Are all links equal?

This is a question I get asked a lot, are all links equal? Does it matter if I change the outgoing links on my page? Is it ok to buy short term links?

To answer these questions, take  a step back, and look at it from a non SEO offline example.

You see a sign in a mortgage companies window and it says

‘we recommend abc mortgage lender as they are the best EVER’

a week later the sign has changed to

‘we recommend def mortgage lender as they are the best EVER’
another week later the sign has changed to

‘we recommend ghi mortgage lender as they are the best EVER’

What are your thoughts on the recommendations of that mortgage company? Personally I would say that their recommendations are not worth the time to read them.

A guy calls on your business, he is selling insurance.

2 months later, he calls again this time to sell you a water cooler.

2 months later he calls again and he is now selling photocopiers.

What are your thoughts on THIS persons reliability, his recommendation of product?

A different guy comes to you regularly, he works for a company, the company are good, their products are good, and they have never recommended a product that failed you or a solution that failed to deliver. They do NOT have a broad range of products, but the range they specialise in is good, and you have appreciated how the products they recommend truly were ‘solutions’ that suited your company, as a result, you have dealt with them for years.

What are your thoughts on this specialist company?

Do you see what I am saying now?

Change links and you look unreliable, change anchor text and you can’t make up your mind what you think the site does. get a link, stick to it, and leave it there, and it is a solid recommendation.

To think like a search engine analyst, step back into the real world, because artificial intelligence is based around real world belief and opinion. 

6 Responses to “Are all links equal?”

  1. A nice analogy that makes sense. Does this extend to the page rank sculpting topic that floated to the surface recently?

    For instance, a situation where to sculpt pagerank from the site menu – a design might be to nofollow all the links to a certain page unless from pages inside that category.

    All these votes of nofollow and yet a few votes of follow – interested in your opinion of what that says about the link ‘recommendations’.

  2. Great post OWG. I have long been trying to use real world analogies to explain SEO — occasionally with some success — because way too many potential clients think this is a matter of science…as if we could grab the #2 or #3 spot for a given search term without bumping anybody from the top-10.

    Yours is an excellent analogy for why short-term links are a waste of time.

  3. Old Welsh Guy

    Frank: Personally I think it is nuts no following internal links. Effectively you are telling Google not to trust your own internal links.

    Google have made it clear that you should avoid schemes aimed to increase your PageRank, so why do it?

    Can you imagine being in Macey’s department store, looking up at the directional signs and seeing something along the lines of :~
    Haberdashery – not recommended
    Menswear – not recopmmended
    Ladieswear – not recommended.

    The first question asked would be ‘why are they not recommending their own areas? OK so the user will not see them, but the secret shopper will as they have the special power to find these things out. the Secret shopper is there to find out how you REALLY treat your customers. Googlebot is a secret shopper, it sees everything. So I really wouldn’t do it. Want more PR, get more links. Want to sculpt PR? I think a nap is needed 🙂

    David: Thanks, I always try to use analogies as people can then grasp the method or process, without having to worry about technicalities of business or the web. it is something I have always done to make life easier. Glad you like.

  4. Amos Lews


    I’m thinking about using Google Ad Words and this info has been useful.


  5. Old Welsh Guy

    Thanks Sam, I find too many [cough] ‘experts’ like to use techno babble when explaining things.

    people understand analogies, hey it worked for that bloke Jesus, only he used a posher word, called them parables LOL