, or to an external page on another domain. At this writing, nobody seems to know that exact figure in the algorithm, and I am choosing not to guess here.

What is the total number of inbound links pointing to that page?
The more inbound links any page has, and the more valuable it is, and the more likely it is to remain a valuable partner, because the inadvertent loss of a few good inbound links is likely to not do it any damage.

What is the number of inbound links pointing to that page from domains besides their own?
Websites can take advantage of their own PageRank and number of pages to increase their own number of inbound links. (for you technical types, there is a great post explaining this on Jim Boykin’s blog)

Since we know that external links are more valuable than your own internal links, this has to be considered when determining which links to go after.

At this point in your research, Yahoo site Explorer makes this easier, so use it and choose the option under inlinks to show “links to this domain” from domains other than it’s own.

What is the anchor text of those inbound link to your domain?
An inbound link has more value if the text is a relevant key phrase, an even more valuable if that key phrase is used in the title tag, H1 tag, and body text of the URL being linked to. If the inbound link text meets all of that a criteria, then it has the most value.

This would explain why the number one search result for the phrase “click here” is likely to always be Adobe Acrobat reader, because there are so many inbound links from reputable sites using that text.

Going to the individual webpages of your competitions Inlinks is a ridiculous process that takes an incredible amount of time, but if you are in a highly competitive market, then you have no choice.

While researching, save all of the your results of your research into columns on a spreadsheet, and you will end up with highly sortable list.

There are some web-based tools to make this process run a little faster, and my favorite compilation of SEO tools is here at SEO Book

Here are some ideas for creating inbound links in my educational area for beginning SEO tips

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