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The anatomy of a backlink and the value to your website

I’ve been preaching on backlinks and their value to your website for a few weeks now. And, you’re not getting a reprieve this week. I want you to understand how important backlinks are to your search marketing success.

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Human Pelvis from Grays AnatomyThe hip bone’s connected to the back bone

I’ve been preaching on backlinks and their value to your website for a few weeks now. And, you’re not getting a reprieve this week. I want you to understand how important backlinks are to your search marketing success.

One of the items I have yet to talk about though, is an optimal backlink and what you should be asking for and hoping to get.

So I present to you, the anatomy of a backlink.

What a link looks like to webmasters

A web link to the average web visitor, looks like this- link (note: this is not a real link).

But to your friendly neighborhood webmaster, it might look something like this:

<a href="https://www.nrvliving.com">NRVLiving</a>

While that is all well and good and will create a link, there are certain areas you can optimize for search. When I build a link, here is how I do it. (The color coding will be explained below the example.)

<a href="https://www.nrvliving.com/properties" title="Blacksburg homes for sale">Homes for sale in Blacksburg, VA</a>

To the average web visitor, this link looks like: Homes for sale in Blacksburg, VA and it still works just like the link before it, but now it incorporates all the colored elements.  Try hovering over that link, you should see the green text pop up in what’s called a tool tip.  And if you click it, you will be sent to the internal page on that website.

Okay, so an explanation of each color section:

  • Purple (/properties) : This is what some folks in SEO refer to as a deep link.  It’s really not that deep technically, but what you want to do is NOT have every single incoming link point to your home page.  Spread that incoming authority around your important pages that you would like to show up in the search results.  If your internal/deep pages have enough authority, you can get a result in Google, etc. where you have more than one link show up in the results.
  • Green (title=) : This is the title attribute of the HTML anchor element.  What it does is create a tool tip when you hover over the link providing further details of what the linked to page is about.  The side benefit is that the search engines also pay attention to how other websites link to you and use this title attribute as another element in their algorithm arsenal.
  • Red : Again, the search engines use the actual link text as an element in their arsenal to figure out what that link is pointing to.  You want it to be normal sounding yet have a keyword or two in there.  Don’t be spammy though!

The hip bone’s connected to the back bone

All of these links act like connections and endorsements across the web and form a picture in the (artificial) mind of Google’s data crunching mainframes of what the pages within your site are about.

So take my advice.  Vary up your back link profile.  Don’t use the same words and phrases.  Think like a client.  Heck, ask your clients.  “If you were searching for a home in __________ right now, what would you search for?”  You can also check out a site like Google Trends to see what people are actually searching for.

Human Spine from Grays Anatomy

Marty Martin is an accomplished SEM/SEO anti-consultant with a broad range of experience working for a wide variety of clientele including colleges and universities, regional and state tourism, government and business. An advocate for business, Marty works hard to share accurate information in a world suddenly overrun with "social media consultants."

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Jeremy Hart

    May 12, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    The website you’ve highlighted is amazing, Marty!

    I’m kidding – well, kind of. Anyway, wanted to thank you for your recent posts here. So much of this back-end stuff is just confusing as hell to me, but I appreciate you taking the time to break it down. Is there a need to go through every link on a site and change it up, or should I be focusing on making one or two changes each page?

    • Marty Martin

      May 13, 2010 at 8:53 am

      Hey Jeremy,

      Thanks for the kind compliment; I’m glad you’re finding them useful.

      As for your question, I would just gradually shake things up over time. Give the search engine crawlers something new to chew on each time they visit your site. Do you use Google Webmaster Tools? You can check crawl frequency there and adjust your updates accordingly. There’s also talk among some search experts that too many updates at once can cause Google to sandbox you for a while, but I’ve personally not seen that happen.

      I’d definitely start with the links to your pages you want the most traffic to though.

  2. Phil Boren

    May 16, 2010 at 12:35 am

    Marty: I get so focused on generating backlinks, that I sometimes forget to spread it around beyond the home page! Thanks for the info and, BTW, for the mention/link in one of your recent posts.

    • Marty Martin

      May 18, 2010 at 5:04 pm

      HI Phil.

      First, you’re welcome, thanks for the inspiration!

      And I never ever ask for a link to my home page. Always ask for a deep link, you’ll get enough home page links otherwise.

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Business Entrepreneur

Business advice from Babe Ruth that all leaders should mind

(OPINION) Leadership comes from years of refining your practice, and great leadership comes dedication and focus, but Babe Ruth would add more to that…

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All good leaders pull from a variety of inspirational sources to create their formula for success, even from unlikely sources like an overweight baseball legend. Babe Ruth was a winner in his day without steroids and without the paparazzi and while he wasn’t a business leader, he hustled every day to be the best.

Today, we share with you a quote from Babe Ruth that all leaders should mind when operating business because this simple concept is one of the hardest to remember. “Yesterday’s home runs don’t win today’s games,” Babe Ruth said. Let that settle in. Are you resting your laurels on yesterday’s home runs?

Are you puffing your chest because last year’s sales were high or because your net worth was higher in 2008 than anyone else’s in your circle or because you won a prestigious award in 2007?

It’s very common to consider past accomplishments as part of your identity, there’s nothing wrong with that, but sometimes relying on yesterday’s home runs stunts a leader’s intellectual growth – once you think you’re at the top of your game, sure you keep working, but are you really focused on today’s game?

The cliche of keep your eye on the ball would also be relevant here, because if you’re in the outfield dreaming about last week’s home run, you’re not in the game today with everyone else.

What steps are you taking to focus on today’s game? Maybe the image below should be your desktop or smartphone wallpaper as a reminder to focus?

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Opinion Editorials

How to encourage your childrens’ entrepreneurship

(EDITORIAL) To encourage entrepreneurship for our children, we focus on providing them with direct evidence that they can do and be anything they want (excepting the six year old, who currently wants to be a cat).

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children and entrepreneurship

When I walk in the door most days, the routine’s predictable. Drop my briefcase, check the mail, and by this point I’ve received an invitation to go to my daughters’ store. What’s for sale invariably changes from day-to-day — sometimes it’s a pet store, or a bespoke clothier, or a coffee shop — but I’m always amazed at the level of thinking about multiple aspects of business ownership that they put into their play.

For example, I’m typically offered coupons and combination deals on whatever my purchases might be, which means that we get to have rich conversations about the purpose of such incentives and how they affect both customer perception of their brand and their profit margin.

Now, as they’re both under ten years old, many of these conversations don’t cause their games to stop for an introductory economics lesson, but I want them to keep these discussions in mind as their play expands. The world in which they’re growing up is a very different place from that which their parents did, and the possibilities they can embrace literally did not exist a generation ago.

So, too, the challenges that they’ll face. While the number of career fields and the jobs within them that are fully accessible to women are growing exponentially, the globalization of the economy and the shift towards a gig workforce means that they’ll have to compete against not only the remnants of outdated gender expectations, but also considerably larger numbers of people to do so, and with less stability in their career paths once they arrive.

To encourage the entrepreneurial spirit within our girls we, like many parents, focus on providing them with direct evidence that they can do and be anything they want (excepting the six year old, who currently wants to be a cat).

It’s been well said that what one can see, one can be. A 2012 MIT report found that in Indian villages where women held positions of responsibility and authority in local government, levels of aspiration and access to education rose by 25 percent and 4 percent, respectively. The amount of hours they had to devote to completing domestic chores dropped by nearly 25 percent.

It’s important to us to have our daughters see successful women in all walks of life to let them know that they are limited only in their passions and imagination, and should never settle for anything that they don’t want.

It’s also important for us to show them examples of young entrepreneurship whenever possible as well. In a 2015 analysis of Federal Reserve Bank data, the Wall Street Journal found that the percentage of adults under the age of 30 who had ownership stakes in private companies had fallen 70 per cent over the past 24 years. This illustrates the myth of the swashbuckling 20-something entrepreneur, along with the underlying challenges to business ownership.

By being realists about the challenges as well as idealistic about the possibilities, we want to keep alive the spirit that makes them excited to open a combination fish store and haberdashery in their playroom today, with the anticipation of changing the world through their professional passions tomorrow.

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Opinion Editorials

Is “Cuddle a Coworker” ever an acceptable team building exercise?

(EDITORIAL) In today’s “oh hell no” news, one company’s foray into conflict resolution has us heated. In the #MeToo era, Coworker Cuddling is just plain stupid.

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cuddle a coworker

Nowadays, it seems that companies are taking a more active role in employee engagement and activity. This often consists of team building exercises.

I’ve heard of offices conducting these exercises in forms of activities like “Minute to Win It” and team outings. Hell, even trust falls. But, I’ve never been as shocked, disturbed, and confused at a team building exercise as I was earlier today.

Why, you ask? Because I just learned that “cuddle a coworker” is apparently a thing.

And, if you’re first response wasn’t “what the…,” you probably won’t like the rest of this story.

My initial assumption was that this had to be a deleted scene from an episode of The Office. When I dug a little deeper, I found out that this was something implemented by Team Tactics.

Apparently this “exercise” is where groups of 4 to 20 people can get into a tent (say it with me, “what the…”) and have the option to cuddle. They also have different positions available in which to cuddle.

This team building exercise lasts for the entire workday (how?) and is based on science which shows that cuddling, specifically skin to skin contact, can encourage the release of Oxytocin and Serotonin. The tent used, referred to as a “relaxation tent,” is designed to reduce stress and encourage team bonding.

Each relaxation tent is based on Moroccan and Indian relaxation practices, which includes incense, oil lamp lighting, large bean bags, and relaxation beds. Sure, they’re in the UK, but the culture isn’t different enough to make much of a difference in this #MeToo era.

Regardless, the team building event begins with employees airing their grievances about negative traits of co-workers, and bringing up issues that they’d like to discuss. This is all designed to clear the air, and eventually will make way for “conflict resolution cuddling.”

Conflict. Resolution. Cuddling.

“Team building is at the centre of our business, and we’re always looking for new ways to help employees across the UK become more connected with their colleagues,” said Tina Benson, managing director at Team Tactics.“We know it’s something completely new and it might not be for everyone, but the science is already there – we’re just putting it to the test!”

I, for one, have never passed Tony in HR and thought, “Man, the way he chews his food is super annoying. But, I bet if we cuddled it out, I could get past his flaws.”

What are your thoughts on this… interesting concept?

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