How search engines assign value to links?

Have you ever thought how do search engines assign value to links? To best answer this question, you really need to explore the individual elements associated with a link and understand how the search engines assess these elements.  It is a known fact that not many people understand the proprietary metrics that search engines make use of, however through analysis of some patent applications, hands on testing and years of experience, some assumptions can be withdrawn that hold up in the real world too. Listed below are some key factors worthy of considerations. These signals along with others are considered by professional SEOs when it comes to measuring the link profile of a site and link value.

Topic/ local specific popularity

The concept of ‘local’ popularity, first introduced by the Teoma search  engine, indicates that links from other websites within a topic specific community counts more than links from off-topic or general sites. For instance, if your website sells products of children, a link from fashion house or popular designers matter more than from the grocery shop.

Global popularity

The important and popular a website is, the more links from it matter. A site such as Wikipedia has thousands of different websites linking to it, which means it is perhaps a popular and important a website is. To earn authority and trust with the major search engines, you will require the assistance of other link partners.


It is a known fact that the virtual world of the internet comprises of massive amounts of spam. Some experts believe that as many as sixty percent of the web pages are spam. In order to get rid of this irrelevant content, search engines rely on the system of measuring trust, most of which are based on the link graph. Earning links from trusted domains can lead to significant boost to this scoring metric. Non-profit organizations, universities and government websites are examples of high-trust domains.

Anchor text

Anchor text is counted among one of the strongest signals that search engines use in rankings. If dozens of links point to a particular page with the right set of keywords then chances are the page will rank well for the targeted phrase in that particular anchor text. You can see instances of this in action with searches such as “click here”, where many results rank solely because of the anchor text of inbound links.


It is important to know that links decay over the period of time. Sites which were once popular often stale and thus fail to earn new links. Therefore it becomes essential to constantly earn additional links over time. Also known as “FreshRank” search engines rely on freshness signals of links for judging current relevance and popularity.

Link neighborhood

It is often that spam links go both ways. A website which links to spam is like to be spam itself. In other words, it has mane spam sites linking back to it. By a look at these websites in the aggregate, search engines can establish the “link neighborhood” in which your site exists.  Therefore, it is wise to choose sites you link to carefully and be selective with the websites you attempt to earn link from.


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