Value of Link Placement – SEO Case Study #2

We all know that links have different values depending on the websites they come from, pages they come from and of course placement on the page. As a part of our SEO Survey we had a question: “Rate the weight a link has based on its position on a page.” We wanted to find out what people, link builders and webmasters, consider being the best location for a link on a page. Of course this also requires diversity just like everything else regarding link building, but you need to know where to place your links.

In my personal experience the best type of links come from the content, it can be a link near the top, but preferably not in the first paragraph or somewhere in the middle of the article. Of course you need to think about the text surrounding the link as well as the anchor text. So let’s take a look at what people think is the most valuable location to place a link on a page.

link positioning & link placement

As you can see from the graph above people tend to agree that content is the best place to have a link, which is actually a no brainer. The only issue here is if the link should be placed anywhere within the content or near the top. I think it doesn’t have much of a difference; you can place it near the top, but avoid linking from the first few sentences.

Header seems to be the 3rd choice, and then logically followed by sidebar and footer at the end. Which is just a logical way of thinking if you consider two things, natural link placement, it is very natural to have a link within content, and after that the most natural place to have a link is the sidebar. Obviously some people think that the order in which search engines look at the links (from top to bottom) is more important than the natural feel of the link. My personal opinion is that a link from the sidebar can be more valuable than a link from the header as it is not natural to have anchor text link there, maybe an image link. But try to limit your sidebar links to homepage only or certain categories. You can no follow the links on other pages in WordPress via plugin, and if you have an HTML website just place the links where you want, but try not to make them site-wide either way.

Let’s take a look at the same graph and answers based on the opinion of professionals and beginners.

Professional Opinion on Link Placement

Link positioning professional opinion

Beginners Opinion on Link Placement

link positioning beginners opinion

As you can see they are almost identical, the slight difference is between header values, professionals tend to value header links a bit less, my guess is due to experience and already said above. But the order is still the same, so the bottom line is that we should all look for in content links as much as we can, but also keep an eye out for diversity with link placement as well.

We won’t go into detail as to what people think based on each of the locations for a link. They were pretty much straight forward with their answers and the results are pretty much the same as pictured on the graphs above. Next week we will present our findings on most important factors for domain trust and authority, which requires a bit more explaining as the answers were not as straightforward as they were here.

In the SEO Experts answer article we came to a conclusion that guest posts work wonder, and with the survey results here saying that in-content links are of the greatest value you can pretty much draw a conclusion on what you need to target the most in your link building efforts. Try to keep it as natural as you can, diversify anchor texts, locations of the links as well as websites and blogs those links are coming from and you will see the results you want for sure.


About The Author

is the founder and CEO of Practical SEO and also a passionate blogger. All of his free time he dedicates to his Practical SEO blog and giving free advice as well as participating in the blogging community.

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9 Response to Value of Link Placement – SEO Case Study #2

  1. Amanda Gordon@Vacuum Cleaners on June 27, 2011

    Great analysis of the value of different types of comment.

    As more and more people are using software (scrapebox, sick, xrumer), I guess the value of in-context links will continue to be high. The best part of of your advice is about diversifying anchor texts. Gone are the days of booking an EMD and sending it tons of links using a single anchor text and seeing it rank in a short time.

  2. TrafficColeman on June 27, 2011

    Its no doubt a link in the top part of the content is the best, for one its the place peopel start when reading any website.

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  3. Richard Glasspoole@money guide on June 27, 2011

    I usually pick the first paragraph but not the first sentence. From an SEO perspective, I was taught, the top part of your content is surely the best and diversifying works like magic.

  4. Zarko on June 27, 2011

    Hi Richard,

    you were though well, the thing is that going just for one type of link will sooner or later become suspicious, doesn’t matter if we are talking about link placement, single anchor text or type of link, which is why we need to diversify everything. Luckily, not everyone will let us post a link at the beginning of an article :)

  5. Mark @ TheBitBot Organic SEO & SEM Blog on June 27, 2011

    Definitely contextual…i.e. in the first paragraph. Once of the main reasons being, of course, context and determining if the anchor text is really relevant.

    I know Google has been spending a lot of $$$ trying to nail a formula for this.

    Mark

  6. DiNaRa on June 28, 2011

    Hardly anyone reads a post till the end and that is why it is quite logical to place a link the earlier the better. you have a chance that your link will be caught and it will work.

  7. Felicia @ No Deposit Poker on June 30, 2011

    Hi Zarko,
    I’m not sure why, but I hardly place any links on the header. I prefer to place them mostly on the body content and the footer. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel more comfortable placing them there.

  8. Martin@CDL Practice Test on July 8, 2011

    From a SEO point of view i agree that content links are valuable, but from a user’s point of of view i’m not so sure. I never click on content links because i don’t stop reading at those points. Probably because there are some bloggers that abuse them and you end up with ten links in 400 words, where you have to hoover over them to see where they actually take if you don’t want to click a useless link.

  9. Domain Name Newsletter on November 9, 2011

    I have considered links in the header ….. just does not seem like a natural place to have them.

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