The Great Link Race Has Begun, But To Where?

What happens when everyone knows everything about linking?

What happens when everyone uses the same 15,400 linking tools, and everyone has created the perfect back link profile, and everyone has properly tricked out anchor text, everyone has perfectly sculpted this, awesomely funneled that, cleverly silo’d this, no-followed that, etc., etc., etc?

What will matter then?  Seriously, what will matter after the dust clears and 8 billion web sites are doing everything “right”? Before I answer that, an analogy.

A mother gives birth to five identical twins.  Over the years she feeds them the same down to the last crumb. She cares for them the same, loves them the same. They sleep together in the same room. She buys them all identical toys, clothes, bikes, balls, and books. They receive the identical vaccines. They go on to the same schools, play the same sports, have the same teachers. Indeed, by the time they are 15 they are absolutely identical in every way and nobody can tell them apart.

On the high school track one day the coach lines up the five identical boys and tells them to run a race. One mile. Go. At the end of the race the five boys do not all finish first, there is a clear winner and loser, and three others in between. How can that happen?  Every single thing about these boys has been identical.  How could they all finish so…differently?

Back to my question. What will matter after the dust clears and 8 billion web sites are doing everything “right”? Who ranks first then? The answer is that the engines will do what they have to do, and just like our mile race, even with seemingly identical sites and links, the engines will rank somebody first, and somebody last.

But how?  What will matter?  Who will win?

All those tools that you and everyone else also used for link building, or SEO, or keyword selection, or content creation, or on-page optimization, or target site identification, or whatever, none of them will matter. The engines will just ignore all the identical signals that those 8 billion pages have so meticulously created.  The engines will ignore them because they have to. Because at that point there is nothing significantly different enough to judge anyway.

After the dust clears, the thing you have that singularly defines you and only you, that small point of difference, be it visible like a broken toe or invisible like asthma, it will alter your “content” just enough so that whether you are an identical brother or an identical site, you will have something you can build on that’s yours alone.

It’s what’s yours alone that will determine who wins the race and the rank.

Eric Ward has been in the link building and content publicity game since 1994, providing services ranking from linking strategy to a monthly private newsletters on linking for subscribers. The Link Week column appears on Tuesdays at Search Engine Land.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Link Week Column


About The Author: has been creating linking strategies for clients since 1994. Eric publishes the strategic linking advice newsletter LinkMoses Private, and provides linking services, training and consulting via

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