The Link Shrink Is In: 3 Crazy Linking Assumptions

Building on last month’s column, Five Linking Myths That Need To Go Away In 2013, one of the best and worst things about the Web is the never-ending supply of absolutely horrifying bad information that must be clarified. This helps keep people like me in business. I feel like a link doctor. A Link shrink. So thank you to all the folks who love to make completely unsubstantiated claims about links and linking strategies.

Here’s a few more things about links I have been told recently by content owners (who were told these things by their SEO or linking strategist).

1.  Anchor Text Will Cease To Be A Ranking Signal Altogether In 2013

To make such a statement is reckless. Of course it’s possible to engineer anchor text, and sure, you can still buy links with whatever anchor text you want. And, Google can spot the majority of these a mile away. But this does not render any and all anchor text links useless.

It is not the anchor text itself that matters. It’s the credibility and intent of the person who placed the content containing the anchor text on their site. Are you really going to tell me that if the Library Of  Congress site links to Consumer Reports magazine’s site using the words “Consumer Product Reviews” that this would be a useless signal? No way.

It’s all about source signal credibility –anchor text that originates on sites with no credibility versus anchor text that originates from sites that the engines know to be historically credible in the first place.

2.  Broken Link Building Is Not Efficient

For those of you new to broken link building, read Garrett French’s Link Building Outreach: 5 Steps To Maximize The Value Of Every Opportunity, and pay special attention to this paragraph.

Suggesting new, alternative page for now-dead links

Using a broken-link finding tool you may be lucky enough to discover a formerly valuable page of content that was widely linked, but has since gone dead, out of date or now contains only affiliate links. If this formerly useful page contained relevant content that your target market would find useful, it makes sense to research, rewrite and reach out to folks who linked to similar content.

Broken link building can be done brilliantly or comically bad. My website is ancient and hand edited, and filled with broken links. Even Xenu is sick of it.

As such, I receive several broken link alerts each month from well meaning folks eager to have me edit my broken links so they point to their site instead of the site that no longer exists. What a nice gesture. They want to help me keep my content useful. Except, they make a crucial kiss of death mistake right up front. They start their email as follows:

Dear Webmaster,

Delete. I’m not a webmaster, and my site is My logo has my name in it. There’s a picture of me in the logo. For you to send me an email and start it out with “Dear Webmaster” means you have not visited my site. So, your credibility is now zero. Some even ask for anchor text.

On the other hand, I found a broken link on a University site created by a professor in the college of business. The broken link was to a site that was devoted to online publicity. I emailed him and introduced myself, and asked if I could send him a URL that contained my library of 200+ content publicity and link building posts.

He removed the dead link, and linked to my site. Again, it’s about execution.

3.  Links Will No Longer Be The Most Important Ranking Signal In 2013. It’s All About Social.

Absolutely moronic, and I have no insider information. I have gut instinct and 18+ years of searching.

Let me ask you a simple question. If you ran a search engine, wouldn’t you want to choose your results from a variety of signals instead of just one user generated signal? And wouldn’t you want to choose which signals were based on the searcher’s intent?

There are a great many searches I do only after I have logged out of Google. What social signals is Google going to use then?

Example Search done while logged out for demonstration purposes only.

Example Search done while logged out for demonstration purposes only.

If I log out of Google and do the search you see above, I’d really prefer that I remain anonymous during that process. I wouldn’t want people to get the wrong idea about Link Moses.

I’m kidding with this example, but the larger point remains.  There are millions of searches that people conduct every day in private, or in a way that will not allow for certain signals to influence the results. So, while I do think links are becoming one of multiple “signals of salience”, as they were elegantly described by Amit Signhal in this fantastic article, they cannot go away. Links contain far too much goodness to ignore.

So, keep the linking myths coming. Send me a declarative statement about links and SEO that you heard or read, and let’s see if I can refute it.

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

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Link Building: General | 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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  • Sourav Sharma

    Nailed it…I can’t explain how many times in the last few months I had the same conversation with many…and for some reason people are drifting away from the fundamentals…

  • Chad A. Buie

    This is on point! Do not buy into the hype and get serious about your content from day one. I’ve have not changed my stratgey since I got into this industry back in 2004. Just keep it simple stupid! Raw content and awesome headlines will attract your subjects. Anchor text will be the long-lasting way for people to connect as long as there is demand to use computer inter-phase system. Even then I still think you need to be able to link to something (thought, idea, objects) and those somethings will have names.

  • LRT Graphics

    Yep! Nailed it right on. Great article

  • Owen Ecig

    great article! Thanks! On the social signals it is also important to
    point out that they may be weak on certain topics like body odor. How
    many of your friends tweeted or facebooked about finally finding a
    solution to their body odor problem :)

  • Alex Garrido

    I agree 100 percent with you. As I say to my subscribers, do not discard linkbuilding as a method of getting valuable traffic. Many of them think that social signals alone help build relevancy but I think otherwise.

    Great article Eric

  • Best Binocular Reviews

    Nice article that is very well written with some great advice – many thanks

  • Dewaldt Huysamen

    Great article and I also agree links will never be devalued and as for the anchor text I do not think it will go away, but co-citations as proven recently will have an impact and can lead to one not even having to have the keyword in your anchor text as the text around it, H1 title and even the authorship of the person delegates clearly what the link is really about.

  • Kerry Dye

    Yes, it’s a bit like the one about how many people would “Like” a brand on Facebook that has a negative connotation – they just don’t.

  • Krystian Szastok

    Good points all around I think.

    I love how your logo animates by the way.

  • Lyndon NA

    The 2 signal sets tend to serve 2 different audiences/purposes.

    Social are just that – for the masses being social. They may provide things like validation of some link acquisitions, or trending/freshness, or long-term inteterest … but they aren’t likely to be “strong” signals, ever.

    Links (And the various signals/values they provide) tend to be more authoritative and less common (thus more valuable).

    I personally don’t understand where all these moronic myths are comming from,
    but it’s nicve to see some SEOs quashing them :D

  • Nadeem Khan

    I completely agree with your Point Number 1, anchor text will ALWAYS remain a vital signal when it comes to Google (most ‘anchor text’ related myths can be busted by learning about ‘anchor text variation’) !!!

  • Sandra Tormo Britapaja

    i have viewed a spanish seo conference about seo experiments in this “clinic seo” i heared that they made an experiment with five domanis to evaluate the link building eficience and they have concluyed that there are best 5 quality links than 2000 cloacking links and without links they havent get rank


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