With all of the controversy about link building (to link or not to link), backlink mining, and link metrics, determining whose links are bigger than the others resounds throughout the web much like our schoolyard days, when you would hear kid’s touting “oh yeah, well my dad is stronger than your dad or my brother is bigger than your brother“.
When push comes to shove and you consider what happens when the cage door shuts and two sites duke it out for a position, clearly it is not just about bullying your way to the top of search engines from links alone.
Each day, search engines have the distinct job of playing referee to determine who’s website ranks or tanks and either makes the grade and gets promoted to the top of the SERPs (search engine result pages) or drops like a bad habit based on their link profile. In the beginning (actually in the past 10-13 years) links have played a primary role in SEO.
However, recently search engines have become more adept in observing and unraveling link clusters, content automation based on shingle analysis and assessing relevance between 2, 10 or 10,000 respected sites linking together and just how much real value gets transferred based on the conditions.
The thing about search engines (and search engineers) is, they must constantly evolve to overcome adversity from individuals and programs seeking to exploit loopholes in the system while continuing to produce the most relevant results for end users. In the past year, links and link metrics have fallen under scrutiny as indicators or as the ultimate signature of a website’s place in the equation and how search engines respond to infusion or dissemination of link weight vary.
The bottom line, consistency, quality, time and topical relevance are carrying more of the fundamental signatures that search engines use to assess authority. In addition, engagement time, click through metrics, RSS feed counts and numerous other formula are assessed concurrently to determine which sites get indemnity or isotropic immunity from the search algorithm.
Followed, no-followed, proximity to supporting modifiers, orphaned, one way, reciprocal, you name it, there are more definitions that exist to decipher the currency they carry than ever before.
It’s not about walking soft and carrying a big stick (or backlink) anymore, just stick to the premise of linking to yourself to promote relevance, seeking authority links and scaling content based on a theme and your site will pass rank with flying colors.
The only reason to inadvertently over-optimize ones site and create unnatural linking patterns is if time is not on your side, in which case, your site may not pass the scrutiny of trust rank which is a crucial component to ranking algorithms in their present tense.
In conclusion, it’s not whose links are bigger, but ultimately who has the better ensemble of metrics that carry weight in the algorithm.