Intro: Do Follow & No Follow Links

I've heard several top SEO 'gurus' say that 90% of a website's search engine ranking is determined by the quantity and (more importantly) quality of backlinks. Now, I don't know exactly what the percentage rate is, but I do know from my own testing that backlinks are extremely important. Here's a couple of tools where you can check your site's backlinks: and

Currently the single most important factor in your site's search engine ranking position (SERP) is quality incoming links (backlinks) from other sites. Of course, backlinks from high Page Rank (PR) sites are more desirable than those from low PR sites, but generally I will use a PR of 2 and up site for backlinks. Remember, a site that has a PR of 2 now may have a PR of 5 six months from now. You just never know ....

While you are acquiring backlinks, you will want to be sure that the site is a "do follow" site. A "Do Follow" backlink is a standard incoming link that does not have the "no follow" attribute.

When a webmaster uses the "No Follow" attribute, they are telling the search engines NOT to follow that link while crawling the website. So if a website is using "No Follow" links, then the benefit of getting a backlink from that site is minimal. You may still get traffic from people clicking on the link, but you will not receive PR value nor will it help you in the SERPs.

Q --> How do you find out if a link is a "No Follow" link or a "Do Follow" link?
A --> Easiest way is to use the Firefox SEOQuake Plugin. (click here to download)

Always try to use your targeted keywords in the anchor text of your backlinks whenever possible. For example, let's say you run a discount vitamin store. A 'normal' backlink would look like this:

But if you were to use your targeted keywords in your backlinks, then that link would look like this: Discounted Vitamins. See the difference?

Here's how the html code for that last link looks: <a href="">Discounted Vitamins</a> Be sure to not always use the same keywords as the backlink's anchor text ... change 'em up a little! For each site, I usually use 6-12 main keywords that I will use as the anchor text. (Click here to use WordTracker's free keyword suggestion tool.)

Several pointers to remember:

? Whenever possible, get backlinks from sites that are in your niche.
? Use your main keywords in your anchor text whenever possible.
? Always try to get backlinks from 'Do Follow' sites.
? Be careful about what sites you link to. Don't link to junky spammy sites.*
? Don't try to get a ton of backlinks everyday! Gathering backlinks too quickly could get your penalized by the search engines ... do it in a methodical manner.

* Here's a cool "Bad Neighborhood" backlink tool: "Bad Neighborhood" backlink tool. This tool will scan for possible problem areas by checking the links on a website, and on the pages that website is linking to.

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KaylaB Premium
James, this is an excellent resource. Can you make Sharezone resources "stickies"? This certainly would qualify!

fixnow Premium
James, this is an excellent resource. Can you make Sharezone resources "stickies"? This certainly would qualify!

Revelation Premium
Outstanding and well put together.

Tiger7F168 Premium
Outstanding and well put together.

Googa Premium
Very good overall introduction to backlinking. I do have a couple of thoughts.

(1) The jury is still out about whether there is added value in getting backlinks from sites in your niche (not talking about getting pass-through traffic, just the backlink value). Many many people feel this is way overrated, me being one of them.

(2) With respect to "do follow", it certainly has a value by google, but really no effect as to yahoo, etc.

(3) You briefly mentioned this sort of thing in the "hitch a ride" section, but IMHO the best and easiest way to get great quality backlinks is from putting links in your profile and forum and web 2.0 properties, where the underlying domain has a high PR. Many of us have had phenomenal success with this linkjuice.

(4) Not everyone agrees as to how much of an issue it is to get tons of backlinks quickly. Many believe that the whole Google sandbox thing is way overrated. If we are talking thousands and thousands to a new domain, then OK. but I don't think throwing a hundred of backlinks at a EZA article a day is going to do anything but help you get to the top of google.