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SEO Job Knowledge Interview Question #18: Explain the Value of Links

As hard as it is to assess ANY job candidate’s knowledge, it’s even harder with SEO candidates because there’s so much gray area in the industry. This blog series presents questions you can pose to help you determine a candidate’s level of knowledge.

Explain the value of links in an SEO campaign.

Every SEO should be knowledgeable about the value of links. But they must also know why and what kinds of links are valuable. “Quality over quantity” alone will not be a sufficient answer. The answer should include a discussion of both incoming, outgoing, and internal linking, and how the search engine algorithms weigh them.

Here’s how I would answer:

Every link is valued differently. For the most part, every site needs a good number of quality external links pointing to their site. These “third party” links are what Google uses to assess value onto each page. If the links come from industry-related sites and, more specifically, from contextually related content, the value will be high. Even higher if the site linking to you is already considered of high value to Google.

Links from low-value sites are important as well, as long as there is potential for the site to grow in value as time goes on. Today’s link from a lower value site can be tomorrow’s link from a higher value site.

The bottom line with link building is to look for opportunities to get links from sites that share your audience. Links from sites that have an audience that isn’t interested in what you offer are of very little value.

Linking out to other sites can add value as well. It’s always a good idea to point your audience to additional resources that provide valuable information that you don’t. These links may not factor immediately into your rankings, but they will provide value to your audience, which is always a good thing.

You can also provide indicators of what any page’s content is about by linking to it within your own site using relevant text. This isn’t an opportunity to spam, but rather direct your visitors to additional content of value, just on your own site.

Your own navigation should use text that is highly relevant (and keyword oriented) to the content on the page. But enhance this by adding text links within your content as appropriate.

Stoney G deGeyter

Stoney deGeyter is the author of The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!. He is the founder and CEO of Pole Position Marketing, a web presence optimization firm whose pit crew has been velocitizing websites since 1998. In his free time Stoney gets involved in community services and ministries with his “bride enjoy” and his children. Read Stoney’s full bio.

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