Q and A: Why isn’t Google showing my Backlinks?

Question

Dear Kalena…

I am a dentist who owns his own practice. My website (domain provided) currently has a page rank of zero and zero backlinks. This is despite many attempts to optimize my site, requests for backlinks, etc. I believe I do have a few linking sites with Page Ranks greater than 3. I don’t understand why they won’t show up in google backlinks? (Yes, i have the toolbar.) Any advice you could give me (in lay terms, i’m a website novice) would be greatly appreciated. thanks.

Ryan

Hi Ryan,

I’ve had a quick look at your site and you have a reasonable amount of keyword rich content, but the dentist niche (like many others) is rapidly becoming more competitive.  It’s not clear how long your site has been active, but with the PageRank of zero I’m guessing that your site has only been around for a relatively short time.  These days Google only updates the published PR of sites a few times a year so it probably doesn’t reflect the “real” PR value of your site.  Don’t be too concerned over this – it is likely to improve over the next few months.

Google is notorious for only publishing a very small subset of backlinks.  You are better to use Yahoo for checking your backlinks – use a search query of linkdomain:yourdomain.com -site:yourdomain.com , which will show you most sites that link to your domain (excluding your own internal links).  For your site, Yahoo is currently showing 29 backlinks.   Yahoo still only shows a subset of your links – but it is typically a lot more than Google shows.  For a more accurate list of backlinks from Google you should register your site with Googles webmaster tools.

As you are probably aware, establishing links to your site from external websites is very important to your rankings, so you should always be on the lookout for related sites that might be prepared to link to you – and don’t be afraid to ask.  There are many strategies for link building, and many agencies that offer a link building service.  You can even learn how to do it yourself via Search Engines College’s Link Building Course.

Andy Henderson
WebConsulting SEO – Brisbane

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SMX Sydney 2010: Bulletproof Link Building

Greg Boser from 3DogMedia is now up to talk about creating a bulletproof link strategy.Greg Boser of 3DogMedia

Step 1: Link Map / Blueprint

Greg’s team creates a Link Map Profile. Greg says analyse the top sites in your space and work out the job ahead

Things to look at during this stage:

- average number of links

- average age of competing sites

- average PR of competing sites – will determine how hard it’s going to be to compete. Also take into account the unique IPs.

- average number of linking domains

- average age of linking domains

- average PR distribution of incoming links

- average concentration of anchor text

Greg then showed an example profile for an *Online Poker* site – to give us an idea of the data he’s dealing with. Each of these profiles will be different. This particular profile proves that it’s going to be a hard space to get results in using link strategy. Provides the blueprint

Step 2: Tactics

Once you have the big picture – your blueprint and now it’s time to look at the individual tactices each competitor is uins to gain links

- make a list of the top 2-3 tactics

- usually competitors will only be using 1 or 2 tactics, giving you the opportunity to overtake their efforts by using all tactics available to you.

- Yes, you can purchase links – provided they fit the criteria established in your blueprint.

- Get the quality links first – because as links age, they count more.

- When you get to the end of the process, your link map will look just how you planned it.

Tools

- Majestic SEO is highly recommended by Greg

- Linkscape

- Use tools that go out to get data then compare with your own

- Site Explorer

- RavenTools

- SEOBook Toolbar

During Q and A, Greg Boser said that if you want to target Australia and get good link popularity in Oz, make sure 90% of your links are from Australian sites.

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Q and A: Is Google PageRank Dead?

QuestionHi Kalena

Just wondering what your view was on PR being dead – it’s what a lot of SEO professionals are saying.

I guess I’m curious also because it seems it’s the only way to be able to track any kind of progress with our linking campaigns. What are your thoughts? Is PR dead?

Sarah
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Hi Sarah

Regarding the death of PageRank, I wouldn’t go that far. It might be true that webmasters don’t need to obsess about the little green bar that is the Google Toolbar PageRank score, but the influence of links in Google’s PageRank algorithm is alive and well.

Just take a look at the results of the 2009 Ranking Factor survey that SEOmoz gives to 75 top SEO professionals worldwide (me included) every two years.

You’ll see that 4 of the Top 5 Ranking Factors (as agreed by the world’s busiest SEO practitioners) are link related.

So while Toolbar PageRank scores may not be as indicative as they used to be, link building is still absolutely vital as a way to boost search ranking for a page. Measurement now though is via observation, individual search query rank, number of pages indexed and number of backlinks achieved.

Of particular importance is the flow of linkjuice between inner pages on your own site and the achievement of external links pointing to those inner pages rather than all pointing to your home page.

Kalena

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Q and A: Are one way links more powerful than reciprocal links?

QuestionDear Kalena,

Which is more powerful – a link from Facebook to my website, or a link from Facebook, and my website linking back to that Facebook page?

Thanks, Robert

Dear Robert,

A very ‘dry’ answer to your fairly complex question would be that one way links hold more traction in search engine rankings than reciprocal links. So a one way link from Facebook to your website would be treated more favorably than reciprocal linking between Facebook and your website. However, I am not trying to imply that reciprocal link trading should not be done or discounted.

Since I would be doing injustice to your question if I stopped right here, I am taking the liberty to delve further in order to paint a clearer picture for you.

“One way links vs. reciprocal links” is an age old debate and has been beaten to death. Still, this topic carries an aura of ambiguity for the very simple reason that there are too many variables involved. Search engine ranking algorithms have grown in complexity and their link analysis techniques are far more sophisticated than they were a couple of years ago.

While many people would want you believe that reciprocal linking is dead and not worth your effort, I personally believe that this notion is not entirely true. One way links are better than reciprocal links but this does not certainly mean that reciprocal linking is worthless. A limited amount of reciprocal linking is not only normal but natural.

If you want to recommend a useful resource to your visitors and the other webmaster does the same because he believes that his site visitors would find your website to be equally interesting, then I don’t see search engines having a problem with it. There are thousands of websites that link to one another for the simple fact that it makes business sense. If search engines start devaluing all reciprocal links then they would be ignoring these legitimate link votes, and in the process do more harm than good. So, as long as you stay away from abusive reciprocal linking that smell of link schemes done to artificially inflate search rankings, you will be just fine.

In essence, the more important things to look at and consider are link relevance and the quality of the link. If these two parameters stand fulfilled, I would not be too fussed whether it is a one way or reciprocal link.

Saurav Verma

Further Reading:

What are Reciprocal Links and What do Search Engines Think of Them?

Link value factors

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Q and A: Why are some directory backlinks not showing-up?

QuestionDear Kalena…

As I am submitting my site to directories as part of my link building campaign, I go back to some of the ones I submitted to 3 or 4 months ago and can see my info/link on these directories. However, when I check on Google WebMaster or Yahoo Site Explorer, these links are not listed as incoming links.

Can you tell me why that is?

Yen

Dear Yen…

There could be a number of reasons for this.

It’s not uncommon for some directories utilise the ‘nofollow’ tag, or use redirects or javascripts to link to your site. If any of these techniques have been applied, the link won’t be shown in the Webmaster / Site Explorer tools.

Some directories are very low quality, excessively employ reciprocal linking, sell links and/or link-out to bad neighbourhoods – if you’ve got a link from one of these directories, the link won’t pass any value and also may not be displayed in the link checking tools either.

Then there are the directories that are really big with hundreds/thousands of categories and sub-categories (and if those categories are not updated on a regular basis), then there’s also a very good chance that the spiders may not have crawled deeply enough to even find your link.

While submitting to a few of the more trusted directories isn’t a bad thing, my advice would be to adjust your link building approach.

Spend more time building relationships and trying to get a few really good, relevant links from well trusted sites instead of submitting to a bunch of average directories that most likely don’t pass much real link value.

Hope this helps!

Peter Newsome
SiteMost SEO Brisbane

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