The previous lecture on Link Building Basics provided an overview of what link building is, the most common methods of link building and the potential risks to take into consideration before starting an SEO campaign. This section expands on that foundation to explain the importance link diversity, link velocity, link valuation and also explains the roles of PageRank and link trading in link building.

Link Diversity

Link diversity refers to the variety of link sources within a website’s link profile, as well as the variety of link quality from those sources. Link diversity is important to maintain a link profile that appears unmanipulated.

Working to build the majority of your own links technically goes against Google’s webmaster guidelines. According to Google, every link you get should come naturally from other people deciding on their own to give you a link because they like and trust your site. Links that arrive naturally in this way often originate from a wide variety of sources and carry a wide variety of link values along with them.

As internet marketers, we commonly go out and get our own links from other marketers in an attempt to rank well in search engines like Google. The problem with this practice is that it often results in unnatural linking patterns. Instead of your links coming from a wide variety of sources, the vast majority might come from other similar sites that also link to hundreds of other similar sites. The value passed through these links is also likely to be very similar.

The consequence is devaluation of links that appear unnatural to Google. Google places more value in links that other people give you than it does links that you get or negotiate for yourself.

To prevent this link devaluation it’s important to build links in a way that matches natural patterns, and link diversity is a significant aspect of this goal. To do this, simply work to get links from as many different kinds of sites as you can, as long as they’re all relevant to your own. And make sure not to focus on only quick and easy links to get, since these tend to pass less value. Also work to get higher value links to maintain diversity in your link value as well as in your link sources.

Link Velocity

Link velocity is the rate at which you build new links. It’s recommended to maintain a consistent velocity to prevent any unnatural spikes in your link building patterns. Link building in a way that appears natural, as if all of your links were obtained without your involvement, is a vital part of SEO. And maintaining a consistent link velocity is necessary to accomplish this.

To understand the importance of link velocity it’s recommended that you first understand the concepts of link building. When you study link building you learn that it’s necessary to link build in a way that appears natural to search engines like Google. It’s only when your link profile appears natural that you receive maximum value through those links. There are multiple factors that are considered when determining a natural profile, one of which is your link velocity.

When you only link build periodically it creates noticeable spikes in your link profile, which is a historical record of all of your links, inbound and outbound. Search engines use link profiles to determine a number of things, one of which is whether or not other people are actually giving you links. Here is an example of what periodic link building looks like.

Link Building Strategy Craig Murray Digital

This of course is an exaggerated example, but it’s a good way of illustrating how inconsistent link building appears to search engines.

It’s better to build whatever you can, every single day, than it is to build as much as you can in one day. You will benefit more from ten new links every single day for a month than you will from 300 new links on one day each month. Your link profile will look more natural and you will improve your chances of getting full value through all of your links.

Link Valuation

Link valuation is a term used to describe the process of determining how much value a link might provide. Link valuation takes into account factors such as the value and relevancy of the page providing the link, the placement of the link within the page and the number of other links present on the page.

High value links are important for all websites; they not only help you achieve high search engine rankings but they help you maintain them long-term. The problem with getting high value links, however, is the fact that “value” isn’t always easy to determine. There are a lot of misconceptions among internet marketers as to what determines a link’s value. Some people mistake high traffic sites with high value sites, others consider any site with a high Page Rank and a high Page Authority to be high value, without taking any other page factors into consideration.

The truth, however, is that many factors combine to determine the potential value a link may provide. For example:

  • A link from a page directly related to your own is better than a from a page unrelated to your own
  • A link from a page only containing 10 other links is better than a link from a page containing 100
  • A link within the header of a page is better than a link within the footer
  • A link within the content of a page is better than a link displayed in a sidebar

Beyond these link placement factors, the overall value of the page containing the link needs to be considered. The three most important factors to consider when determining the value of a page are:

  • Google PageRank
  • Page and Domain Authority
  • Existing Google Ranks and Traffic (as well as the keywords the page ranks for)

Two tools that you can use to determine Page Authority, Domain Authority and existing Google ranks are Open Site Explorer and SEMRush.


The Google PageRank algorithm was invented well over a decade ago and since has been used as a kind of measuring stick for SEO success. It assigns every page in Google’s index with a number between 0 and 10 which represents how powerful and trustworthy the page is in terms of link popularity.

PageRank is viewed by most internet marketers as either relevant or completely irrelevant. Years ago when PageRank was first released it was used as a reliable metric by most professional SEO’s. PageRank was obsessed over and many SEO’s worked solely to improve their PageRank. They would measure their PageRank from Google’s toolbar and from within Google Webmaster Tools. After a few years however, Google announced that SEO’s shouldn’t place so much priority on PageRank and began to delay the ranking updates that appeared on the toolbar and in Webmaster Tools. The PageRank we saw became known as Toolbar PageRank, since it reflected the rank of the page as it was months prior. Google also removed the PageRank metric from Webmaster Tools.

Does PageRank Matter?

There are different schools of thought as to whether PageRank still matters or not. Those who think it does believe so because PageRank has always been an integral part of Google’s algorithm and because they declared that it is still one of the factors they use to determine the rank of a page. I don’t believe it is a reliable metric however, but rather an indicator of trust that Google has for a page. When used in combination with other more measurable metrics, it can provide useful insight as to the value of a page. Those who do not think it matters believe so because of the fact that PageRank is not an indicator of how well a page can rank, the rank we see can be as old as nine months and because Google themselves have pleaded with SEO’s for years to focus less on it.

Link Trading

Link trading is a common link building technique where a link received is traded in exchange for a link given. Links can be traded directly between two URLs or can be traded in a way where the reciprocal link originates from a URL other than the URL linked to.

Link trading has been a common method of link building for many years. Link trading is, technically speaking, considered a black hat link building technique. Google considers any links you give yourself, or that you negotiate on your own behalf, to be a violation of their guidelines. Because of this, the methods of link trading have evolved along with the algorithms search engines have created to detect them.

The original reciprocal link trade is when two URLs link directly to one another. This method of trading is referred to as an A/B trade and is easily detectable by search engines.

Link Building Strategy Craig Murray Digital

This method eventually evolved into the A/B/C link trading method, which attempts to hide the trade by reciprocating the link to a URL other than the original.

Link Building Strategy Craig Murray Digital

The latest method of link trading is the A/B/C/D method, which further attempts to hide the trade by keeping all URLs involved as separate as possible.

Link Building Strategy Craig Murray Digital

Link trading can still be a useful method of link building, as long as it’s done in extreme moderation and in a way that looks natural. Search engines like Google have become very effective at detecting, and devaluing, link trades making it important to take the steps necessary to do it as carefully and infrequently as possible.