Two of the primary ranking factors that search engines look at to consider where a particular page should be ranked are the quality and quantity of links that point to a particular page. In fact, back link analysis is the basis for which Google filed its original patent to provide better search results than its competitors.
You used to be able to rank well by just stuffing a bunch of keywords onto a page. Then you stuffed your whole website full of these keyword stuffed pages. Now things are different. You have to provide highly relevant content for the phrase you want to rank for. Then you also need to go about acquiring the right kinds of links that point back to your pages so that Google will push your page higher in the results.
Ever since Google has been around, backlinks have been important. The Google founders discovered that the more important a document was, the more likely it was to have links pointing to it from other documents on the internet. Therefore, they reasoned that you could return much better search results by counting the number of backlinks a document had pointing to it.
As a result of that discovery and that fact that one of the guy’s names was Larry Page, they created the term PageRank. Google PageRank is a way of mathematically expressing how likely it would be for a random surfer to land on any given page based on how all of the documents in a hypertext linked index were linked to one another. The more likely a searcher was to come across a certain document, the higher its PageRank would be. By having more links to your pages or links from pages that had lots of links themselves, you are more likely to have your pages visited. Therefore you would have higher PageRank.
Google used PageRank along with a documents’ word structure to determine which page would be the most relevant one for any given search phrase or search keyword. This is the very basis for how Google works at its core. Of course, things have evolved way beyond that by now.
Now, Google looks at a large number of factors to assign authority to certain types of links based on many factors. They look at things like how many other links are on a page, how much PageRank that page has, what words are used to link out to the other page, where the link is located within the content of the page, whether or not the link should be trusted as well as a number of other factors. If it weren’t for all of these other factors, you would not need an expert to promote your site. You could just publish articles like crazy and get good ranking.
Things are different now though. You can’t just publish articles. You have got to understand how Google determines a link’s value. Then go after the really good links. You may not be able to get the absolute best ones. Google knows this. This is why they assign the most value to the ones that are really hard to get. That helps to assure that the links aren’t manipulated as much.
Business owners who don’t know better think that a link is a link. I can tell you it most certainly is not. There are good links and there are worthless links. If you are getting a bunch of links from spam sites, you could be shooting yourself in the foot. Be careful when hiring SEO firms and web promotion companies. You want to make sure you get clean links and higher value links. You also want the links to appear gradually over a period of time. If they come all at once, the search engines will realize that you are trying to game the system.
Google and the other search engines have gotten really good at filtering spam. They have devalued the links from spam sites an awful lot. Now, if the spammers aren’t careful, they end up hurting a page’s ranking rather than helping it.
Links are vitally important for ranking. This trend is unlikely to stop anytime soon. If you don’t understand how to judge the quality of a link, then you might want to consider outsourcing some of your website promotional work to people like us. Learning where and how to get valuable links takes quite a while and some determined effort. It is not something you are bound to be very good at otherwise.