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JohnW, post: 50056 wrote:
Hi Gabe

I’m confused…

I just tried the search phrase “railway sleepers Sydney” and here are a few ranking results with their external links numbers.

401 http://www.sydneycampervanhire.com.au 234 external links
4 http://www.turtlenursery.com.au 132 external links
1 http://www.statewidesleepers.com.au 9 external links

Are external links good or bad for a page’s search ranking? :)


Hi John,

I’ve always really respected your opinions on SEO, but this example seems really strange to me, as no-one is suggesting that the number of links is the only relevant SEO factor. I think you are barking up the wrong tree here.

Google Algorithm is complex and takes into account page content, page structure (Heading tags, title tag etc etc) as well as incoming links. It works out if the page is relevant for the search term, and if the page is a valuable resource both overall and related to the search term. You can have 1 million links, but if the search term isn’t very relevant to your page you won’t rank for it, that’s logical. But if there are two highly relevant sites, the one with more quality and quantity of inbound links will win

http://www.sydneycampervanhire.com.au – search term doesn’t appear on the page at all. Topic theme is not match to search term. Of the search terms, Railway only appears once on the page, in the address (Railway parade). Of the terms in your search, only Sydney appears in title tags, description etc. In URL match only for word “Sydney”

http://www.turtlenursery.com.au – search term does not appear on the page. “Railway sleepers” only appears once. Not in title etc. Page about lots of things this is one minor item in a list. Search words not in URL.

http://www.statewidesleepers.com.au – Railway sleepers Sydney does not appear on the page, but Railway Sleepers does appear three times, plus the singular in the title, plus the word Sydney.

I’m going to do an experiment and I predict within 48 hours I can rank my blog top 5 for that term. This may seem to prove to relevant content rules bit as it won’t be based on links (much), but it will just show how poor most site’s SEO is!

Lets see how I go, I may have to eat my hat!