In part I of our summer series about the three pillars of SEO, we used our imaginations to jump back in time to recollect how we used to find out information without the internet. We also spoke of the importance of links and how they are evaluated to help assign page ranks and how this plays into the role of relevance. In part II of our summer series, we will discuss the role that relevance plays in rounding out your SEO toolkit.
The Role of Relevance If you’ve been in the Google game of SEO a while, you’ve learned that the rules are in motion – change is the name of the game. One rule that has remained relatively steady is relevance – you have to be relevant to a given topic if you don’t want to be penalized by Google. If you have a page about skateboards, it doesn’t matter how many links you get – you won’t rank for queries related to iPhones. Links are a defined structure that show relevance to their value.
Imagine that a self-published author just released a space science fiction thriller. Picture what will happen when it gets a link from the Star Trek website. That link is extremely relevant. Also, try to envision this intuitively. Is it likely that book has some reference to space, space ships or aliens? Of course, it does.
In contrast, imagine a link to that science fiction book from a site that usually writes futuristic romance novels. Is the link still helpful? Maybe, but probably not as helpful, because it has less to do with science fiction spaceships than it does with romance.
To summarize, the relevance of the linking page and the linked site directly impacts how treasured a link might actually be in accordance to your page. In other words, links matter.
Google PageRank – The Unpublished Truth Google does not publish PageRank. There used to be a version visible to users of Google Toolbar, but not anymore. However, many SEO professionals have many tricks! Third-party metrics can suck that information back into existence such as:
Domain Rank and URL Rank from Ahrefs.
Citation Flow and Trust Flow from Majestic.
Domain Authority and Page Authority from Moz.
These perform well in evaluating the merits of a page and contributing a working estimate for how much PageRank it has to pass. However, you should still acknowledge these are only back-engineered estimates of how authoritative Google views the domain or page – not authentic depictions of PageRank.
Anchor text is another feature of links that is relevant to Google. This assists Google to justify what content on the page is related to the link. For example, if the anchor text is the phrase “card designs” and the content on the page is about that topic, the anchor text in addition to the link acts as extra confirmation that the page is truly about that topic. Hence, the links act to assess both the authority and relevance of the page.
There is a bit of caution to take – don’t be so aggressive as to over obtain links to your page that all use your main key phrase as anchor text. Google can sniff that out as manually manipulated and throw you in the penalty box.
In part III of our summer session for SEO Foundation, we will delve into how Google manages trust.