5 experts demystify SEO link building

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What are the three most important criteria a search engine robot might consider when it is evaluating an inbound link?

Seth Besmertnik
First, the anchor text of the link, providing search engines with context to the endorsement being made. Second, the authority and trustworthiness of the page where the link resides is evaluated to determine how much weight the link is given. Finally, the two linked pages are evaluated from a relevancy standpoint, with highly relevant links having the most influence on rankings. The best case scenario is to have links from highly authoritative, trustworthy, and relevant sites with anchor text representative of the products or services being marketed by the target site.

Eric Ward
Who is the creator, what is their intent, what does their own back-link pedigree look like?

Todd D. Malicoat
First, unique linking domains to the sites in question (qualitative and quantitative). Second, anchor text of the link. Third, topical authority of the link.

Debra Mastaler
The anchor text, the quality factor of the page hosting the link, and the age of the page hosting the link.

Rand Fishkin
I posed this question to 37 of the smartest SEO folks I know in our Search Engine Ranking Factors survey and got:

  1. Anchor text
  2. Global link popularity of the linking site (how important is the domain providing the link).
  3. Topical relationship of linking page (how relevant is the page providing the link).

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Michael Estrin is deputy editor at iMediaConnection.