While no two SEOs are going to agree on everything, I think this is a useful list. It utilizes the knowledge of a good cross-section of SEOs and Internet marketers. Sure, there is disagreement, but because of the way the list is put together and the weight put on each person’s opinion, you can use these link value factors in your SEO. As Wiep Knol says, “I’s not rocket science – it’s way cooler.”
Below are the top 10 most agreed upon important factors in determining a link’s value:
1. Robots.txt excluded page (DF) – 4.75
2. Anchor text – 4.56
3. Link is on penalized page (DF) – 4.50
4. Page authority (in inbound links) – 4.38
5. Domain authority (in quality of backlinks) – 4.38
6. Amount of outbound links on page – 4.25
7. Total amount of links on page – 4.06
8. Age of domain – 4.06
9. Relevant authority (in rankings on relevant keywords) – 3.94
You’ll have to go to the website to see what the scores mean and how they are computed, but while I wouldn’t agree with everything on this list, or in the exact order they appear, I think most of it has merit. I definitely agree with the top two on the list being the most important.
The top 5 factors where most of those polled agreed upon, which pretty much solidifies their importance of lack of it, are:
1. Alexa ranking
2. Robots.txt excluded page (DF)
3. Domain authority (in quality of backlinks)
4. Page relevance (words only)
5. Number of links
Just in case you’re wondering, all the professionals who offered an opinion agreed that Alexa Ranking has no direct influence on the value of a link. My response? Duh.
Finally, and this is interesting, the most controversial factors in the poll are:
1. TLD (.com, .edu, etc.) -based on TLD alone
2. Type of link (image, text)
3. Domain authority (in PageRank)
4. Domain authority (in rankings on irrelevant keywords)
5. Target page (where the link points to) location
I certainly agree that the No. 1 most controversial factor is indeed the most controversial. Ask any two SEOs on any given day of the week whether the top level domain of a linking website affects that link’s value and they’ll disagree. I’m surprised that so many SEOs say it does. I don’t believe so at all. Although, here’s the caveat, as many SEOs pointed out, the search engines do seem to like .gov and .edu domains. But I think that has to do with the fact that these domains are considered reliable sources by a large number of other websites that link to them, which increases their own link value influence. Take away the back links of these .gov and .edu domains and I think TLD is no factor at all.
Wiep’s link value factors is an interesting read. It is definitely useful, if for any reason, to get SEO professionals thinking about link values in objective terms (if there is such a thing) and not see link values as a random pick in the dark. I don’t think that is the case, but it isn’t an exact science either. Nevertheless, it’s worth a careful study.