Bots or Spiders – Search engine bots, or spiders, use hyperlinks to ‘crawl’ pages and documents. Estimates say that search engines have crawled between 8-10 billion pages of the approximately 20 billion pages that exist on the World Wide Web today.
Links are a method of identifying the popularity and/or importance of a specific website. Using link analysis search engines analyze both the source page and the destination. Link data provides information on different affiliations between websites as well as contextual data about the website – which websites are linked to that site etc.
Search engines will also denote greater value to links coming from stronger websites, aka websites that are known to be reliable and popular. This is why using a link farm to promote your website is probably a waste of time and getting a link from the Wikipedia website for example, will create a much greater splash for your ranking. How do you know which websites are more powerful than others? Take a look at the website’s page-rank. So what is a page rank?
Page Rank – This is an explanation of the PageRank as it appears in Google’s technological overview page:
“PageRank reflects our view of the importance of web pages by considering more than 500 million variables and 2 billion terms. Pages that we believe are important pages receive a higher PageRank and are more likely to appear at the top of the search results.
PageRank also considers the importance of each page that casts a vote, as votes from some pages are considered to have greater value, thus giving the linked page greater value. We have always taken a pragmatic approach to help improve search quality and create useful products, and our technology uses the collective intelligence of the web to determine a page’s importance.”
Google considers links as votes. When you link your website to another, you are saying that their content is interesting and relevant and you are also helping define the type of relevancy by providing more information through hyperlinks or anchor text links.
Anchor Text Links – search engines will use the anchor text as additional data helping them determine the content of the destination page. If I wrote an article on free website templates and used the term as a link to Wix (as I just did) what I am actually telling search engines is that the term “free website templates” is relevant to the Wix website. Therefore, Wix deals with free Flash templates.
Search engines are also known to consider the text surrounding the link and allocate greater importance to this text than the rest of the texts on your website. This gives links that are part of a paragraph greater importance than links in a footer or sidebar.
Another factor that is part of the search engine’s considerations is the subject matter of the destination page. If you create an anchor link with the words ‘free website templates’ and this link leads to a page that discusses free website templates in its content, the link will probably receive greater value.
You can get information on links through the search engines and the most reliable source is Yahoo! Here are a few commands that will give you information on links:
This command will give you results that display all the pages linked to any web page hosted at the url.com domain.
This command shows those pages that are linked directly to the page specified in the URL.
- Linkdomain:url.com word
This search command will display all the pages that include the term specified in the “word” that are linked to pages hosted at the specified URL. Use this command to find topical pages linking the URL.
- Linkdomain:url.com -term
Use the “– “ symbol to exclude pages containing the term after the “-” from the search.
- Linkdomain:url.com -site:url.com
In addition to the “-“symbol, you can also remove specific sites from the results. This may be especially useful if a large site links to the destination website on every page, and you only want to see links that don’t include that site.