Are All Links Valued the Same

Today’s post is a question from Jason who asks the following question:

Are all links really the same? If a link statistically according to SEOMOZ or other tools, PR, trust, rank, etc, are the same, are they really the same in the eyes of Google?

The easy answer is no. The explanation is bit more involved. Any tool or service that is not put out by Google  is going to fall somewhere between a really good approximation and an educated guess because, at the very least, Google has access to a lot of information. Since the general public doesn’t isn’t using the same data, it’s impossible for them to come up with the same answer.

Here’s an example: this is a link to the website for Cake Boss, a popular cooking show about cake decorating. Here’s a link to page about the merger of the Internet Public Library and the Librarians Internet Index. If you look at both pages, they have a pagerank of four. However, that value doesn’t show the trust and authority scores. Anyone who has been around SEO for a while knows that getting a link from IPL.org is a really big deal, and it’s one of the sites Google really trusts. That’s the value that an experienced SEO can bring to the table.

Now I’m not knocking SEOMOZ or any other tools. I use the SEOMOZ tools on a regular basis and am a paid member. But we know that Google has internal scores for a website’s trust and authority. Without being able to see them directly, it requires experience and bit of guesswork to try and figure them out for yourself. Most tools are not sophisticated enough to manage those calculations.

So, at the end of the day, you need to use your brain. Don’t just blindly follow what any tool or report says. Things may look equal on the surface but there may be underlying differences that require you to dig to find the truth.
photo credit: C~

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