When carrying out link-building program for your company or client, it’s not as simple as selecting the number of links (and simply assuming that more is better).

There are varying types of links, each with their own benefits, values and, to an extent, “prestige”. To illustrate this more clearly, let’s look at a diagram I used to explain to a client how to classify different links:

Link Classifications - The Link Triangle

  • Top Level Links: These are the links that are most desired, but as a result are the most difficult to obtain. In the example above I’ve used BBC and CNN as two obvious websites. They’ve been running since the 1990’s, offer extremely rich content, are considered “authoritative”, and will already have excellent SEO value. In reality, they are examples of the kind of sites who are very selective about which sites they link to. The same goes for local and national Government (whether a Town or Regional Council, State Legistature or any Government department) website, Educational Institutions and Charities. Any site who decides to approach bodies such as this for a link will need an well designed, carefully optimised and highly regarded reputation.
  • Mid-level Links: These can include business directories such as Yellow Pages (but their links can border on low-level), business publications that are popular amongst your target audience, or any site which may choose to review your submission request first. In reality, sites will target these during link-building and success may be somewhat impressive, although a good reputation will help.
  • Low-level Links: Any link which can be created quickly and cheaply. These include links from a personal blog, social networks, even Wikipedia (which is editbale by anyone, and therefore your link may not survive). These links typically account for the majority of inbound links.

Planning A Link Building Campaign

If money/reputation were no issue, most sites would target the sites used as examples in “top-level links”. The sheer strength and potential in link juice and even site users would be enough to make us want purely these type of links.

Google are wise to this.

Effective link-building campaigns in fact will utilise all kinds of link, from the top to the bottom. A site with purely “top-level” inbound links will raise suspicions, as it looks unnatural, perhaps even contrary, to Google’s requirements.

Link-building campaigns, although generally planned with great care and attention to detail, will be shaped to appear as natural and “random” as possible. They will also be gradual, maintaining a steady rate over a period of months or even years.