Internet Marketing Ninjas Blog

Why that site with 50 backlinks beats your site with 1000 backlinks.

All I ever hear is numbers numbers numbers.

So and So has this many links, we need this many links, how many links can you get us, buy 100’s of links cheap, get your link on 100 pages, ahhhhhhh.

The numbers game died a few years ago. There’s another line of thinking out there that you might not know about…..

It’s not always "He with the most links" who wins the game……often, "He with the right links" can win the game as well. Really, very often, he with the right 10 links can beat the guy with 1000 of the wrong links – I see it all the time.

I’m sure most of us have looked at search results, and followed it up by checking the backlinks of the top 10 sites….and then scratched our heads and said "Hum….why is that site in the top 10? It only has X amount of links….hum…doesn’t make sense."….I know I used to do that a lot. Upon closer inspection I’ll usually find that the sites with fewer backlinks that rank on the first page of search results have links that are more relevant, or more trusted, or seem to come from the "right places" (trusted industry related sites).

Sure, there’s different ways to play the game of SEO….go for volume of links……or go for Trusted links…..but few go on the angle of "get the right links" and you might not need as many links as you thought you did.

See, a problem with going for volume is that you can’t stop…you and your competitors might be running in a dogs race always trying to get one more link than the other guys….you buy ’em in volumes…you trade ’em in volumes, you 3 way ’em, you site-wide ’em….you do what ever you can to get your total backlinks up, up, and away….problem with that is, is that you often get links from non-trusted sites (artificial backlink sites), you get them on "links" pages (tossing a sign on your site saying "Google, kick me, I’m an SEO trying to artificially inflate my backlinks), you get them for 200 directories (another Google kick me, I’m an SEO sign), and the more you get, the more you fall, and the more you fall, the more you cry "I must need more, more, more", and the further you slip…’s really a bad SEO trap that’s been laid out for you.

Now, getting trusted backlinks is way better….finding sites that have "Real backlinks" (not SEO’d sites)…and getting your links on real pages is really cool….and winning by trust can be done…..until the engines start to say "here’s the neighborhood, but you’re not in it" and wa-la, yea, you’re trusted too….just not by your peers, and your rankings slip again.

I truely believe that the engines are trying to find the neighborhood…..and that the numbers game is dying big time. So….remember that site that ranked high, yet had few backlinks? Let’s look at that with some "Jim Pictures"


Ok….see the black dot in the middle? That site might not have the most backlinks….but it’s in the center of the activity….it’s got the right links….the hubs and the authorities….it doesn’t have a link from everyone, but it’s got the right links….ok…I’ll admit, my artwork might not be the best…let me try another picture (I didn’t draw, but it can help to show my point).


Again, see my red arrows that show the sites that have votes from the authorities and hubs of the communities.

Getting a few of the right links, from the right places can be more valuable than getting 100 links from the wrong places.

Here’s this article in German.


179 Responses

  1. This is a great post, but it does not yield some of the out-of-the-box issues. This type of strategy is very expensive to take on from a client’s point of view. Considerable research must be conducted and in many cases, money has to be paid for quality ‘under-the-radar’ links.

    When other opportunities such as building massive one-way links from directories and topic-focused reciprocal links are cheap and still work in many sectors, it is hard for many clients to read between the lines.

    In any case, this strategy is part of what separates the boys from the men (or girls from the women).

  2. Jim,
    All true and to get links from valued sites in your neighborhood you need great content and link bait such as free tools, advice, etc. However having sang from this hymn book for a long time its very frustrating to see “linked in” “technornati” ‘wikipedia” etc etc showing up in the top results for many searches. What are Google doing. Now what is going to happen everybody is going to start tagging like crazy. Basically they keep devaluing links to sites and replacing them wiht the next craze instead of doign what they tell the rest of us to do which is grow your links in a truly organic way.

  3. Jim,
    I have wondered for some time why with the “number” of links – guess I don’t have to go further. Your post is very enlightening for me and has set my mind to work for certain improvements for my site.

  4. Fionn, I hear you ““linked in” “technornati” ‘wikipedia” …showing up in the top of results”
    They’re there because they’ve got tons of links, tons of internal links, from tons of good sites…not to mention they’re a great resource that gets tons of natural links….and yea, they’re hard to beat…work around them…at least they’re not a competitor.

  5. Awesome post Jim, I like the idea of visual representations of interlinked sites. I’ve noticed that you’ve blogged this before. Can you point me towards a tool that can “zoom out” to view a site’s entire link neighborhood? Ideally it would be kind of like but more detailed… also it looks like Kartoo relies on sheer volume of links…

    I’d also be interested in learning more about these kinds of maps, this stuff could be applied to tracking viral trends, examining the relationships between people, etc. Kind of trippy when you think about it. I found this page dealing with something called social network analysis, is that relevant to what we’re dealing with here?

    Sorry for the entry-level questions, I never made it to college (too busy partying 😉 .

  6. Ian, there’s some tools that do that…but they’re so inaccurate that they’re not worth showing. I think Matt Cutts has a tool that does this better….but I don’t think he’ll share his tool.

  7. Interesting yet sad post. It’s always tempting to get all the links you can get your hands on but in the end, most of them are not much use… Brings me back to that quote: “Quality not Quantity”.

  8. Nice starting of this discussion. The notion of ‘neighborhood relevancy’ is a more pure way of ascertaining the validity of a good reference. References need to be in scope: you wouldn’t take marital advice from a Gardner, nor is your insurance agent a movie critic. However some relationships exist which might not always make sense: a tax attorney might have good marital advice (i.e. don’t get divorced!) as well he might tell you to watch Pacific Heights for proof. Both of these references could illicit a strong link-value.

    The semantics of these ‘neighborhood relationships’ might be contextual or structural or other; we can only theorize on how Google’s PhD’s have compiled the algorithm.

    Relevant, high-quality links will outshine volumes of spam-like references. What I’d like to see evaluated is the normalized link value of ‘neighborhood relevancy’ versus page rank when it comes back links. Remember, when assesing link value, PR is divided by number of total page links (normalized link value).

  9. yep, quality beats quantity… but still do a bit of link bait, as you may know a link that looked quite weak in link value when you did it, can mature into one of your best links… just use your judgement.

  10. Very true.
    We hade no problem getting very high on the SERPS with our swedish net-news paper, a non-profit site with research news about health.

    The site didnt almost have any links at all but som swedish directories and a few fact sites about health. It was the fact sites that made all the difference.

    We got for example a reference to our material about turmeric which put us on numer 2 for that SERP. Of course that SERP (gurkmeja on isnt really searched by anyone in sweden, but it is still a hard SERP since a lot of big news paper have articles about it.

    Best Regards, and good luck with your blog
    Hans Husman

  11. Good thoughts here. I’ve seen, for example, very little traffic from the hundreds of backlinking comments I’ve left at other blogs. But I have seen a great benefit in terms of human connection – Jim and probably others’ll read this soon and wonder who I am and what I do. And that’s how a lot of conversations and relationships get started.

  12. This is an excellent article. Thanks for helping me understand how some links are more valuable than others!

  13. >>They’re there because they’ve got tons of links, tons of internal links

    Those links aren’t votes though Jim. They’re tags. Rel=tag should be discounted.

    Nice post, but this is akin to telling someone having indexing problems with e-commerce sites to produce more “quality content” or “relevant, high quality links.”

    A post using a real site as an example, listing “quality links” for that site, describing its neighborhood, and actually showing what you did to gain the links “from the right places” would be more helpful.

  14. halfdeck – I’m not sure what you’re saying when you say “Those links aren’t votes though Jim. They’re tags. Rel=tag should be discounted.”??

    This post is about ideas…not examples….if you want examples you’ll have to find them yourself.

    If I gave an example people are adpt to say “hey, rankings could have changed because of this, or that, or google did something”…there’s just too many variables to ever say “I got this 1 link” and wa-la, rankings increased…and I don’t work in a vacuum, and who know how long doing any 1 thing will take to have an impact.

    What I was saying, was to look at that site that ranks in the top 10, but has few backlinks (I’m sure you can find one), then look at the backlinks….often (not always), the site with little backlinks has better quality links, and coming from sites in the neighborhood of the topic, and trusted sites within that neighborhood.

    It’s not a numbers game – that’s the point I was trying to make….and yea, w/o examples.

  15. Jim, I’m talking about thousands of blogs linking to technorati using tags in their posts, while technorati links back on pages with nofollow on them. That has to have some impact on technorati tag pages showing up prominently on some searches (e.g. “SEO”).

    As for examples, don’t get me wrong. I’m not disputing your post – I completely agree with points you made. What I want to know is where do I find those killer links and how do I get them? If they were easy to get, would anyone be wasting their time submitting to directories?

  16. halfdeck…sorry if I seemed short….I’m reading an arguement somewhere else and came in here in a bit of a fighting mood…and that was wrong….yea…I hear you on technoroti…and I’m guilty myself there of linking to them in tags quite often.

    try aarons hubfinder tool as well to find possible industry authorities.

  17. Jim,

    Although I agree in principy with what you’re saying, you’ve glossed over the importance of a large link network, which we all knew before there were any worthwhile search engines, which is TRAFFIC without the search engine itself.

    Once someone lands on a site they like, why should you always rely on the search engine to bring the visitor to your site vs. their list of links?

    It all works and is just another way to hedge your bets IMO.

  18. i also like to talk about trust and reputation, in other words
    what value is a link on page A for the keyphrase;
    “french fries” if page A has no external links pointing to it
    for the same or similar related terms?
    Thus ruling out any value in reciprocal link pages in Google’s eyes, Yahoo and MSN get smater all the time as well.

  19. One thing I have been learning over the past few years expands on this topic a bit. What good are visitors without sales conversions or contacts?

    My goal as a designer and marketer is sales, not visitors. I’ve recently changed focus drastically and am beginning to see payoffs.

    Of course, SEO provides traffic that can in theory be converted to sales, but if it is largely unfocused and unqualified it is of little value. Though I can’t quantify the effects of this approach, I believe that focusing on link neighborhoods and expert sites along with producing quality content in that domain can help improve the quality of traffic.

  20. I think you see a real chance Harvey.

    Take for example a store that sales beeries. If they also had a Flickr-account their they collected really good pictures of berries it would give me several things…

    1. Better pictures on the web site.
    2. More image search traffic to the site.
    3. Traffic from Flickr.
    4. Links and stuff if people use or talk about the pictures.

    The same approach is of course easily converted into any community.

    Hence you would create a berry-ring around the berry-store…

    1. The free berry-comics.
    2. The elit-berry directory.
    3. The Flickr map with all the worlds berries.
    4. The berry blog.
    5. The berry information site.
    6. The free berry-game.
    7. The berry forum.

    And so on…

  21. Jim your absolutly correct about the power of good relavant link exchanges. What you left out, the most important thing is that, the guys with 10- to 20 good relavant links only, spent alot of time thinking about “What kind of link would be good for visitors to my site? His or Her reward for finding the perfect sites to link with is the coveted “One Way Link Back to them”.
    Yes, if you take time to develop links that are totaly related to helping your website visitors, then you are creating a “WEB” this web will grow on its own from other sites related to the site you are linked with, people will link to your site because its good for thier customers, the “WEB you spin grows expanatially over time. Building this web from a strong center, getting receiprocal links from well established internet popular sites is hard to do but does put you miles ahead of the guy who links to less popular sites. Remeber, it has to be a site related in some way and a site that will help your visitors in some way so that a relavant “web” is built.

  22. Hi Jim, I totally agree with the QUALITY over QUANTITY approach, and it’s becoming more and more important as we move ahead in this changing search environment. But the problem is that the PUBLIC is not educated on this, and some old school SEOers are still promoting the whole “link or die trying” approach.

    I just had a client as if we would create 150 separate one-page websites hosted on individual domains all linking to a main domain and all linking to eachother. I almost choked on my lunch. I wanted to ask if they were joking, but they clearly were not. What we need is some good education on appropriate link building in this day and age.


  23. I remember computer science classes in 1977 at CTC and being taught by a 70 year old prof. Building programs from scratch started with a flow chart. What a basic but strategically related way to think of todays internet. If we can build a flow chart starting from a customer’s search term right thru to a sale, would it reveal anything we dont know, like a concept. Iam sure it would. I think it would reveal the internet like the guy in matrix that saw things in code. That its still electronic bits and bites looking for somewhere to go, somewhere to be “Grounded to” And like an old style computer language flow chart, there are dead end routes that end up in negative results because those are the rules incorporated into it. and in all our cases, the rules of a perticular search engine. Some efforts work on some engines and not on others. Julie knows what will happen to the guys that want all the “Mirror” sites, it will work for a while, but SE rule’s for site mirroring or front door link farming will be enforced and the site’s will be tossed into oblivion eventually for gaming the engines. The way human editors work, it could be a year it could be a day, you dont know when they will pay a visit to the site.

  24. I read an interesting article that used Ford Motor co. as an example. Do a search for car manufacture or automobile manufacturer, Ford cant be found in the search or is so far down the list you get tired of looking.
    But thier home page gets over 80k hits a day from one way links pointing to their site.

  25. why in the heck would anyone want to search for ‘car manufacturer’ when you can type FORD and is right at the top?

    Silly argument for one way links if I ever heard one.

  26. The point is, most of us dont have a company name thats so famous that people just type it into a search bar. If thats all people did was type a company name or an exact url into a search bar then this whole discusussion is in vein and the purpose of searching for a company that has what a customer needs could be left up to dns servers or whatever brand the media tells us to buy or who to buy it from. There are billions of url’s on the net, if you rely soley on a snappy sounding url to get traffice your going to be a lonley sole unless you are a Ford Motor co or General Elec.. etc.

  27. I can only go off of what has worked in the past. My old website was one of the sites Jim talked about with about 20 good links. It rose to number one in “all the search engines” and I mean first page first listing in the non sponsered listings and also had a very high one way link number back to it. I never paid for a listing ever. Ive had to shut it down and start another site, the old site was a sub-domain non the less, and the old host sold out and sevice began dropping. Iam in this forum to learn and share and I would like to hear more about your post Hans, it sounds interesting and a clever way to build a web of links and popularity.

  28. Oh, the old site held those rankings from 2000 to Febuary of 2006, my new site is about 6 months old and now ranks within the top 4 pages of the major engines partly because of old links that agreed to come to the new site and new top quality links.

  29. What tool did you use to generate the backlink graph? I recall seeing something like that for web page anchors, but not backlinks.

    Oh, and thanks for an awesome post.

  30. Awesome post I have really started to focus on this, one of my clients has been ranking for a very competitive word with only 381 back links, and all the other sites in the top ten have over 5k, most over 15k, it works.

  31. A great article Jim! I’ve played the quantity game for a while now. Not only doesn’t it work, I think it killed a site with a good Google trust factor I created in 1998. Page Rank remains at 5 with tons of backlinks. 1100 site visits daily from G dropped to 10-20. I had implemented some automatic reciprocal link programs which I’m convinced was the culprit (you know the “more is better approach). I mean with all Google’s algorithms, how difficult would it be for them to depress the rankings of a site by doing a simple search for sites that link to programs like LinkDIY, Telalinks, et. al?

    So let me pass along a personal warning – “don’t mess with success” of a trusted site. G still shows it’s indexed 1000+ pages of my site, but no meaningful keyword results upon a search. Looks like I’ve put a trusted site back in the sandbox.

    I’ve eliminated the automatic reciprocal link programs from my site and hope I’ll eventually earn my way out.

    Thanks for the tips!

  32. Hi Jim
    Your article is right on target.
    Have done a lot of reasearch and it proves that getting quality links (or, making a lot of minisites with the same kind of topic as your main site) is the right way to do things.
    The problem with minisites are that it takes many of them and they may be in the sandbox for a couple of years so that is really a long term strategy.

    Also, there may be different opinions to some degree since

    “Just what is “relevant” when getting links?”

  33. “Rolex replica” reflection about the mini-sites is quite interresting.

    Here in sweden the big problem for sites which publish quality content is small spam sites made for Adsense which usually gets a top position on Google. The reason for that is that everyone of the spam sites have a DMOZ registration, which I have reason to beliave is do to a systematic quality assurance problem with the swedish part of DMOZ.

    The spam sites do not usually present any contest (to my knowledge) but links. The links usually are target against sites which for different kinds of reasons will not rank in top 20. Also they usually links heavly on some big sites on very important SERP:s.

    In the last 6 month they have increased even more in numbers and are now affecting all major search topics which I follow on Google.

    It is very irritating for 3 reasons. Most obvious they takes readers from quality content like our non-profit net newspaper.

    Also the users trust in Adsense is removed fast, which is easy to notice on different kind of forums and blogs their people complaina bout the problem.

    The third reason is that the good quality sites are looking for alternatives to Adsense. Hence that we very soon need to add another service besides Adsense since Adsense in Sweden just doesnt have enough quality customers.

    The most typical Adsense user in sweden sells one of three products used for loosing weight.

    I good guess is that Microsoft Live! in a year or two here in Sweden will take a good share of Googles users. It is currently an open door for the new swedish services created in the last 6 month in the tracks of the major Adsense quality and Google quality problems.

    I cant really say that I think its a bad thing that the market shares get even out. And it is quite funny that it is DMOZ that holds the knife.

  34. SEO is becoming more and more about making a good website, which is how it should be.

    Has the time come where it’s easier to just write good content than try to trick the search engines with convoluted link schemes? Perhaps, perhaps not, but that’s certainly the direction things are heading.

    Jim, i’m almost convinced I should delete my rubbish old recip pages from my sites 🙂

  35. This really is an intresting, a lot of CEO companys are only going for the amount of links, but I also noticed a big difference on just one place that linked to our site.

  36. What you are saying in the article should be right according all seo guidelines, unfortunately it isn’t always.

    check for example:
    they have around 6,2milion backlinks 99% non related and very bad neighbourhood links in my opinion.
    Actually they do everything what god(Google) has forbidden: spamming with links, duplicate content over a view hundred of sites that are all under the same ip.
    Just check there results under for example London hotels, Barcelona hotels etc.
    I have a very big doubt about the theories Google wants us to spread around, these booking guys are doing this already for more than 2 years in the most obvious ways and they still in the top of the searchengines on thousands of highly competitive keywords.
    If i look at this example it is all about the NR’S

  37. Google doesnt punish for bad links from sites. They punish for links to bad sites.

    You cant really see which links that works for them. Some sites acctually adds a couple of 100 spam links to make it harder to find the links that are important for you.

    An old sites would probably have a lot of different kinds of links due to different kind of tactics they have used for different Google-time-periods.

  38. Also remember that you fight with sites in the same business. If none have trusted links you all fight with non-trusted links.

  39. In the past week I have seen two sites one in loan consolidation and one in real estate ranking highly with thousands of off topic links from total spam sites. Both sites are only a few monhs old. I really do beleive that Google are trying very hard to stop the link spam but I also believe a lot of sites are still slipping through the net.

  40. Fionn,
    yes, this happens all the time….you can sometimes win (for a short time) with tons of the wrong links.
    or you can win long term with a few of the right links.

  41. Hi KeesJ,

    I wouldn’t worry so much about their crummier backlinks, but they do have 3650(!) backlinks from .edu tlds.

    They seem to have all kinds of edus; personal pages, text links, and best of all, aged natural links. Something about that site makes collegiate types want to link to deeper pages when they publish a trip itinerary on the web.

    I agree that these guys could be doing more with their architecture, and they do have a lot of pages in the supplementals but I think that illustrates Jim’s point rather than disproves it. It’s the quality and the age of certain links that allows them to overcome shortcomings.

    Just IMO

  42. 2 DMOZ and 133 Yahoo directory. Tonnes of deep links It would take a lot of bad links to tip the scale there.

    Description 17 Nov
    Page Rank 6 Pages indexed in MSN 20,749 Pages indexed in MSN 20,749 Pages indexed in Google 198,000 Pages indexed in Google 328,000 Pages indexed in Yahoo 1 Pages indexed in Yahoo 1
    Links from Yahoo Directory 133
    Links from DMOZ Directory 2
    Links from EDU domains 3,580
    Links from GOV domains 0
    Links to home page 2,929
    Links to home page (not internal) 3,063
    Links to domain 6,161,166
    Links to domain (not internal) 5,795,371
    Total Deep Links 5,792,308
    Deep link % 100 %

  43. Hi,

    Actually Link Exchanges are no longer useful, as long as you get link exchanges from sites related to yours…
    Computer from computer related sites etc…

    A simple strategy that works:

    Search your main key in Google. Analyze how many links they have, a 100, 400 etc… get links from those same sites, using the anchor text as the key you searched for.

    Doing slightly more than the #1 will beat them.


  44. I have tried and tried. I have good reliable backlinks to some of the best related sites. I still rank 71 on google.

  45. Not all search engines are created equal. While I agree that the quality and relevence of inbound link are key to a good position in serp’s for Google. For Msn and yahoo it’s still a numbers game altho this is changing as both are competing with google. If your targeting all search engines quality and quantity is important..for the time being

  46. i have only a pr4 but i have a better position than some pr5 and there are some pr0 that have better position than some of pr4 in my keyword

  47. Jim,
    Very true, I have a PR3 and just started my site in Sep 2006, yet I have higher rankings than others with many more links. I think the hardest part is finding and then acquiring these high quality links. Difficult, but well worth the time.

  48. It’s rather funny how people still cling to the all mighty PR.
    Let it go guys. Now with all the various datacenters showing different ranking, PR is becoming useless.

    We all now know it’s not a matter of quantity, but quality.

    And darn, it PR is just one indicator! Let it go.

  49. Interesting articles. In other words exchanging links with related does help. The day when PR loses its value and Alexa is given first preference, we’ll have a more relevant web. Anyhow I’m not PR or Alexa crazy: I always feed the link to see if its in the Google index.

  50. Great post Jim, iv bookmarked and read more posts in your blog. it isnt often i take time out of my busy schedual to read a whole page of content but this stuff is great. Again, thanks alot

  51. Hey Jim, how do you know so much about SEO? I’ve read a few SEO blogs before but this is BY FAR the best one out there. I totally agree with you. In the beginning, I was submitting to directories but that only got me so far. So I went for quality links and I can definitely see the results. Thanks for the post. Take care.

  52. oogle doesnt punish for bad links from sites. They punish for links to bad sites.

    You cant really see which links that works for them. Some sites acctually adds a couple of 100 spam links to make it harder to find the links that are important for you.

    An old sites would probably have a lot of different kinds of links due to different kind of tactics they have used for different Google-time-periods.

  53. Wow this is very enlightening. My new art print site launched in december and I have been chasing down directory listings every day but now it seems quality not quantity is the key. Thanks for this help!

  54. Jim – you hit the nail on the head

    my website has fewer backlinks BUT has the easiest MOF registration process forcompared to the other websites and that really helped in my rankings

  55. Jim,
    I started my first website in September of 2006- Structured Settlement. I started off entering my site into hundreds of free directories. I thought this was the way to get high Google PR. After a few months my pr was a 2. I was very disappointed, because of the countless hours I spent listing my site. I started writing articles about a month ago, and boom I am listed at number 18 for the word structured settlement.

    You are 100% correct when you say quality over quantity. There are sites below me with over 15,000 backlinks.

    I thought when I first started that it would take me 10 years to get that many backlinks. Now I am starting to understand.

    Great article. Thank you for the info.

  56. hi
    i have just started out on the backlinks website listing and find it very interesting on what you have to say especially as it seems to be very correct. just wondering how many pr5 or pr6 sites it takes to get you listed higher also how long it rougly takes

  57. What is the point in page rank?
    Jim, you have rearranged my entire philosophy when it comes to backlinks and my seo campaign.
    Thank you.

  58. I stumbled across your blog while surfing the net. Have read a couple of your other articles here but found this interesting. I share your point of view and have experienced the same thing. A few quality backlinks can do amazing things with your web site ranking.

    In particular .edu domains seems very effective. One of my sites is linked to from a edu domain, and when this happened this site nearly jumped up in its ranking from day to day.


  59. Jim, I was half tempted to do the 200 directory links thing, cos it seemed like a saving on time and effort too. My site has been on a supplemental rollercoaster and sometimes you just get desperate. Pages with pagerank are in the main index, those without are not. Anyway, I think I’ll hold off that because it looks like a fruitless excercise. Thanks. I’m going to have a good look around here.

  60. Jim,
    This is an excellent article. I have printed it and read it many time. Your article is very important for me now, and during the last Google update all my backlinks disappeared, and my PR dropped to 0.
    Thanks again!

  61. Great article Jim! I would like to learn how to calculate the strength of my backlinks, can you give me some tips please?

  62. Great article Jim, now if I can just convince my company to create information worthy of a deep link to the site 😉

  63. Interesting post. It’s always tempting to get all the links you can get your hands on but in the end, i felt that “Quality not Quantity.

  64. Jim .. I am glad I came across this site because I was searching for this very topic and wondering how this worked .. “quality over quantity” is what I have realized because I had a friend who started his own directory and paid for a ton of incoming links on blogs and websites but had no revelant topics for the most part .. but when the PR update came, it was interesting out of the 15 or so categories he had, his internet and computer pages were the only ones with PR besides his home page… Just goes to show what your saying!

  65. Although this is not news it is a Great post with a nice visual representation. As you gain experience in this field you realize how true it is when dealing in some very competitive sectors (SERP’s) and sometimes it may not apply so much in other sectors. The idea to this idea of social networking linking topology explained here, lost some ground since spammers are starting to abuse it. Now Google also analyses your links click thought rate in SEPS and time spent on a site to determine how relevant you are to your targeted keywords, when they serve your link in SERP’s. It’s more than a links game. More then ever content is king and good content is rewarded more then ever and getting dull content up is harder and more expensive then ever.

  66. Is google PR solely dependent on the inbound links and nothing else? So it is assumed that the inbound links provide a complete representation of the quality and the likeability of a website? How about thsoe websites that people land up with ‘no referring link’ because they were conveyed verbally. I guess Google assumes that those are negligible in the equation.

    It would be nice to have 10 high quality links (from Yahoo, Google, Wikipedia etc.) to your site than having 1000 low quality links. But it is easier said than done. For example I have been trying to get my site linked from DMOZ, but haven’t been successful so far. They haven’t added it and they haven’t told why. How do you do that? Does someone have a list of good PR websites that are willing to put outbound links to other websites if they offer quality content?


  67. That is a brilliant representation of link neighborhoods. I have been struggling for a while to think of a way to represent that. It’s perfect and just… well brilliant.

  68. Jim,
    Great post on the old BackRub techniques with some TrustRank thrown in!

    Google is not just looking at trusted link sources but also dropping sites that are getting an influx of unrelated, low authority links. A great example can be seen at Insiders View.

    A $1bn company dropped from the number 1 spot on Google – that’s got to hurt!

  69. Great advice. Very constructive and well researched. Honestly and truly shed some light on the common sense approaches required bt the rest of us.
    I doubt the arguments in support of linking to a few (100 or less) quality sites is far more sensible than linking to thousands of websites that in many cases webmasters/blogmasters dont have a clue who or what sites they are linking as in many instance these links are set up by automated submission.

    An extremely well thought out educational piece on proper linking strategies using the take time and grow dont be greedy concept.

  70. Hey Mr. Jim, your drawing has to be one of the best explanation to your theory and i believe in it because i have once encountered tht same spot of being on top of the others while having only a few backlinks than most from elite sites i compete with.

    The only thing is that we all have to suck our pockets empty to get what quality backlinks we will need to achieve the top spots.

  71. A new low for nitwits that don’t understand google and page rank.
    Ooo colorful graphics.

  72. Good post and very true. Quality backlinks from pages that are both important and relevant carry a lot more weight than quantity backlinks from irrelevant web pages that are not considered “important” by Google.

  73. That makes a lot of sense… the question is – HOW do I get links from these big name authoritative sites? I would like to know a good method for contacting these sites (or other) to become authoritative.

    *link removed by Jim…your name is not “learn spanish” so no linky for you.

  74. real good post.
    i knowed that along time before and was wondering that nobody post about it till i have find your blog.

    gread work

  75. Good thing you included those visual aids– I’m not sure most people are competent enough to understand this without the graphics. Even though it’s just one step above common sense.

  76. Interesting post. It’s always tempting to get all the links you can get your hands on but in the end, i felt that “Quality not Quantity. ok

  77. I agree. I have seen a topranking site have 220.000 links – while a slightly lower ranking site only have 300 links.

  78. Hey Jim, Just came accross your site now while I was checking the backlinks of my site, I was actually looking for a tool but found your article more interesting :]

    I must say your advice on a links page surprised me, I did not know old fashion links pages did not work anymore, I thought directories were the ones that search engines became annoyed by.. Since every SEO site I’v seen has some form of a directory, and I thought engines have picked up thats what SEO’s are doing!

    Anyway, I’m desperately trying to get my PR up and the Keyword “Rugby World Cup 2007” I found your article extremely useful, but if there’s any quick tips you might have for me, I’d really appreciate it! Thanks for the article!


  79. Guys… we all know this… the problem is that it’s really HARD to get links from good sites!!!!!
    How do you want to do this????

  80. First of all it is a very good article. I completely agree about the way of thinking and Google seems to be partly right about it but not completely. The reason I say it is because I’ve seen some pages with only 2 links and with the same number of backlinks and they are rating with Google PR5 which is abnormal decision by the Google. This web design company has made about 30 sites and all sites have only 2 backlinks from the web design company and PR5. Is there any reasonable explanation for this?

  81. Jim,

    Thank you for the insight. What would happen if one of those “key sites” were to drop off the edge of the earth? Sounds like this process is never ending. Am I right? thanks again.


  82. Thanks a lot for this article.
    I was pretty sure than quality links are better than bad links… it seems so obvious!
    Quality isn’t much better than Quantity in general?

    However, what you don’t tell us is where to find the good links…
    Any suggestions?

  83. I liked the Pics showing the way how Link Networks works 😛 It was a great Article i really enjoyed it. However now i know why the guy above me links that good.

  84. nice article.
    @kar:Everybody knows that getting such authority links as described in this post is very hard.Google wants the same.
    google want us to earn links not to buy them.with the above strategy in action it has become very clear that getting such link is just impossible for new seo’s.Only popular and renowned seo’s will be able to get those links for their clients.
    I thinks if getting quality links is so hard then SEO will quote a huge lot of money from their clients.isn’t it? JIM

  85. Now is 2007 and Google just dropped the PR of many famous blogs and news stream sites as a penalty for selling links. It will get harder and harder to trick the SEs about how relevant your site really is. Google said it clearly: organic one way links given by choice. And the only way to do it: posting highly valuable articles on your own site or blog (not directories) with reprint prohibition about the whole article but including linking snippet with one way backlinks. Long live one way backlinks!

  86. Very interesting title for that post.
    Its very hard to find authorities, the only way is to bed for a link or you have to become an authority by yourself but this is much harder.

  87. The most difficult bit of this is to explain to a client exactly why 50 links are better than 1000.

    As with most things quality is more valuable than quantity. You might have 100 miners, but one front end digger can do a much better job and much quicker too.

  88. First of all it is a passing good article. I all out agree around the way of thinking and Google seems to be after a fashion right involving it but not through-and-through. The disentanglement I say it is in that I’ve seen some pages toy soldier mildly 2 links and stag the tedious number of backlinks and they are rating split shot Google PR5 which is abnormal alternativity by the Google. This web background ace has made just along toward 30 sites and all sites wear just 2 backlinks withhold the web continuity confrere and PR5. Is there any debateable purging for this?

  89. Remeber page rank is not the most important thing, contents are the most important. You can be linked by a friend with PR8, hehehe, and have crap.

  90. I believe that quality content and links are the things that make a difference… that’s how i’m currently ranking 25 out of 10 million for backlinks on Google 🙂

  91. Jim, I was half tempted to do the 200 directory links thing, cos it seemed like a saving on time and effort too. My site has been on a supplemental rollercoaster and sometimes you just get desperate. Pages with pagerank are in the main index, those without are not. Anyway, I think I’ll hold off that because it looks like a fruitless excercise. Thanks. I’m going to have a good look around here.

  92. Thanks for the great article. I have been using this method of comparing “common backlinks” religiously and I still can’t get past page 2. The analyzer tools I use indicate I am more content rich than most of the sites on page 1. Where can I go from here?

  93. I totally agree, im relatively new to SEO, and im glad I found this article before I started trying to amass hundreds of useless links. Jim your “amazing” artwork gets the point across.


  94. I’m newer for SEO so I’m very glad to find your article. This article is so much useful, made me have some idea about SEO and how to do mywebsite next step.

    Thank you so much & God Bless You

  95. I agree with you Jim. Ranking is not always about the quantity of links. I experienced that with my blog. Even if I only have 30 backlinks but my blog is already at the 1st page of Google for searches related to my keywords. Some of the competitor’s backlinks are hundreds and even thousands more than what I have.

  96. Thanks Jim for a great article. I am glad to see that I have the right approach by building quality links to my site instead of going for the more easy quantity and you’re article as given me a few more ideas.

  97. Its really a cool description about the importance of backlinks, especially the way he explained with diagrams. Jim i am agree with you that no one should only go for higher number to backlinks by ignoring the value of the links.

  98. Seems like the best way to get the right links is to develop great content and everything else will run its course.

  99. It is obvious getting valuable backlink is important. How can we spot out valuable dofollow backlinks then?

  100. Thanks,
    I have wondered for some time why with the “number” of links – guess I don’t have to go further. Your post is very enlightening for me and has set my mind to work for certain improvements for my site.

  101. I cannot believe I haven’t told you how much I value this chart you made here – I’ve come back to this easily a dozen times in the past year to show it to colleagues or clients… keep up the great work

    presell page man

  102. Question for Jim:

    I am in a small industry. I have tried using the common links tool to determine the “centers of the industry”. The main problem I am having is that there are no sites that have more than 5 of the top 10 listed, and most of the sites that link to multiple (3) competitors are sites that are still sitting out there, but have nobody at the helm.

    I have tried everything – even phone calls to “retired” webmasters – to get my link in these “dead” sites that are apparently the center of the industry. Many of them have a broken submission form or an invalid email address on them, or I just get no reply. The only other “centers” I can find are directory websites, most of which are pretty shameful to be listed in, or charge some outrageous fee to be listed in.

    One of these “centers” was DMOZ, who apparently doesn not want to list me because I submitted my request 6 months ago and I am still not in there. Some of my competitors have 3 links in there even though they say that is against their TOS. Considering there are NO other PR8 sites that are related to my industry, this seems like a significant place to get listed, but no can do.

    I know it sounds strange, but what should a webmaster do if the centers of the industry are dead, but the industry itself is still alive? In my case, should I be seeking out the “live” sites that none of my competitors have found yet? Will Google consider me irrelevant if I do the work my competitors were too lazy to do? Should I try link exchanging with competitors’ websites since they are really the only “centers” that still have someone maintaining them? Or should I be concentrating on quantity of links to beat out these “dead” listings that they all share?

  103. The first drawing was funny and made my coworker and I laugh but we got the point. It explain why our site up to a page rank of 4 in 2 months after creation and now is sitting at a rank or two.

  104. I think mini network and some relevant backlink are important to SEO more than number of backlink too.

    Thanks for the great article.

  105. Hi everyone. Good article but you can cheat Google by pointing bad links towards competitive sites. One of my friends said that he hated one of those sites that ranked better than his one, in spite of that this site with less links had better PR than his one and he pointed bad links towards this site and lowered the PR of the competitive site. So it seems that Google is not using completely right strategy.

  106. Hey Web Pula,

    not sure what you mean by “lowered PR” but it sounds like your friend put that “competitor site” into massive bad neighborhood, thereby getting their PR removed completely …

    BUT what’s your point pagerank wise?
    did the site rank worse because of this?

    Remember the whole article her does NOT talk about PR, and you should stop thinking and talking about PR as well

    Jim even pointed that out last year already and sent you here

    did you read that one?

    presell page man

  107. There are different ways to work on the seo of our website.
    Either we can get lot of backlinks for our website or we can get quality backlinks. But this can be optimized by getting the right links than the volume.

  108. تحديات العصر والبطاله
    اصبحت البطاله من تحديات العصر للحكومات واصبحت علي قائمه الاجنده الخاصه
    بالحكومات ولكن السؤال الذي يطرح نفسه وبشده هل نسب البطاله حقيقيه ام مجرد ابحاث قام بها مجموعه من الباحثين المهتمين
    بالارقام انا في اعتقادي الشخصي ان مشكله البطاله مشكله عالميه وغير خاصه بالوطن العربي ولكن المشكله في الوطن العربي
    هو عدم توافر اسلوب للحوار بين السوق والعاملين اي انه لا توجد قاعده معلوماتيه توفير للمتخرج
    او الطالب احتاجات السوق من العماله او الدراسات التي لابد ان يلتحق بها ليصبح معد لسوق العمل
    وكذالك الحكومه تفقد المعلومات عن احتياجات السوق فتكون النتيجه تكدس السوق في احد المجالات
    وعدم توافر فر عمل في هذا المجال في الوقت نفسه يفقد السوق عماله في مجالات اخري
    وتصبح عمله نادره ومن المشاكل الاخري ايضا ان تفقد الحكومه احساس الموقع والمتاخ
    فليس من المعقول ان تكون دوله تعتمد علي الصيد وتهتم الحكومه بالخرجين في مجال الزراعه وتدعم الصناعات الزراعيه
    ولذالك يدخل المناخ والموقع كعامل مشترك في دعم سوق العمل والاتمام بالمجالات
    التي تساعد علي النهوض بالبيئه ومن اكبر المشاكل ايضا ان يفقد الاتصال بين الشركات والعاملين فعند توفر فرصه عمل في
    احدي الشركات لايستطيع العامل الحصول عليها وذالك لجهله بعدم وجود فرصه عمل
    “وقل اعملوا فسيرا الله عملكم ورسوله والمومنين”

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