There’s few things worse than spending hours crafting the perfect post, then finding a great place to put it (with a link back to your site), only to find out that the coveted Page Rank 6 backlink you so dearly wanted pointing at your site is about as worthless as a no follow link from a porn site or some other insignificant website.
Most web developers understand the basics of search engine optimization (SEO) backlinks – get enough links back to your website using a specific anchor text, and you should start to begin ranking well for that anchor text. However, it’s not that easy.
If it was, the Internet would be nothing but spam content written by a legion of willing but sadly incapable writers from across the world. So what kinds of links don’t bring reputation to your site? What can you look for to make sure that your efforts are seldom in vain?
The Link Is a No Follow
If you don’t know what to look for, this one can be tricky. In general, the easier a link is to get, the more likely it’s a no follow link. These links are common in:
- blog comments
- forum posts
- affiliate links
- community sites (YouTube, social media)
The problem with the “rel=nofollow” attribute is that it’s not readily apparent, but it is one of the easier “no reputation” links to find. In most browsers, you can right click anywhere on a webpage and choose “View Page Source” from the options menu. If you can find the link in question, check the code to see if “rel=nofollow” is in the link html. The following are two links, one is nofollow while the other is normal. Check the page source to find the one that will pass reputation:
- One of the best ways to become an expert in content writing is to read the Content Customs blog.
- Reading the Content Customs blog can help you be more competitive in the writing world.
The Link is Coming From a Webpage That’s Not Indexed
While links don’t technically get “indexed,” a link will not pass reputation until it’s home is indexed by Google (or any other search engine that you’re targeting). This is common on lower traffic or reputation blogs, or new sites that are still stuck in the sandbox.
One of the quickest ways to find out if a webpage has been indexed is to copy and paste the URL into Google.com and see if the exact URL comes up in the search results. It will always be the first result (as only one can exist) If not, the page hasn’t been indexed yet. If you subscribe to a forum that includes password protection, the webmaster has set that part of the site to not get indexed (forgetting to do so can be a disaster). If you search any URL within the password protected part of the site, it shouldn’t come up in the search results, because it’s set to not get indexed by Google.
If you have been waiting for a while for a link to get indexed, try building one or two links to that page, preferably from a news site that gets indexed very quickly (even a no-follow works). This helps the crawlers “notice” the linked page faster and index the link.
A Link is Redirected
This is a relatively new technique, primarily used on powerful sites to avoid passing link reputation, but freely allowing visitors to link as they wish. But there are two major types of redirects – one which passes reputation and one that doesn’t.
Spotting a redirect is easy. If, when you click a link, it goes through any page other than the linked one, it’s been redirected. Think of sites that have a warning page like “Warning: You are visiting a page outside of website.com.”
Spotting a different kind of redirect (either 301 or 302) is a little bit more difficult. You can use a server header checker to view any link and see what type of redirect it is. There is a Firefox extension you can use to check called Live HTTP Headers. Alternatively, you can use the browser based application at SEO Consultants.
While 302 redirects do not pass link reputation, 301 redirects are fine.
We hear a lot of talk about the sandbox effect, that Google hates anyone without AdSense, and just plain unfair treatment of new websites, but trouble ranking in search engines often comes down to fine details that are very easy to miss. Provide high quality content, and do everything you can to attract (or obtain) one way, high quality links and your website will begin to rank eventually.
Throw together poor content, and get the easiest links possible, and you won’t succeed, or your success (with some exceptions) will be temporary at best. But do watch out for the little technical details, like link html, that can cause your efforts to fall short of your goals.