profile of the site containing the web page being evaluated, and the link profile of that page itself.In principle, each link to a web page is seen as a vote for that web page. In simple terms,if there are two pages that are equally relevant to a given search query, the page with the better inbound link profile will rank higher than the other page. However, the world doesnot reward those who sit back and wait for links to come to them. As outlined above, it isincumbent on the site publisher to go out and tell the world about their site and get peopleto link to it. Publishers who do not pursue link building are quite likely to be at high risk of losing their search engine traffic, or never building up their web sites to the pointwhere the traffic they are getting meets their goals.A related concept to think about is whether or not the link is something that will help thesite with its rankings for the long term. To illustrate, there are types of links that publishers can obtain to their sites that are against the search engine's terms of service.For example, Google has taken a strong stance against the practice of buying links for the purposes of influencing rankings on the Google index. Yet many people still purchaselinks and it can and does work for many of them, at least in the short term.However, as Google actively invests time in finding paid links (and other link schemesthey deem to be against their terms of service), even if the links work in the short term for the publisher, there is no guarantee that they will work in the long term. This leads to achoice that every publisher must make: whether to pursue short term strategies, such as buying links, that may bring faster results with less effort, or to pursue longer termstrategies that have much lower risk.
How Search Engines Evaluate Links
The notion of using links as a way of measuring a site’s importance was first made popular by Google, with the implementation of their PageRank algorithm. In simpleterms, each link to a web page is a vote for that page. However, votes do not have equalweight. A detailed explanation of how PageRank works can be foundhere.Sticking to the letter of the original PageRank algorithm (which has evolvedsignificantly), a site with higher PageRank will have a more valuable vote. To somedegree this is still true. However, it has gotten more complicated by the introduction of 2new factors:
If the link comes from a site that is on the same topic as the publisher’s site(or a closely related topic), that link is worth more than a links that comes from a sitewith an unrelated topic. Taken to its extreme, think of the relevance of each link beingevaluated in the specific context of the search query just entered by the user. If the user enters “used cars in Phoenix” and the publisher has a link to your Phoenix used cars pagethat is from the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, that link will reinforce the searchengine’s belief that the page really does relate to Phoenix.