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How Important is Relevancy for Backlinks?

     
5:44 am on Mar 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I run a PR4 site which sells products. I'm actively targeting two keywords phrases which I have decent positioning for, and I'm looking to raise my Google rankings for them. It's so hard finding sites with relevant content who can link to me (partially because I run an e-commerce site and there aren't a huge amount of sites out there which are on the same topic as my site), and I'm assuming my competition faces these same problems.

The point of this thread is to question just how important site relevancy is in the backlinking process. My site has been on-line for a while, and is fairly established. Would you all say it would be smart to buy links from high-PR non-related sites? I feel like this is all that's left for me to do. I would be fairly picky on choosing quality sites which don't have very many other outgoing links.

Thoughts?

Thanks.

2:12 pm on Mar 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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so there are no more sites that can link to you?
No sites that offer complementary services and a link to your site may help their visitors?
Is the niche of yours so shallow?

Back to topic, I believe it is more about the link profile of a website than about context of the sites that link to you.

8:41 am on Mar 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Relativity of subject is important. If there aren't many sites that you could get a link from, then doesn't this mean the vertical isn't very competitive?

Also, try other alternatives, such as news and media sources. They are seen as neutral because they cover a range of topics. Hope this gets more wheels turning.

9:06 am on Mar 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I believe it is more about the link profile of a website than about context of the sites that link to you.

That's a good point.

What do WebmasterWorld members think about ditching relevance and link location on a page for backlink profiling as a measure of how much a link is worth?

6:49 pm on Mar 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

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idolw knows for sure . It is more about the link profile of the page where you link.

Say I have a japanese blog and I like your site and I link to you. The link is still relevant because I liked your site even though it had nothing to do with mine.

Having relevant links assumes only relevant sites link to each other which it totally not the case.

7:13 pm on Mar 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

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IMO you may need to add to the scope of the site to widen your linkage possibilities rather than simply going down the paid links road.

I'd have thought topicality and link location would all be part of measuring link-worth...

9:18 pm on Mar 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I think relevancy in acquired links is still a factor that carries significant weight, however is less important for older sites than it is for newer sites. I don't think renting higher PR links is a good long term strategy. Take that money and invest it into content creation or site upgrades, both things could generate permanent links that you don't have to pay for each month.

Other ways to find links in your category include:

Look at your category in Yahoo Directory and/or DMOZ and if you can't find more sites that would be logical link partners, you should look at sites in your parent category. These are also good sites to get links from.

For example, if you work with a site that sells hot tubs, there is a category in the Yahoo directory called "Pools, Spas, and Hot Tubs." After going through all of those sites, you can then look at the parent category (Home and Garden) and those would also be relevant sites to get links from. The fact that in both Yahoo Directory and DMOZ the parent child/relationship exists, it's likely the search engines would consider links from those sites topically relevant.

You could also use the 'related:www.site.com' command in Google to find sites that share similar link profiles to the site you enter into the query. This could help find similar sites to those that are authoritative in your niche.

- Dave

12:33 pm on Mar 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I look primarily for three things in a backlink; age, relevancy, and their backlink profile.

Sometimes I'll ignore age. But ignoring relevancy or their backlink profile? That would make me extremely nervous.

I'm not sure how much relevancy plays a part, but I think given my rankings, it's playing a part. In fact, I think relevancy is giving me a huge lead right now, with backlinks that aren't perhaps as numerous or as trusted as my competitors. I appreciate that's speculation, but I don't think it's idle.

Even if relevancy isn't a current factor, you just know it's going to be. This is one of those things I'll continue to bet on as being important. If Google's not using it now, in a couple of years they'll get there. Then when all my competitors take a tank, I'll still be riding the crest. It's worth doing stuff sometimes just because it's right - and then waiting for Google to catch up.

7:27 pm on Mar 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Relevancy doesn't seem to be a factor at all currently, but as wheel suggests you can bet it will be in time.

Once it is, there will be widespread changes in the SERP's I would bet.

7:41 pm on Mar 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Search engines need to decide two main things when they look at a web page:

- What is this page about?
- Is it a good page?

Links that are obviously relevant will create the answer you want for both questions.

It's not necessary for every link to be 100% on topic, but the better your proportion of relevant links, the clearer message you'll be sending to the search engines.

It's worth doing stuff sometimes just because it's right - and then waiting for Google to catch up.

Amen.

7:42 pm on Mar 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I'm not sure how much relevancy plays a part, but I think given my rankings, it's playing a part. In fact, I think relevancy is giving me a huge lead right now, with backlinks that aren't perhaps as numerous or as trusted as my competitors. I appreciate that's speculation, but I don't think it's idle.

Of course, relevant link is better than a non-relevant one.
It is just a matter of figuring out whether it is easier for you to acquire 1000 relevant backlinks or a 100,000 non-relevant links.
Both options work like a charm if the general profile is positive.

5:19 am on Mar 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I think it's a balance of both if the links inventory isn't there in your vertical.

Most competitive verticals have this issue i would expect.

5:42 pm on Mar 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I know of at least two occasions where websites are ranking top 10 in Google.com for competitive keywords, and about 90% of their links are completely unrelated and are about tech-related subjects, where the websites are actually about gifts.

My sense is that Google, at this time, does not have a handle on determining page theme to an extent where it can apply that correctly (and filter) based on the theme of a website.

In this case there are other websites ranking below these websites in the search engines with 5-10 X more quality themed links. However, these websites both have powerful pagerank 7 and 8 links from very trusted websites to their domains.

12:52 am on Mar 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Relevancy drives traffic and position.
Non-relevancy drives position.
Sometimes relevancy out ranks the target site.
 

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