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New Linking Strategy for Google
by Jerry West
Release Date: May 9, 2003
Updated: November 16, 2007
Over the years the "Google Dance" would stress Webmasters beyond belief. Backward links would disappear. PageRank would drop. Many thought the end was near.
During one update back in 2003, Yahoo! lost 300,000 links, Apple went from 88,000 to just 19,000, and Google itself lost 50,000 links.
Google aggressively modifies their PageRank formula and how it handles internal links from the same domain. While PageRank is still a formula that grades each individual page, many sites use internal linking structures improperly, attempting to inflate their PageRank to certain pages - thus manipulating the process.
When manipulation occurs, Google makes a change.
This document will cover the proper method of obtaining links, how to display your links page, and how to ensure your linking structure is "e;Google Approved".
When it comes to obtaining links, I strongly recommend that you not use programs like Zeus or anything similar. Any automated software is not going to get you the results you want and often, the link exchanges you produce are of low quality. You've received the requests before ... you know the email was generated through automation and they never visited your site.
We recommend a "hands on approach" that is aimed at going after your competitors very aggressively.
Pieces of this formula have been around for years, however, how all of this comes together has not. Based on test results from our test server, this will give your site the best chance of success with Google. Best of all, this strategy is fully Google compliant.
Since Google is discounting internal links from counting in their PageRank formula, many sites have seen at least half of their backlinks removed. This will adversely affect their overall PageRank score.
How is PageRank computed?
Simply, Google has a scoring system, based on point value. The more points you have, the higher your PageRank. This is why linking to quality sites is vital. Here is a snapshot of the values. We included only the median value to make computations easier.
How to use the chart above:
When determining if a site is worthy to link to, simply go to the page where your site will be listed, take the PageRank on that page, and add up all the external links and add one (your site). Then you take the median score of the page's PageRank and divide the result by the number of links. This is the approximate score your site would be boosted by a link from this page.
For example, if I was offered a link exchange, and the page was rated a 5/10 PageRank with 18 external links, I would take the median figure of 1,864.5 and I would divide it by 19 (since my link would make the number 19 instead of 18).
1864.5/19 = 98
My site would receive an approximate boost of 98 points with this link. The average link score is 168, so this link is below average. Keep in mind that the low threshold of a PageRank of 6/10 is over 4,500 points; it would take more than 400 of these links to achieve that level. That's a lot of links.
This information will greatly assist you in knowing not just what sites are worth your while to link to, but what category to submit your site to in order to get the best PageRank boost possible.
Now, going back to the discussion on linking structure. Since your internal pages can no longer be relied on to boost your PageRank value by 50%, you will need to turn to outside sources. The negative on relying on outside sources is the lack of control. This method will allow you to still have full control of anchor text, linking structure, and which pages link where.
You are probably very familiar with the concept of multi-sites, which have been called mini-sites, micro-sites, junior sites, etc. However, while those concepts are very good at generating traffic, they are not built with the PageRank formula in mind. We refer to this strategy as PR sites because of this.
I would highly recommend starting with 3-5 PR sites at first, not including your main site, or hub site. You will split your "hub site" into 3-5 different categories. When creating the proper link campaign each site would be created as its own separate entity and the content would be such that the site could stand on its own without a need of support from any other source. Each site needs to be at least five pages in size and the content needs to be both compelling and quality.
Note: Not only are these sites designed to increase your link popularity, but also their first purpose is to increase your revenue. Always remember that. Often we get so caught up in our PageRank, link popularity, and search engine ranking that we lose site on the ultimate goal - revenue.
Once your sites are developed, here is how you will link them together to get the biggest pull from PageRank as you can, while at the same time, allowing your sites to be on "islands" as needed.
So we can keep track of each PR site, here is the breakdown:
(1) = Hub sites
(2) = Ecommerce solutions
(3) = Web programming
(4) = Web marketing
(5) = Domain registration
(6) = Web hosting
Picture if you will, the PR sites surrounding the hub site in a circle. This will help as we go through this process.
Since the hub site has a solid schedule of getting spidered by GoogleBot every 4-6 days, we know that a simple link to site #2 (eCommerce solutions) will allow for that site to be spidered completely. To get site #3 spidered, a single link is placed on site #2, and so forth, all the way to site #6. Linking back to the hub site, site #1, not site #2, completes this circle. This is vital so GoogleBot can hit all the sites.
By linking the sites in this manner, PageRank will flow evenly throughout all the sites and then back to the hub site. This will "close the loop" and allow for the PR sites to be spidered about every week. As more content is added, this will prove to be beneficial.
Over the next three months, you should be developing the link popularity for each of the PR sites as standalone sites. After three months, you should have about 25 incoming links to each PR sites from link exchanges, directory listings, and other postings.
After three Google Updates, Google should start to show backlinks for each PR site. Once the PR site has a PageRank of 4, you will refer customers directly to your hub site through a link. You will deep link throughout the hub site on your various pages on your PR site.
This is how you will boost your PageRank throughout your hub site. By linking to multiple pages, and using your keywords in your anchor text and ensuring that each link carries at least a 160-point value (maximum of two outbound links per page with a PageRank of 4/10).
These PR sites will then give your site more PageRank point value than the internal links did before. You control the sites, the content, the anchor text, and the text is compelling, directing the visitor to buy your products/services. The key here, is that you control the anchor text. This is what will allow you to beat out your competitors for highly competitive keyword phrases over time.
Here is a general summary of how this process works:
- Focus on 15 - 20 keyword phrases per PR site.
- Have 8 - 10 pages of content per PR site.
- Interlink the pages within each PR site.
- Ensure you have quality content on each page.
- Your keyword density should be in the 1 - 2% range.
- Each PR site should have its own link popularity.
- The title tags should only have the focus keyword.
- In the internal linking structure, use Anchor Text.
- Use heading tags at the top of the page.
- Each page should be over 10k (not including graphics).
- Place the Google Search on the Home Page.
- Link Site #1 to #2, #2 to #3, #3 to #4, #4 to #5, #5 to #6 and #6 to #1.
We will update this document as more information becomes available through our testing.
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Jerry West is the Director of Internet Marketing for WebMarketingNow. He has been consulting on the web since 1996 and has assisted hundreds of companies gain an upper-hand over their competition. Visit Web Marketing Now for the latest in marketing tips that are tested and proven.