Off-page signals are more important than on-page signals for SEO

I’ve been saying for quite some time that off-page signals are more important for ranking than on-page signals, even to the point that you could almost ignore your page itself to concentrate on the important ranking signals i.e. links. It’s the reason why I don’t believe issues of Acessibilitiy, Semantic Markup and WC3 validation etc etc should be allowed to overly influence or dominate an SEO discussion, they matter, but not very much. Getting your H1 tags right is not as important as getting good links. Write your page for real people and you’re unlikely to break any search engine guidelines and that’s about all you have to worry about where code is concerned for SEO.

Cross browser compatibitliy, accessibility etc etc, all important but a seperate issue entirely. (This is not a reference to a recent thread on the Alt Attribute which was an anlaysis of an on-page signal)

This is an excellent article on this subject from Hobo SEO (bit of a rant actually but I don’t blame him), a well known and reputable SEO company with results that speak for themselves, and well worth reading:

[B]Free SEO Audit Puke[/B]

I think you will right but only in some cases.If you will ignore important On page work like meta tags (keywords placement in meta tags),keywords in content,navigation structure or quality content then we can not say as in how much time you will get your targeted keywords in ranking.because In page work helps us to make our link building work more easy.

Thanks for the link, JJ. Certainly useful food for thought. My understanding was that external links were only really much use for SEO if the link is a from a high profile site, preferably containing related content … but it seems that’s not really so.

I agree that links are still one of the most important ranking factors (even if Google would like us to think otherwise.) Do you think the balance has shifted with all the recent panda updates though? For example, if in the past the ranking was weighted 10% on-page 90% off-page, do you think it may now be 20% on-page and 80% off-page?

That would explain some things you’ve said in previous posts. Links come in a variety of flavours but they’re the core of the Google ranking algo, always have been. It’s a complex subject.

I haven’t noticed anything but I’m not a full time SEO so when people assert that there have been changes I’ve been trying to get the evidence to support that.

I personally believe that even google don’t even know how they rank sites.

I have seen a site jump to page one for a pretty competitive keyword. Adwords reckons around 45,000 a month exact searches.

All this guy has done is a lot of link building and I am not sure how much quality these are with links coming from 401 redirects and some porn related links by the look of it…

Around 135 blog pages, not all related the the keyword it’s ranking for.

Personally I don’t see why this site ranks well apart from the links it has built somehow. A lot of these are from 1 blog as the site advertises there, so his ad is spread across 3 or 4 years worth of blog pages, which at some point will drop out of his links.

So…Once again. Who knows what the hell google do. It can be very frustrating to see other sites rank well for no real reasons or reasons that are plainly obvious should I say.

I set up my site using a free real estate installation package, and the only money I have spent on it is for the hosting service.
I found that a lot of what was recommended in different SEO circles was already included, and I made some changes which
with my zero knowledge were not recommended but I thought were good ideas.
Since then all I’ve done is add some new pages along the same lines, virtually all my daily efforts have been poured into link building.
I have done some spamming (how else do you get a link from or and in most of those cases copied the links from competitors
as I wouldn’t know how else to get them. But in the main I have concentrated on a combination of relevance and PR for my legitimate links.
I know that we are supposed to gain links naturally, but I’m trying to sell products, I don’t have a site that is dedicated to serving the community or has important reference information, it is about selling houses. Who would want to link to me if I didn’t force the issue?
My site is not pretty, in fact it is very basic. I know that I have far more keywords on my home page than I am supposed to but am
loathe to change anything because it works. My content is all written by me so is unique but I have no illusions that it is otherwise anything special.
I don’t get high traffic because the high traffic isn’t out there for my market but I am doing quite well in SERPS for a variety of search terms and that is fine by me.
My point is that I have seen both my SERP and PR rise steadily over the months since I launched, and that can only be down to the fact that
my backlinks have risen steadily over the same period because I haven’t really done much else.

That tends to happen naturally anyway (in my experience, at least) so it might be truer to say that your activities have accelerated that rise. It would be interesting to compare two similar sites, one without any link building and one with it.

Well I can actually provide that! At the same time as I launched my site, I was asked to deal with the queries from another site
not owned by me but by another agent in a different town who was also trying to sell homes here. The site has almost the same domain name - mine is .com the other is otherwise they are identical.
At the time my .com site was of course PR0 as it was new, the other was PR3. In addition to answering email queries I was given the passwords
for full control of the site and had intended updating it, but never got around to it because of other committments.
Anyway, that site was not only above mine in PR but also very high in SERPs. I have done no new link building for it whatsover,
all I have done is change some of the property adverts.
During the 7 seven months since then my .com site has gone to PR2, then 3 and in November reached PR4. The
site stayed at PR3 until November, when it dropped to PR2. It still does well in SERPS but .com has overtaken it for some searches.

For this period, considering two sites which are aimed at the same market and one has had a lot of link building work and one has not,
I think this is good information. I do not think you will find a more direct comparison anywhere. just substitute for .com to view the other site.

An interesting comparison. :slight_smile:

Sorry for two seperate postings, but I felt the two points you raised should be answered individually.

By “naturally” do you mean without any SEO including link building? That on its content alone, my site would (eventually) have reached
the same position it is now? Maybe so, but isn’t the whole point of SEO to get to the best position as quickly as possible and then stay there, otherwise what is it for?

Probably not, or at least not as quickly. I have a site that started nowhere about 4 years ago and reached PR4 with no effort on my part at all (it has been dormant for about 2 years). Each year I notice that it’s gone up one PR level … not that that means much, mind you. I haven’t checked its SERP results in a long time, but for a while it was certainly going up without me doing anything.

It will interesting to see what happens to your site at the next review then, given Google’s November update which apparently makes provision for freshness of content.

Hm, people have talked about the importance of that for years. They have also talked about the importance of relevant backlinks (that is, from sites with related content). SEO seems to be about as inexact as a science can be … except maybe for predicting stock market movements (and perhaps the weather in my very changeable city). :slight_smile:

Not really, SEO is pretty simple compared to that. Google want to show their own users quality so if you can figure out what signals would indicate that other people think that your resource is good qaulity and useful and then fake those signals, you’ll rank well. Easier said than done of course but not difficualt to understand.

I’ve just watch a brand new site that had settled at #13 in the SERP move steadily up to #1 AND #2 and stay there for the targeted phrase following some simple link building I did. It’s a commercial legal site that no one would ever link to voluntarily. It’s not like there is any doubt about the importance of link building in SEO circles but there seems to be on this forum. That’s when discussions about it can get past the antispam crowd.

Can you link your site Ralph?

Great chat guys :slight_smile:

Could you give us more detail about these links and how you got them? Were they from relevant sites, dofollow or nofollow, blog comments etc.

What are your feelings on links and link quality? Are lots of low quality links as good as a few so called high quality links?

Directories, articles, some private sites, a mixture of follow and nofollow. I tried to make it look like natural link acquisiton. No blogs although I’m not against doing that, it’s just too time consuming.

It’s situationally dependent and almost impossible to quantify. Only Google have the information to answer that.

Thanks for clarifying that. That’s pretty much my link building strategy although I have also recently tried using an automated service with fairly promising results so far. Getting a new site to #1 is a good result though, i’ve rarely had that happen (unless the phrase I was targetting wasn’t too competitive)

And I bet they won’t answer that for us!

It wasn’t a particularly competitive phrase or the links would have needed to be correspondingly stronger. I’ve never achieved any rankings that I’d be super impressed by if someone else had got them, I tend to go with medium strength stuff and shot gun the SERP rather than focussing on a couple of heavy hitting phrases. It’s easier and all my eggs aren’t in one basket.

Once again, that is basically my strategy. If you pick highly searched but fairly low competition keywords you stand a good chance of getting decent rankings without too much link building. Finding these keywords is the hard part though.