Google continually makes changes, “improvements”, to its search process. In fact Google announced 40 improvements in February. I think one that deals with SEO Links and URLs is important enough to make you aware of.

Here’s the way Google worded it:

Link evaluation. We often use characteristics of links to help us figure out the topic of a linked page. We have changed the way in which we evaluate links; in particular, we are turning off a method of link analysis that we used for several years. We often rearchitect or turn off parts of our scoring in order to keep our system maintainable, clean and understandable. See http://insidesearch.blogspot.com/2012/02/search-quality-highlights-40-changes.html 

Here are the KEYWORDS from the above snippet- “We often use characteristics of links…”

From an SEO perspective link characteristics that you should keep an eye on are:

1. The words in the link- We know that Google “reads” the words that are linked. The words are “click here” Google doesn’t do much with it, but if the word is “Internet marketing speaker” linked, like the preceding SEO link is, to a page optimized of the keywords in the link- Google takes note and (when combined with many other factors) boosts the optimized page up the rankings.

2. The “authority” associated with the linking page- Google assigns what they call “Page Rank” to every webpage. Links from pages that enjoy high Page Rank are view much more positively by Google. Links from sites with low Page Rank add very little or no value and links from pages that Google sees as suspect can actually cause your site to drop in the rankings.

3. Surrounding Text- Google is very sophisticated, by “reading” the text around the link. In the example above I linked to my Internet Marketing Speakers site, EdTaylor.com. When Google “reads” this page it will find the content of the page is about Internet marketing and by including the words “Internet marketing speaker” here it will also see that this page is about that topic. If the link was found on a page with a bunch of unrelated text it wouldn’t count as much.

4. Website (SEO URL) Age- Basically Goggle trusts older websites more than newer websites. If the URL of the page containing the link has been around for several years that is a good “SEO URL”.

5. Site Ownership- Again, Google is smart. If you have a bunch of old sites and you just add SEO links on a bunch SEO URLs Google is going to recognize the connection and put very little weight in these links.

Here’s the “to do”- whenever linking to an optimized page of your website use keywords in the link text. Seek out older, authority website “SEO URLS” to get links from. Make Sure the page linking to your optimized page is about what your page is about.

Here’s a link to my Internet Marketing Coaching Program