I have been prompted to write on a subject that I have touched on before concerning links from pages with no PageRank or zero PageRank. A friend and client of mine was told recently that inbound links to your site from other pages with no PageRank, can harm your site in the search engines.
OK, the short answer to this, is that it is absolute nonsense, however I want to take sometime in this post explaining what makes a good link and how important a role PageRank plays in search engine optimisation.
Before we go through “what makes a good link” let me give you a bit of evidence with regards to the “PR0 links can damage” theory.
Let’s take a look at a site in my own niche, Ben Norman. Ben is an SEO Consultant in the UK and ranks No.1 for the keyword “seo consultant” in the UK, which is a pretty competitive key phrase. Working on the theory that PR0 links can damage sites, it would be safe to presume that Ben doesn’t have many, ranking for keywords of that caliber? Let’s see.
Right to start things off you should note that there are around 1700 inbound links to Ben’s Home Page. How many pass PageRank??
What your looking at in the above picture is 11 inbound links out of 1700 that pass PageRank. There are a few PR5′s and 6′s but these are no follow or blocked by robots.txt.
So wait on a second that means there must be 1600+ links coming in from PR0 pages or even pages that have had no pagerank assigned? So how is he ranking so highly? Why has his site not been harmed?
Because links from PR0 pages do not harm you site, they will not reduce the ranking of your site, all they will do, or should I say will not do, is pass on PageRank, that’s it.
So should we all just go out there and build lot’s of low PageRank links?? Well no.
I want to make it my mission on this blog to take people away from the mindset that PageRank = High Rankings, this is not true.
I am now going to go through Ben’s links to show you the factors that really matter and it links back to all the post’s I have issued on what I call “the line of relevance”.
Let’s look at some of Ben’s links in a little more detail.
The below image shows exactly why Ben’s Links help him to rank highly for the key phrase “seo consultant”.
As you can see the reason Ben has quality links and hence ranks highly, is due to an optimised anchor text, optimised off page content and an optimised off page title tag. Let’s run through these quickly.
Not sure how many times I have mentioned this but I’ll keep ranting as it is a powerful optimisation strategy. If you have a link and that link is anchored with your main targeted keyword then it is going to carry ranking weight. You are telling Google exactly what your site is about before it even accesses your page!!! In my opinion when it comes to linking this is the most powerful element.
one piece of adviceDon’t anchor thousands of links with the exact same key phrase, especially if it does not naturally fit your page. Try to use different variations that use the words your looking for. ie. “google seo consultant”, “professional seo consultant”, “seo services”, “google consultant” etc……. You get what I mean.
Off Page Optimisation
This simply relates to the page your link is coming from. Is your keyword included in the:-
If we look at Ben’s site 96.5% of his links come from pages with “seo” in the content and 36.1% have it in the title tag!! Ultra relevant. On top of this 42.2% of his links have the word “seo” in the anchor. Are you beginning to understand exactly how sites rank??
This is the major reason people rank, relevance. If your links and corresponding content is relevant, you are on the right tracks.
Let’s not forget PageRank
Ok PageRank does play a role albeit a small one in comparison to the above relevancy factors. PageRank assists your trust factor and your trust factor assists your rankings. If your site has good trust and is optimised using the above relevancy methods, there’s a good chance you will be ranking highly.
If I was to put a percentage on the value of the different link elements, it would look like this:-
- Anchor text = 50%
- Off Page Content = 30%
- Page Rank = 20%
This is just a bit of guess work and the figures are far from accurate but it spells out what I want to say, anchor text and off page relevance are the key components to high keyword rankings.
(Ben I hope you don’t mind me using your site as an example)
Thanks to Jason at asmartbear for prompting me to write on this. Please try and get this out there guys as I know a lot of people have the wrong idea about the purpose and effect of PageRank.
Author: Tim (294 Articles)
Tim Grice is the owner and editor of SEO wizz and has been involved in the search engine marketing industry for over 7 years. He has worked with multiple businesses across many verticals, creating and implementing search marketing strategies for companies in the UK, US and across Europe. Tim is also the Head of Search at Branded3, an SEO agency in Leeds.