A man is walking down a beach one day looking at the sea shore and also at the other side of the bay where he has to drive to work every day and also thinking about how long it takes him to drive to work and back every day and suddenly spies a bottle half submerged in the sand and his gives the bottle a kick.
There is suddenly a loud explosion followed by lots of smoke and a Genie appears looking very unhappy;
“What’s your problem mate? I’ve been asleep for thousands of years and you have to go and wake me up like that but as I’m here I have to follow tradition and give you a wish. Your wish is my command master?”
The man ponders on this and then comes up with an idea.
“I’d like you to build me a bridge joining this side of the bay to my place of work thirty miles away across the bay?”
The Genie looks at him incredulously and replies “Are you serious? Do you know how much steel and concrete that would require? The man hours, the materials, the environmental impact. Totally impossible but as this is not the answer you were looking for or expecting I’ll grant you one more wish?”
Now prior to going out for a walk that day the man had been spending some time at home on his PC trying to find a present for his wife using Google as a Search Engine with no luck and he thought:
“OK, I’d like you to tell me exactly how Google works and how they rank items as I couldn’t find a suitable present for my wife today”
The Genie looks at him slightly puzzled and then puts his arm round the man and starts to walk him down the beach and replies:
“Now tell me about this bridge you want me to build? Do you want one lane there and back or two….”
Such is life with Google at present but the one thing that is starting to appear as a constant is that Google is looking for quality content and also links from sites with authority and trust. This it would appear is almost more important than Page Rank. In fact it would appear that the much vaunted but never fully implemented concept of Trust Rank might at last be appearing again. Now this also touches upon another one of the supposedly “Sacred Cows” of the Internet – the “Nofollow Link”
Now to understand this fully you have to take a slightly more “holistic” view towards Link building and this was best described recently by a quote I found on another site recently:
“A link is not just about PageRank anymore, but trust and brand awareness. In fact, even though search engines do not carry PR through the no followed link to your site, they record it and they take notice that your site has been cited in a site. If that site is an authoritative one or a trusted seed, somehow its aura will reflect on your own web site, which will gain trust and relevance to the eyes of the search engines, therefore better rankings.”
Now taking this further, of the many important factors surrounding Links (and Google reputedly calculate up to 200 different factors in their current algorithm) the following three factors I think are of tremendous importance:
1. There is More Than Link Juice That Determine Link Value
Going on the assumption that nofollow links don’t pass much link juice, they still pass relevance. Just because Google doesn’t “count” the link, doesn’t mean that they don’t see what anchor text is being used. The anchor text is still showing the search engines what your site is about and is passing relevancy.
2. Some NoFollowed Links Are Very Trust-worthy
I (and others) also believe that nofollow links pass trust. If you have a link on Wikipedia or a major Academic Establishment for example, do you really believe that the search engines won’t pay attention to that link? If you can get links on highly trusted domains, whether they are nofollow or not, they will be taken into consideration by the search engines.
3. Keep It Real (and Natural)
Lastly, if you’re building incoming links to your site and almost all of them are dofollow links, your link profile is going to look very unnatural. A natural link profile will have nofollow links, dofollow links, different domains (.info., org, .com, etc.) and various types of anchor text (brand name, url only, keywords, “click here”, etc). This is how a link profile should look and this is how you build a trusted domain.
To support this hypothesis I came across the following Blog Post from quite an eminent SEO Practitioner recently and it rather interestingly supports this theory:
There are more recent blog posts and discussions but I thought this post from late 2010 was still fairly relevant but now more so with the antics of our big Panda shaped friend.
So I believe that the upshot of all of this is that if you can get a link or series of links from a fairly trustworthy source then it is going to do wonders for your Link Building. Link Building should not all be about how you can gerrymander a profile using just tightly focussed terms and only DoFollow links but other aspects as well.
Get some links from some trustworthy sources regardless of the attribute and you’ll be surprised at what they can do.