Link-building & Link Popularity

internet-linksAnother common question from small business owners is where they should try to get links from in order to help with their optimisation efforts. There are a range of possibilities but probably the first thing to understand is that not all links are equal.

As a general rule, links from pages that have some pagerank themselves and which are not tagged as noFollow are the sorts of links we are after.

We also want those links to include our keywords in the anchor text (clickable text) of the link, so if we are looking for a link from somebody’s site to our page about blue widgets, the clickable text on the the linking page would ideally read ‘blue widgets’ or ‘Sally’s blue widgets’  or something similar.

Now leaving aside the issues of pagerank and the noFollow attribute we might think of the following as a loose ranking of the types of links from best to worst. As a general observation, the harder it is to get the link the better the link tends to be!


  • Links from websites already ranking well for the target keywords, particularly if they are of high pagerank.
  • Links from related industry sites, this could be competitors in other cities or countries, suppliers, industry associations or manufacturers of the products you sell. Industry specific directories and resource sites can be very helpful.
  • Links from big trusted sites like the various news organisations. While they are not directly related to your website, they are themselves well linked to and carry a high degree of trustrank. Even if there is no obvious topic relationship between sites, a link from a site with good PR can still be helpful in boosting your own pagerank.
  • Links from other trusted sites, for example the resource pages of university and college websites, websites for local chambers of commerce and the like.
  • Links from unrelated sites can sometimes help if there is a broad similarity or tenuous relationship between the topics. For example a site about hunting can benefit from links from sites about camping or binoculars.
  • Blog Posts links are great to get if they are from related blogs. This might be received through a review of your site or products by the blogger. You can also get links if you can write as a guest poster for the blog. Bloggers are always on the lookout for good content so if you can contribute an article you can claim a link to your site as reward.
  • Socially generated media and article submission sites can still be useful though not nearly as much as in the past. Performance varies enormously from site to site but I see good links from,,,,, and some others all the time. Getting some links to those articles will help improve their juice, even if those links are from social bookmarks and other article sites.
  • Links from blog comments are not usually as powerful as those from blog posts as most are noFollow now but there are some good blogs out there that allow follow links for regular commenters.
  • Some general directories are useful, DMOZ if you can get listed there, Yahoo if you can afford it. Other than that, the best directories would be those that appear in the search results for searches related to your business, if any.
  • Entries in directories like Hotfrog and Searchlocal can also help with getting into the local map for localised searches if you have a Google Local Business Centre account.
  • Placing links in your signature at relevant forums can help a little if they are not tagged as noFollow. Some forums allow followed links only after you prove yourself to be a regular contributor.
  • Reciprocal links on link pages – just about useless in my opinion. A link from within the content of another website is good and its ok to have a few reciprocal links in that manner but avoid having lots of two way links!