A wrong SEO assumption

What ranks well MUST have a better link profile than what doesn’t? Right? Wrong! I came across this misconception on some squidoo blog or other.

One of the ways to find relevant pages to get links from is to just Google that phrase in Google and ask links off everybody who ranks in the top 100. Say you got links from everyone of them (fictional example, obviously) would the link from no. 100 be very much less valuable than the one you got from no. 1? No. They are likely each just as good. It’s very likely the difference between no. 1 and no. 100 is the on-page factors: keywords in the title tags, headings etc. (in my niches anyhow)

The place you get links doesn’t have to rank – it just needs to have links pointing to it (within the same site and preferably also from outside the site), and it should ideally be on topic for your lens/blog/webpage. Note that the links pointing to that page don’t have to all be on topic, though if they are natural they are likely to be on topic at least part of the time.

For instance: I’ve been getting links to my lensography from the giant squid community showcase blog. That’s a great link to have, especially since they invariably use the word ‘spirituality’ when linking to it. It makes sense of course, because that’s my lensmaster name, but it is also a keyword I love to be associated with.

BUT – that link-text is not relevant to that page itself. Nor does it rank for anything. I just checked my stats and 4 out of seven visitors for the last 7 days were referrals (e-mail and squidoo). The others apparently have the page bookmarked (why they would I don’t know, but that’s another story).

So – does that mean the link is worthless? No. The links I get to that page give pagerank to all the pages linked from that page. That is: the lensmasters I linked to on that page, the lenses featured and my profile page. And a few groups too.

For all those pages the chances of ranking are higher because of those extra links to my lensography. Does it stop there? Not really – the link to my profile page means that all my other lenses (and the lenses I’ve favored) also have a higher chance of ranking in Google.

The point? Don’t judge a link by it’s cover: don’t judge it by whether the page in question ranks in google or not. Judge it by the backlinks it has in its turn, and the backlinks it is likely to get in future.

Another way of putting that is: all the links on my lensmaster profile start out with the same set of backlinks. They therefor have the same link power. Some however get traffic from Google and others don’t. The difference? Keywords. Keyword density (some are too dense: they have too many keywords on the page). Competition on the internet.

More about SEO.

8 thoughts on “A wrong SEO assumption”

  1. Hmm – I am wondering if that Lens about a wheat free diet that is ranking in Google on Page 15, that I blogged about yesterday may be worth something after all? If I managed to get a link from that Lens, would it benefit or disadvantage my lens? It really is not a good lens – only one text module and a mass of links. The lens itself is very Spammy. I did not check to see if the text is original or a cut & paste job.

    Is there such a thing as a bad link?

  2. Well – you’d have to check your backlinks to be sure. But you’d probably be better off getting links from lenses and groups about dieting and allergies in general. The whole point of my post is that the backlinks to something are as important to whether the link is worth something or not as the topic. Rankings only come into it sideways. (rankings are far easier to check, so it’s natural to look there, but it’s not the real thing. it’s not what google cares about)

    You should obviously see what tags that lens is using to see if you can end up on their ‘related lenses’ bit though.

  3. Just looked at the other lens and I am on there. Lens only has four tags……no ratings, not much on the Bio…..

  4. It’s funny about backlinks and having your lense linked all over.

    My Claim To Fame has a link to it on the Wall Of Fame that now appears on so many lensmaster profiles, and therefore shows up on every one of their lenses when they are visited. I know just how many visits each one has because I can see the stats from my web site where the image is pulled from. However, the lens only gets less than 10 visits a day, presumably because nobody realises you can click on it.

    Reminds me – must make it more obvious…

  5. Agreed, on topic backlinks are more important than page rank in terms of SEO. Of course getting a link on a high ranking/high traffic page is better for referrals (getting visitors from that link) I suppose; not SEO but useful nonetheless.

    I guess this is why I sometimes question if groups that are very broad in topic are of use. I see some that are like, the biggest lenses, the longest lenses, the All Lenses Accepted group and so forth. Am I right in assuming (as I suspected and I think you might be saying) that these groups probably aren’t as useful?

  6. Katinka,
    I have a question that’s been nagging me and I wondered if you have an answer or opinion. Most people on Squidoo are great about linking and lensrolling to each other’s lenses. Most of us will at least occasionally feature other people’s lenses on our own etc.

    My question is about domains. If too many of our links come from one domain (Squidoo in this case) is that “bad”, do they end up getting ignored or whatever? I guess another example would be blogging and having most all of our links pointing to Squidoo lenses, our own or others. Does it get diluted to a point that it’s no longer useful?

    If you’ve already addressed this just point me in that direction and accept my apologies!

  7. Wow, some great questions here 🙂

    Going from last to first:

    mulberry: Yes – it is better to also have links from outside squidoo. That’s the short answer. But don’t think you aren’t helping the lenses you are lensrolling or featuring. When I created my least popular lenses lensographies (one general and one spiritual) some of those featured lenses suddenly started ranking.

    I do have the impression that the links can get diluted – but that would include (unfortunately) links from squidoo related domains like squidoo directories. However this is where the art versus science aspect of SEO kicks in and I’m not totally sure.

    Mulberry (2) groups: getting a link from a large group is great. Whether the link is related or not. It’s even better if it’s a large on topic group of course.

    Where these groups aren’t useful is when they ARE NOT linking to your lens on the group page. Which is the most likely scenario. Most of those million lenses groups have group pages finished ages ago – and they will hardly ever feature a new lens that just turned up, not unless they’re your friend or something.

    Tony: for the backlink those links are counting, though it is better for the lensmaster you are linking to if you also make a text link. There is good reason to believe that linked images don’t do the linked page as much good.

    [I’m always so pleased when groups featuring my great groups badge also use a text link to link to the lensography and perhaps even my lensmaster page. Any link counts, but some links are better than others.]

    AJ: unfortunately google isn’t always fair: it tries to be, but it doesn’t always succeed… However, with proper link building it should be relatively easy to beat that lens in the long run.

  8. Thank you for pointing me to this post from the Squidoo forum. Yes, I do listen to others!

    At long last it’s sunk into my head as to the benefits of the Squidoo Groups regarding links.

    Thank you for taking the time to write such helpful forum comments. I can see why you are successful!

    Suzie

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