One of the overlooked parts of SEO is coming up with good backlinks. Now any professional search engine optimizer knows very well that you NEED backlinks to get your site up in the listings. But how many realize that exactly which backlinks you choose to use makes a huge difference?
This is where Page Rank comes into play. If you’re trying to rank for a little search engine like, say… Google – you need to consider their rules in the game. Google uses Page Rank to estimate how good a page is. Good for consumers, good for business, good for quality overall. This is done by estimating the amount of traffic the site sees, in addition to the sites that link to this site in question.
The way SEO comes into this equation can be explained through an analogy. Referrals. Say you are looking for a good doctor, to help you get over a nasty infection you got after you got a little overzealous making sushi and cut yourself. If you had no idea where good doctors where, how would you find them? Most people would ask a friend, or a colleague. Someone they trusted. Now if Jim Bob the back alley narcotics dealer mentioned to you this nice doc he knew that had great prices and could slip you a little extra pain relief (wink wink nudge nudge), would you trust him? But if Mr. Oxford, the CEO in charge of the chain of banks in town – if he recommended the doctor he used, one that costs a little extra but is very effective, friendly, and knowledgable – which of the two would you choose?
This is a little like how Google does its Page Rank and how you can excel with SEO. If a site has a backlink from some unrelated page (say, a site about lawnmowers has a link to your dog food page), that just doesn’t make a lot of sense and doesn’t carry much weight. But if you have a link from a well-known source (i.e. Wikipedia) for a related keyword (i.e. DOG FOOD), Google looks at that and says, “Well now. This page has a high quality site linking to it, with a related word. It MUST be high quality, as well.” And then your site jumps in rank.
This is very much like a referral system. If a great source gives good referrals, you learn to trust them. So if your page has good referrals with related keywords, you’ll move up much more quickly in rankings. If your page has bad referrals with random keywords, your rankings may not move much – and in some cases, they may even DECLINE.
So keep this in mind when you’re trying to get some good backlinks for your site. Don’t just go hunting for every single backlink you can get – higher quality ones are worth far more than a huge number of low quality ones.