One of the greatest myths in the SEO world is that backlinks to a site are only relevant if they come from other sites in the same niche. In other words, if I were promoting a “dog training” site, backlinks from non-dog related websites would be useless.
Not much could be further from the truth however.
I got an interesting email from Angela Edwards yesterday (you probably know her from her famous high PR backlink packs… I believe she was the first to ever sell them) and with her permission I am going to post a portion of that email below.
She hit the nail RIGHT on it’s head. After reading through it I know you too will agree!
“You’ve probably heard from various sources that the best backlinks you can get for your website are “relevant” backlinks. However, has the person who told you that actually shown you hard evidence that can be duplicated by anyone that this is true?
Relevance or “theme-related” backlinks:
This is another myth that gets passed around a lot. Sure, it’s good to have relevant links and Google recommends it, but links that are not “relevant” also count. Have you ever seriously looked at the backlinks that a Major Authority site has? Many of them would not be considered “relevant”, and there are hundreds of different types of blogs listed, usually.
The Drudge Report was put on the “map” the day he broke the news that President Clinton was having an…er, indiscretion with a young intern named Monica Lewinsky. THOUSANDS (maybe even HUNDREDS of thousands) of sites linked to him that day. Many of them were not in his “niche”.
About two years ago I challenged my Physical Therapist (I have an old ankle injury) that I could get him on Page One of Google for his keywords. He was at the bottom of Page 6. I did his links one night and then went to
bed. The next day I got up and checked and he was NUMBER ONE in Google for ALL his keywords. Not one of the sites I added his link to was “relevant” for Physical Therapy or even Health and Wellness. Yet they still worked that well that fast. And his site is STILL in the number one position; more than two years later.
You often see “Yellow Page” sites linking to major businesses. Now, you and I, being humans, can understand why a site like that might link to a business’ website, but do you really think a Search Engine’s algorithm can make that determination? What if there was a “community portal” site that linked to all the businesses in the area? What about directories? What “niche” are they in? Search Engines do not and cannot determine whether all the sites linking to other sites “make sense” (relevant) or not.
The search engines would have to know what is “relevant” and that will take a LOT of human interaction. A site for parents might link to a veterinarian’s website because the site has a warning about a certain flea medication being poisonous to children, Yellow Pages websites might link to businesses in the area, the Fire Department’s website might link to the PUD (Electric Company) because of a warning about electrical sparks, the Food Bank might link to the local High School because of a huge food drive the kids did…see what I mean? To determine “relevance” would take CONSTANT human interaction on all the TRILLION webpages on the Internet. Many Web 2.0 sites’ only “relevance” to anybody is the ‘community factor’ that they provide. Theme-wise, many of those sites aren’t “relevant” to most niches.
I’m number two out of 315 million sites for the keyword “Angela”. If the backlinks that got me there HAD to be “Angela-related”, how do you think I would find enough Angela-backlinks to get me to the top for a word THAT competitive? It would be a daunting task, if it were even possible, I can assure you of that.
If you leave out great sites because they are not “relevant” to your niche, you are leaving a lot of money on the table. I’d use them all.
When folks tell you things about backlinks that are supposedly “gospel truth”, ask them to show you evidence that YOU can duplicate. If they can’t show you this evidence, then don’t necessarily believe what they say until you check it out for yourself.”
I too tested the theory and fact is, the SEO advantage always came from the authority behind the site that my backlink was on, never because the site was niche related. Does that make sense?
With that though I should point out the obvious: a backlink does not have a whole lot of value unless it is your keyword linking back to your site.
In short: you get more value from placing keyword hyperlinked backlinks on authority sites than niche related sites.
Have you done any testing in this regard? If so, what results did you get?
I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback below!