Don't Limit Your SEO To Keyword Anchored Do Follow Links!
Written by: Nick LeRoy
As an SEO, my favorite links are the ones that contain keywords, are "do follow", and are from highly authoritative and niche related websites. Now these are arguable the "best" links you can obtain to help increase your search engine results, increase Page Rank (if that matters to you) and most importantly directs traffic to your site. Does this mean that "other" links don't hold value and you should ignore any opportunities to acquire them? No Way! This is an SEO misconception SEO misconception that many people fall for. Below, you will find several different types of links and the value associated with each.
"Do-Follow" Keyword Based Anchor Text Links
These are the ideal links that everyone wants to acquire. A link such as "Minneapolis MN Web Design" will transfer part of the authority or "Page Rank" of the linking site to your website. This transfer of authority can help you increase your rank for specific keywords included in the anchor text. In addition this link gives you the opportunity for referall traffic to your site.
Natural link buidling is a very important aspect of link building. It's important that the anchor text is changed frequently. If you choose not to change up your link text it is possible that the search engine may think you're trying to manipulate their algorithm. This could result in the search engines slapping your site with a ranking penalty.
"Do-Follow" URL Based Links
Even though it's ideal to include your keywords within a link, these URL based links (http://www.dkssystems.com) still transfer authority. Authority is a part of all the search engine ranking algorithm. Every link you acquire will contribute to your sites authority. So many people get frustrated or consider obtaining a URL link a failor. While these links may not be as valuable as a keyword based link they definitely hold a value of their own. There is no reason to avoid acquiring these links.
Extra Note Keyword based URL's receive an "extra" benefit. If you own hot-dogs.com it really doesn't matter if you create the anchor based link "hot dogs" or type in the URL http://www.hot-dogs.com. Both links include your keyword and the search engines will give your site credit for the link being "hot dog" related. You must keep in consideration that URL based links are easier to obtain than keyowrd based anchor text links. These websites tend to have an advantage when ranking for keywords that are found in their URL.
The search engines use inbound links as a part of their ranking algorithm. A keyword based anchor text link tells the search engine what the site is about. So if you want to rank for the keyword "MN Web Design" then including it in your link will increase your chances of ranking for that term. Unfortunately, A URL based link does not always tell the search engines what a site is about and doesn't give a direct benefit for ranking for a particular keyword.
All links offer value to a website, some links offering more than others. While a "No-Follow" link does not add authority or "Page Rank" it does offer an opportunity for users to find your website. Assuming a user isn't using an SEO tool, they will have no clue that a "No-Follow" tag has been used on a link. It will look like any other link and they have the opportunity to follow the link to your website. The value of this link is just that, the referral traffic. Imagine if you could get a link from your niches top authority. Do you know how much traffic your site could receive? You could make many sales/conversions just off this one link! Yes it may not help your search engine rankings but the referral traffic you would receive could increase sales/conversions substantially!
rel="nofollow" tells the search engines to NOT transfer any of the sites authority or "Page Rank". These links will not help your search engine rankings or increase your sites overall authority. As long as the "No-Follow" tag is associated with your link, it doesn't matter if the link is URL based or an text link.
This is a great opportunity to get referral traffic to your website. Assuming the "No-Follow" tag isn't implemented, site authority can be transferred. To get the most value out of your banner links you should include your keyword within the banners image alt tag. When a search engine sees the banner link they will notice the anchor text you display in the alt tag. This will give you an extra benefit in obtaining search rankings for that selected keyword.
A lot of banners link to a URL that includes some form of tracking parameter. This can cause duplicate content issues and spread the link juice between several pages that display the same information. If possible use absolute URL's in the banner ad or if you absolutely need the tracking parameters place a canonical tag within that URL. This canonical tag should point the search engines to the original content and avoid any indexing of the duplicated content.
As you can now see, there is a lot more value to a link than you may think. Just because you cant receive an anchor text based link from a site doesn't mean it's not valuable. I would also like to note that I am keeping in consideration that all the links above would be found on a site that is somewhat related to yours. If your site is about baking cookies and you are attempting to get links from car manufacturers, these links will be devalued. With all that said, be smart with your link building and remember that all link can be valuable.