How "Reachability" Will Effect Your Future Search Rankings

Elements of a BrandGoogle has recently been granted a new patent that measures the quality and quantity of links that your website content links to. This is yet another consideration when developing your website content.

So Linking to Other Sites is Good?

Well, my answer is (a qualified) YES! In our experience linking out to other sites has always been a good idea if the link makes sense for your content, the link is relevant to the content on your web page, and especially if it's a "follow" link. I can hear you crying out right now... but Roy... what do you mean by a "follow" link? Glad you asked!

What's a "Follow" Link?

Well, let's start off defining a "no-follow" link. According to Wikipedia a "no-follow" link is defined as having an HTML element embedded in the hyperlink that instructs the search engines that the link should not influence the target's ranking in the search engine's index. Here is an example of the HTML for a such a link:

Links HTML No Follow

Notice the "nofollow" reference with our example shown above.

A "do-follow" or "follow" link doesn't contain any reference to the "no follow" tag. As a result, the search engines provide some "link juice" for that link by default. That is, the search engine acknowledges the link and therefore the link has some search engine ranking impact on the target's ranking in the search engine's index. Here is an example of the HTML of a "follow" link:

Links HTML Follow

Don't get me wrong. Having "no-follow" links on your site that point to other websites isn't terrible. It's just that having a "follow" link, in our experience, seems to have just a little more oooomph with the search engines when it comes to linking out to other sites for search engine (SEO) purposes.

Reachability

Getting Back to "Reachability"

With Google's new aforementioned patent the "links out" on your website content now is determined by several factors including:

  • uniqueness, freshness (recency of this content),
  • keywords,
  • social signals (see the Facebook, Tweet, and Google+ icons at the top of this page),
  • author rank (the authority of the person writing content e.g. me for this page)
  • and NOW the quality of resources you link out to.

How "Reachability" Will Effect Your Future Search Rankings

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Good "Out Linking" Strategy Begins Here

You need to be careful what website, blog or online entity you link to. If your link goes to anything "spammy" or is not relevant to your page's content you might have a problem.

And less is more when it comes to reachability, or linking out. Keep your content to a few solid outgoing links the additional resources. A page that has 25 links to affiliate sites isn't likely to get the same positive SEO impact as content with a few quality links that are of a benefit to people reading your content.

Our recommendation: your much better of when you link out to quality targets that are relevant to your content, are sites that have some good "authority", where the content being linked to has some "social interaction".

Roy McClean
Dec 18, 2012
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