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The Importance of Quality Backlinks

Quality backlinks, "quality" being the operative word here, IS more important to Google than they've ever been. That's because Google's Panda update has been part of the North American Internet scene for more than eight months. Clever marketers are carefully making deals with smart webmasters offering up quality articles that include a couple of backlinks to their website. These backlinks also include cleverly crafted anchor text.

I have been teaching SEO and anchor text strategies for over a decade. I have found for many students it's a difficult concept to grasp. I found that the backlinking jargon is the main culprit. If you have troubles in this area or are new to the subject I'll try to provide clarity. First, bear with me while I tell you a quick anecdote.

A Quick Way to Kill Your Rankings

I recently was called by someone in the SEO field asking if I could help him guide one of his clients in the right direction. His client's page had plummeted from page 3 to page 30 and the poor guy was scratching his head and trying to figure out where he had gone wrong.

It quickly came out that what he was doing was writing articles, using software to "distribute" the articles to a hundred plus articles directories, creating over a hundred of backlinks. Unfortunately, this marketer was also using the same anchor text, letter for letter, in every single one of those articles.

This guy's problem was obvious. First of all, Google could see the site from which the backlinks were coming and that it was of little or no value.

What was worse was that this man was not varying his anchor text one iota. If his anchor text was "Drupal content management system," Google was seeing that exact keyword phrase over and over again linking back to the same page.

It's highly unlikely that a hundred webmasters just decided to the exact same keyword phrase to link back to a site. Because it's so unlikely, Google can see that the site is nothing more than a source of links, which means that it shows no referral and no vote of confidence. Due to these problems, Google does not see these links as valuable and the page dropped rapidly in the rankings.

So What is Anchor Text?

There's nothing mystical about anchor text. It's a keyword, or phrase, that you've hyperlinked back to a page on your website. It's the little blue link. The ranking of your page in search results is directly related to the keyword phrase you use.

Suppose you're promoting free auto-insurance quotes. Of course, you'll be hoping that your page will appear high in search results so you'll have a long list of keyword phrases linking back to your page:

  • auto insurance quote
  • auto insurance quotes
  • auto insurance quotes comparison
  • cheap auto insurance quote
  • cheap auto insurance quotes
  • free auto insurance quote
  • free auto insurance quotes
  • online auto insurance quote
  • auto insurance quotes online
  • online auto insurance quotes
  • compare auto insurance quote
  • compare auto insurance quotes
  • free online auto insurance quote
  • free online auto insurance quotes

You'll have a page on your website which is promoting free car-insurance quotes. You also have a backlink form 15-20 great sites, each of which uses only one of the keyword phrases in the list as anchor text. google will now be seeing each of these backlinks as a "vote of confidence" from 15-20 different webmasters.

But even better, Google looks at each single word that you used as anchor text to figure out what your page is all about and then as to where it should be listed in search results.

Ranking pages - how many backlinks do I need?

That all depends. The number of backlinks you need depends on the quality of your backlinks and the levels of competition.

But, if you're talking about medium competition, it usually takes about 20-30 good quality backlinks to see a page rise up to the top 10.

What's the Time Frame?

Be patient. Assuming that you have 20 to 30 quality backlinks, it should take a month to two months before you see any movement upward in rankings. But don't sit around watching the rankings. While you're waiting, keep on building more links. When you run dry, check out Google's keyword tool to come up with ideas that are similar to your keyword and start coming up with variations on a couple of those.

Submitting links using software is much simpler and takes much less time than working on getting your anchor text on quality sites. However, once you try it, you'll see that getting those anchor texts on the right sites is definitely worth the time and effort.

About Author

You will receive *solid* money-making *strategies* directly from James Martell when you subscribe to his "Affiliate Buzz" podcast (since 2003). James has been a full-time affiliate marketer for 12+ years and has been *successfully* teaching others to do the same for over a decade. A sought-after speaker, James has presented at Commission Junction University, Digital River Lab, Affiliate Summit, Pubcon, The System Seminar among others.

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