Link weight and link-flow are the most critical on page elements after you (1) map out which keywords you’re targeting (2) mirror the relevance hierarchy through the site architecture through the respective pillars (landing pages) and supporting articles and (3) initiate the citation process via internal linking and off page inbound links.
However, before you initiate any type of off page SEO (building inbound links); make sure that you aren’t building your internal links by relying on minimal navigational links alone.
If you fail to map out your on page elements, it’s the equivalent of trying to fill a leaky bucket full of water to no avail. No matter how much water you pour into it, the bigger the puddle on the floor. In essence, the container becomes null (regardless of the volume being poured into it).
This is often the case with most SEO practitioners who fall into the vicious cycle of relying heavily on off page ranking factor (links) to perform the heavy lifting and overlook the on page SEO finesse required to create the proper balance.
Like the analogy above, within your website, the premise of link-weight and link-flow similar to the bucket.
The second layer to this quandary is the volume of outbound links on a page (even if they are to other internal pages) should be balanced by a fair text to link ratio in addition to inbound links from other internal and external pages.
For example, a page with 10 outbound links is 10 times stronger than a page with 100 outbound / internal links. Which would you rather have boosting your internal pages? More on that later…
During the interim, feel free to peruse related posts on the topic below:
- Understanding Link Volume Velocity and Diversity
- Balancing Link Velocity and Link Volume
- Google Website Analysis – Live Site Review
Does a link count on the page more than once?
Yes, a link does count on the page more than once and there is a distinct difference between the amount of link-flow from a link in the navigation, footer or sidebar, an image based “alt attribute link” and a contextual link “a text link linked amidst supporting semantically related keywords”.
Fortunately for advanced SEO’s who map link flow and shingles as part of the on page SEO process, there are tools like SEOEngine that (1) crawl, analyze and provide invaluable feedback on the link-flow percentages of each page in your website (2) whether or not the shingles (groups of words) are aligned with the market focus (the purpose of the page) as well as (3) how many inbound and / or external links are present or (4) whether or not the market focus is supported by sufficient link-flow – in addition to dozens of other critical metrics; and then translates it into a 1 out of 100 scoring system.
If you’re curious about your on page SEO score (on a scale of 1-100), enter your domain name in the SEOEngine toolbar above for a behind the scenes look from the eyes of a search engine.
What About First Link Priority?
The notion behind this theory was that the first crawled link was the only one that mattered if you had more than one link to a target landing page (with the same or multiple anchors). My response…
Yes, there is a scoring system that search engines utilize to sort, sift and assign weight in the eigenvector, despite the first link priority suggestion made popular years ago from Leslie Rohde (whom I have the utmost respect for). Despite the theory, yes, more than one link on the page passes weight and ranking factor, even if those links are to the same destination page and have the same anchor text.
Aside from search engine metrics always changing, I can assure you that search engines weight different areas of the page with different integer values (such as the body area and contextual links carrying more weight than footer or links in the sidebar).
Not to say that each type of link does not have its place for conversion cues and visual appeal, some more so than others, but you should understand what type of inbound anchor text link flow is required to rank for more competitive keywords.
One algorithm that pays particular attention to page layout dubbed VIPS which is a Vision-Based Page Segmentation Algorithm dating back to 2003. This algorithm uses a top down approach and can intelligently decipher relevance based on visual blocks and degrees of coherence.
Let’s just say, things have evolved since then, but layout, positioning, proximity and where content and or links matters based on position on the page to a search engine. The SEOEngine does an excellent job of this as well when scoring link-flow within a website based on link type, location, and multivariate shingle analysis in addition to anchor text.
Link Value Trumps Link Volume
Sometimes it’s not about the volume of links as much as it is about the efficiency of the website and its propensity to leverage on page link flow properly. Combine this with website silo architecture and a powerful collection of strong, topical backlinks to your silo landing pages and you have a trifecta that makes Wikipedia, Amazon and Fortune 500 companies a ripple in your wake as you devour the top 10 positions on your way to the top.
We do with a few hundred links what most do with thousands. Rankings are driven from understanding (a) the proper amount of shingles, internal links and deep links, backed by (b) the amount of trust and authority developed as a byproduct, percolation and time to achieve the authority set in Google (the page in which all other less perfect pages deemed by the algorithm) are measured.
By chipping away with semantically aligned topical nodes of content, supporting synonyms and blanketing the relevance landscape, your websites base expands and the process of keyword stemming is no longer a theory, but a byproduct of tactful content development aligned with on page and off page citation (via internal links)and syndication (validation from citation from off page sources).
To keep the post from spilling over into a 4000 word whitepaper, we can continue the conversation at a later date. I plan to create a video to follow up and showcase how (with the proper understanding) you can map and / or correct link-flow imbalance within a website particularly when mapping out shingles for on page content and internal links, in addition to deep links to create a ranking juggernaut.
Link-flow is the lifeblood of your website. Once mastered, you will think before you link and understand how each page, each word and each type of link within a website works cohesively to achieve a common goal.
In the meantime, we hope you enjoyed our SEO tips and tactics to distinguish your website in search engines from the SEO Design Solutions Blog.