According to Google, content remains the most important factor in determining the order of search results. While this may be true, another hugely important factor is back links. A back link is when another website links to your website. Google, for example, views this as a vote for your website. The more back links / votes a website has from other websites, the better it tends to rank.
In fact, in my experience, back links can be more important than page content, regardless of what Google tells us. The reason I say this is due to some of the larger real estate websites, like Zillow. If you Google “Orange Beach condos for sale”, you’ll see Zillow ranking near the top of the search results. If you then open Zillow’s page for Orange Beach condos, you’ll see a lot of property listings, but the local content stops there. You probably won’t find much actual area info. Instead, you’ll notice a lack of localized content. Most local info is auto generated and often not as accurate as you’d find using a local real estate website.
Moving back to the point, how can Zillow rank above other sites offering the same listings, but also provide users with rich local knowledge and helpful area info? Back links! They have hundreds of thousands of back links or votes for their website, so Google promotes them atop the search results. Zillow and other conglomerates are so reliant on these powerful links, that they don’t even allow normal back links from their website to agent websites. Sure there’s a profile section to add links to your site and they actually will provide normal back links to very few of their paying clients, but most ALL of the links from profile sections come attached with the infamous “No follow” link attribute. This attribute basically tells Google and other search engine spiders not to follow or give credence to any links coming from their website. This attribute essentially negates any benefit of a link from Zillow.
In closing, always check for link attributes when working on back links with others. Open the source code and find the link. If there’s a lot of content / text on the page, use your keyboard shortcuts – also found in our Free tools blog and look at the source code.
How to find link attributes:
Normal html – <a href=”Your domain and URL here”>Anchor text</a>
No follow html – <a href=”Your domain and URL here” rel=”nofollow”>They hit me with a no follow link</a>
Another no follow example – <a rel=”nofollow” a href=”Your domain and URL here”>Anchor text</a>
Basically, look for the rel=”nofollow” which is the basis of this attribute
Anchor text: The anchor text is the text that shows up on a page that a user click on. In the first example, the on-page link users would see is “Anchor text” which would be underlined and clicking it takes users to another page. In the second example, “They hit me with a no follow link” would be shown on the page and constitutes the anchor text. Read more on link attributes and no follow