Links are the most important off page search engine ranking factor. Most search engine use link analysis as a way to improve relevancy. Links remain the best external signal that search engines use to rank your web site in search results so you should invest some time in link building. It should be noted that not all links are equal.
If you were looking for information about a company in order to make an investment decision, whom would you trust more? An article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer about the company you are looking to invest in or a random forum post on a Russian web site?
Hopefully you said the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Link quality is basically the same idea. Links from large trusted sources are more relevant and should count for more when ranking your page in the search results.
Link Text / Anchor Text
Link text or anchor text is the human readable text that is on a web page that you click on to visit a different page. This text is seen by the search engine and used to determine the topic of the content on the linked page.
For example, why does Cars.com out rank everything else when you search for cars on Google? Actually this has a two-part explanation. First the word “cars” is in the domain name. Second, because the word “cars” is in the domain name, most of the links created on the web to cars.com contain the word “cars” in the anchor text. Sneaky aren’t they.
Unfortunately most of us can’t exert this level of control over the links created by others to our web pages.
Number Of Links
You should be aiming for links from high quality site but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the total number of links. Plenty of sites have found that getting many links can add up.
We suggest you don’t use automated software to post links back your site on a large number of sites. Most search engines consider this a poor form of search engine optimization called “spamming” and may penalize your site for it.