Link Relevancy: The Seven Degrees of Separation

Oct 3, 2006 • 9:18 am | comments (5) by twitter | Filed Under Link Building Tips & SEO

Link building is usually the most time-consuming part of an SEO engagement. Search engine optimization requires not only focusing on the still-King “content,” but on gaining authoritative inbound links. You don't have to believe me, just look at what Google says in its Webmaster Guidelines:

In general, webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by increasing the number of high-quality sites that link to their pages.
Google even goes so far as to have two very vocal and helpful emissaries to the community, guiding us to the rights and wrongs of building links. Sometime, though, people get too focused on trying not to do the wrong thing.

A thread at Cre8asite Forums from a few weeks ago takers a nice hypothetical example and draws some interesting suggestions. The original poster asks if he wants to link to a "football boot" site, should he consider a link from a hiking boot site? The answers are very helpful, and most of the other posters agree that the hiking boot site would be relevant. Senior members Joe Dolson and Adrian provide a glimpse into how many experts vary in their performance of the task of finding relevant sites, which I consider to be looking for the "seven degrees of separation."

Joe suggests that the individual words in the focus keyword phrase should be analyzed for relevancy:

..."blue raincoats" and "blue heeler". One site is about outdoor gear, the other is about dogs. Blue is NOT a significant relating factor. However: "dancing lessons" and "dancing slippers" or "dancing lessons" and "piano lessons" are both reasonably relevant.
Adrian says that if he is looking for links for a hiking boot site, he would not consider the football boots to be relevant. I feel Adrian may be in the minority on this subject.

A “seven degrees of separation line exercise” for the term "football boots" could go something like this: "Football boots > football socks > sporting gear > football clubs > local football organizations > state/county football organization > national football organization" Yes some may argue this particular seven degrees in the comments, but in my opinion each is somewhat relevant to the other. This "seven degree line" is a great exercise in thinking out of the box...and that is what is required to gain those links beyond the 4th or 5th month when all the hyper-relevant links have been either achieved or denied. I do hope that others will share an example of a hypothetical seven degree line in the comments.

Join the discussion at Cre8asite Forums.

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10/03/2006 03:02 pm

I find this extremely interesting. I remember a while back when we were in a blizzard I was wishing I had spiked golf shoes to walk on the ice. Outdoor winter shoes=golf shoes? Seven degrees for "football boots" here is mine. "football boots > football cleats > football socks > soccer socks > soccer cleats > world cup soccer > the super bowl" Whoops maybe I got carried away or did I?


10/03/2006 03:37 pm

Nice topic, Here are my seven degrees for football boots Football Boots ---> Foot Care ---> Orthopedic Footwear ---> Sports Podiatry ---> Podiatry Clinics ---> Podiatry Physicians - Podiatry Insurance


10/03/2006 06:02 pm

"Link building is usually the most time-consuming part of an SEO engagement." depends on how you define time spent building links. I find that I spend less and less of my time in the traditional link monkey or link ninja role. Instead I focus on creating SMO link worthy content. It's Link-static! (err, Comedy Central I'm not) Also see:

Chris Boggs

10/04/2006 01:09 am

awesome thanks everyone for sharing...keep 'em coming! :) TMS I agree that building content to attract social tagging/bookmarking is a good alternative and additional method to traditional "monkey-ing." However the basics must never be forgotten. Would you give up on submitting to Y! Directory or DMOZ, and solely rely on social sites? I am not knocking the idea, like I said, but you still have to do the grunt work, IMO.


11/27/2010 08:04 am

Links make the World Wide Web go round. Links are how we get from place to place on the web and they're the vehicle that allows us access to an infinite amount of information

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