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Inbound Link Quality Declared #1 In SEO

By Jason Lee Miller

For Google, it’s not about how many people you know or how many people seem to like you. It’s about, mostly, who points to you and says “there’s a person worth visiting.” Fortune Interactive’s reverse engineering to decode how search algorithms work suggests that one weighty somebody is worth more than a multitude of nobodies.

The company released the results of a study that determined inbound link (IBL) quality, or the reputation of the referrer, was not only the most influential factor across all three leading search engines Google, Yahoo!, and MSN.

Though each engine weighted IBL quality differently, Fortune Interactive determined with its proprietary SEMLogic technology that what happens off the webpage is more important that what happens on the webpage. In fact, IBL reputation was more important than even IBL relevance.

The quantity of links was the least important among the organic ranking factors. For Google, it was title-tag keyword density that was the most important on page factor.

Fortune Interactive CEO Andy Beal and SEMLogic creator Mike Marshall have provided some nice bait to lure you in – these findings, while providing some valuable insight, only apply to the keyword [laptop]. That’s not to say they’re not true in others, but this is the only carrot offered by Beal and company.

An executive summary of the analysis can be found at the Fortune Interactive website, complete with tables, analysis of algorithm differences between the top three search engines, and an examination of “the coveted trifecta,” where a website ranks well for a keyword in all three engines.

Here is the breakdown of the findings from the summary:

In-Bound Link (IBL) Quality This is a measurement of key elements on the page containing an in-bound link which, in combination, influence the link reputation for the target of the link. This is the only factor that had the same level of relative influence across the search engines and happened to be the most influential in all cases.

In-Bound Link Relevance . This is a proprietary measurement of the topic/keyphrase relevancy of the content on the page containing the in-bound link. Yahooâ„¢ and MSNâ„¢ place the same level of importance on this factor but not as much as Googleâ„¢.

* In-Bound Link Title Keyword Density . All three search engines differ on the level of importance placed on this factor. Googleâ„¢ assigns more importance than the others, followed by MSNâ„¢ and then Yahooâ„¢.

* In-Bound Link Anchor Keyword Density . Googleâ„¢ and Yahooâ„¢ assign the same level of importance here. MSNâ„¢ places more importance here than the others, the second most important overall among its other factors.

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In-Bound Link Quantity . Yahooâ„¢ and MSNâ„¢ place equal importance on this factor, but still to a lesser degree than Googleâ„¢ does. It is worth pointing out that not only is IBL Quality of most relative importance among off-page factors across the board, but IBL Quantity is of least relative importance among the off-page factors across the board.

Title Keyword Density . This is the most influential on-page factor for the competitive landscape in Googleâ„¢ as well as in MSNâ„¢. Yahooâ„¢ assigns the same overall relative degree of importance to it as MSNâ„¢.

About the Author:
Jason L. Miller is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

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Camilla Todd
Camilla Todd is Head of Digital Marketing at WNW Digital and manages Search Engine Optimisation, PPC, Social Media campaigns and Brand Awareness for WNW Digital SEO clients. You can follow her on Twitter @camilla_wnw, email her at or phone on 01392 349580

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