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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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Tech News

New stats behind mobile addiction and how people are coping

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Addiction to our screens is now accepted, and while younger generations are glued more tightly to them, many people are finding ways to fight back.

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tech addiction dependence influencer

I’d probably get this article done faster if I wasn’t checking my phone every couple of sentences. Even if I’m not expecting a message and know that everyone I was talking to is currently busy, it’s likely I’ll still neurotically check my phone every few minutes just in case.

Turns out I’m not alone in my mobile addiction.

A study from Deloitte of 2,000 U.S. internet users aged 18 to 75 found most people check their smartphone roughly 47 times a day.

Younger users nearly double this stat, checking their devices around 86 times a day, up from 82 times reported in the 2016 study.

The study also assessed which activities drove users to check their smartphones. Patterns of use compared to the previous year remain relatively unchanged except for self-reports of checking the phone while driving, which has fortunately decreased.

More than nine out of every ten respondents confess they use their phone while shopping or “spending leisure time.” Over eight out of ten reported checking on phones while watching TV, eating in a restaurant, and even while talking to family and friends.

When watching a show that’s longer than eleven minutes, I put my phone on the opposite side of the room if I want any hope of paying attention. I know if I keep my phone next to me, I’ll miss crucial chunks of episodes. This is a partial attempt to manage the addiction.

Likewise, around 47 percent of respondents said they’re trying to limit their usage, and are actively taking steps to reduce time spent on their phones. Some people report success by simply keeping their phones out of sight, turning it off during meals, or while spending time with friends.

A third of those surveyed turn off audio notifications, while around a quarter even went as far as putting some apps the chopping block. Another quarter could only part with their phones at bed time, turning their devices off at night.

Having a smartphone is fun (an addiction), but you don’t want to end up being that sad woman in the “Selfie” episode of High Maintenance only interacting with your phone.

Sometimes it can be much healthier to just put your phone away for a while. This can be a few hours of no phone time, or if you cans swing it, a few days of “business only” phone time.

Let people know if you’re going radio silent for a significant amount of time though, because otherwise your mom will think you’re dead if you stop responding to texts. Now please excuse me while I fail to follow my own advice and continue the technology loop of checking my Snaps, texts, and Instagram feed.

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Opinion Editorials

Our five faves for Friday – almost Thanksgiving edition

(EDITORIAL) This week, I have so many faves that I can barely keep it at just five – Unicorns, gophers, tears, science nerdery, and rebellions, oh my!

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I heard a rumor that it’s Friday again, so today we share with you five of the neato-est things that we came across this week – some silly, some serious, all awesome.

1. Brands refusing to open on Thanksgiving Day

It started with retailers opening early on Black Friday, then opening at midnight on Thanksgiving Day, and now retailers are expected to force their staff to work instead of enjoy a bajillion-ish year old American tradition.

But some companies are pushing back, publicly refusing to open on Thanksgiving Day, so even though our home doesn’t care about Black Friday, we’ll be giving some business to those taking a stand.

2. I need you to know about my favorite tv show ever

So there’s nothing new about this, but since you’ve never heard from ME on a Friday Faves roundup, I really need you to know something about me – I have a lot of natural curiosities and history (when not told in a dusty way) fascinates the hell out of me.

Unearthed on the Science Channel is friggen amazing and literally EVERY episode has taught me something that I didn’t know before (like the one about Stonehenge included new discoveries that change how we think about how humans used to operate – seriously mindblowing stuff). All of the episodes are available online, yo, so get to nerding!

3. No one has bought me a Pony Cycle yet

One of the only email newsletters I actually open is The Grommet – they feature independent makers’ inventions and wares, and I’m all about supporting the little guy.

But I posted this insanely amazing Pony Cycle on my Facebook timeline this week with a request that someone buy me one. Guess what? No takers. My friends are monsters. I mean it comes in horse, unicorn (dibs), and zebra, why not buy me one or three?

ponycycle

4. Video that made me cry

After the recent earthquake hit Iran, there has been a deep need for food for the victims. Watch this video (my fave part is the pat pat on the back) and try to tell me that hate isn’t something we’re taught… also, I’m not crying, you are…

5. My favorite gif of this week

If you know me, you know I love gifs more than the average person. So when I came across this one, I knew I had to award it my fave of the week…

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Business News

Class action lawsuit claims Tesla plant is a hotbed of racism

(BUSINESS NEWS) Tesla is being hit with another lawsuit, this time alleging discrimination at one of their plants. No wonder Musk wants to get to Mars…

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tesla autopilot

Groundbreaking automaker Tesla may be the future of automotive transportation, but when it comes to discrimination, some say the company seems to be living in the past.

This week, the company received notice that they would be brought to court by a group of black workers filing a class action lawsuit. The suit states that the Tesla’s Fremont, California production plant is a “hotbed of racist behavior.”

The suit was filed by former employee Marcus Vaughn in the California state court in Oakland and is the third lawsuit filed this year by black workers and former workers from Tesla.

Vaughn, who began working in the factory in April, says that his supervisors regularly referred to him using racial slurs. When he wrote a complaint to the human resources department, they were unresponsive. Then in October, Vaughn was fired for “not having a positive attitude.”

Tesla is denying the claims, saying that they did investigate the incidents, and fired three workers as a result. The company went so far as to post a statement called “Hotbed of Misinformation” on its website on Wednesday, saying that the company is “absolutely against any form of discrimination, harassment, or unfair treatment of any kind.”

In May, Musk sent an email to all employees telling them that should never “allow someone to feel excluded, uncomfortable or unfairly treated.” However, he also said that workers should “be thick-skinned.”

Vaughn’s lawyer, Lawrence Organ, who also sued Tesla on behalf of three black Tesla workers last month, responded that “The law doesn’t require you to have a thick skin. When you have a diverse workforce, you need to take steps to make sure everyone feels welcome in that workforce.”

Tesla is also facing lawsuits claiming that the company discriminates against gay and older workers, and last month, the United Auto Workers (UAW) union filed a complaint to the federal labor board, saying that Tesla had fired workers for supporting unionization.

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