To comprehend properly how links work and how search engines read them, you first need to understand all the different parts of a hyperlink - and what function they play.
There are four main parts:
- Anchor tag: This is the part of your link that opens your link tag and lets search engines know a link is included.
- Href: Href is short for hyperlink referral and is the text inside the quote marks that shows where your URL is pointed to. It basically tells your browser where it needs to head to, whether that’s a web page, image, or a file.
- Anchor text: This is the visible text that people click on when they open your link. It’s often formatted differently from the rest of the text surrounding it, typically with an underline or blue colour to show it has been clickable.
- Tag closure: This one’s pretty straightforward, it’s the part of your link that lets the search engines know it’s now the end of your tag.
Your focus should be on acquiring links that will have a positive impact on your Google rank, and often the best kinds of links are the ones you never even asked for. You get these types of links by consistently creating something of quality, whether that’s informative content, a unique website, or a really great product or service. When you do this regularly, people notice - and they naturally want to link to you. Though you should always be trying to achieve these kinds of organic links, you shouldn’t sit around waiting for people to link to your site. Instead, actively help to raise more awareness of your brand and content by using a link building strategy that boosts your Google rankings.
While not all Google ranking factors are known, there are many which most experts agree have a definite impact on your search position. We’re about to reveal the most important Google ranking factors you need to be aware of when it comes to link building.
- Page Authority: Google’s algorithm automatically assesses the page authority of sites that display your link, and this has a massive impact on your page ranking. If your link is on a page that Google sees as high authority, you’ll receive a bigger boost than you would if it were on a site that Google didn’t rate so much. Even if you were to have 20 links on sites that Google didn’t rate so highly, but only one on a site Google trusted, you’d get a bigger benefit from having one link on a high authority site. Sites that Google ranks highly pass their Page Authority to your own site and this can be handy when deciding who to approach to ask for a link. You can easily check Page Ranking indicators by entering the address of the page you want to check into Ahrefs URL Rating. Keywords everywhere is a handy and easy to use browser extension you can install to Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox . It will automatically show you the domain authority, number of referring domains, the number of referring links, as well as spam score.
- Site Authority: Google also assesses link quality by looking at the domain authority of the site where your link appears. A well-known, high-trust site like CNN will help your Google ranking more than a link from an unknown start-up.Focus your link building strategy around trying to score links on sites with a high domain authority. Use the Ahref’s Domain Rating tool to check Domain ranking, by entering any page address from the site you want to check out or use Moz’s Domain Authority.
- Site Relevancy: Site relevance is another key Google ranking factor that you need to consider when trying to build links. Even if you score a link on a site with high Page and Site Authority if the site isn’t relevant to your link, it won’t count for much. It’s not much good getting linked to by a website that sells rollerblades, if you’re selling pet food, at least not anymore. Now you need to make sure the site your link is on is related to your site theme, products, or your content. This is so important, ex-employees of Google have even stated it on the record saying that today, site relevancy is every bit as important as Page Rank.
- Link position: Okay, so you know you need to be trying to get links on sites with a high Page and Domain authority that are also relevant, but did you know where your link is displayed on the page also has an impact? If your link is hidden away at the bottom of the page it’s not going to be as helpful to your Google Rankings, as it would if it were embedded into the main body content of a page.
Editorial placement is another ranking factor it’s thought Google considers, and they’ve even said as much. According to Google, links that aren’t editorially placed don’t score as highly as links that are. Google calls links you’ve placed unnatural links, while links that are either placed or can be vouched for by the webmaster where the link appears are known as editorially placed. If someone else has linked to you, Google sees that as good. But if you placed your link there, that’s not considered an editorial link, and Google won’t score you as highly for it.
Visible Anchor Text: Did you know your anchor text is also a Google running factor and that it’s important your anchor text reflects the page you’re linking to? Anchor text is the visible part of your link, and it is what people click on when they go to visit your website. If your anchor text says banana smoothies but the page you link to is about sneakers, that’s not good. Why? If Google crawls your link, it will assume your page is about the topic mentioned in your anchor text, so make sure the two are related. Because keyword-rich anchor text has been overdone, you don’t want to tuff a ton of it in your body copy, or else Google will penalise you. But if you do need to place a link in your content, or if someone asks to link to you in theirs, make sure your anchor text matches the site your link points to.