Frequently Asked Questions

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of helping you match your products and services with potential customers who are searching for them via search engines. The closer you are to the top of search result pages, the more visitors you will have to your website. As a matter of fact, the top 3 Google search results get 75.1% of all clicks! While there are other search engines, Google accounts for over 90% of all global search engine traffic, and the same kinds of things you do to improve your search rankings with Google will usually help you improve your results in other search engines, so marketers often just refer to improving search results in Google.

The most significant factor that Google uses to determine what to rank closer to the top of their search results is the number and quality of links that point to your site. SEO experts agree that getting these links is the hardest part of SEO. Why? Because the best kinds of links are the ones that come from sites that you have no editorial control over. The art and science of getting these links to pages on your site is often referred to as link building.

Links are the single most important ranking factor Google uses to determine what to put at the top of their search results. However, not all links are created equally. Let’s go over some of the most important factors that influence link quality.


1. Site Authority

The more authoritative a site is, the more value a link from that site will be. For example, a link from nytimes.com will be much more valuable that a link from stevesfavoritetacos.blogspot.com. While we don’t know exactly how Google defines site authority, one of the biggest factors is how many authoritative backlinks point to a site. We like to use ahrefs Domain Rating (DR) as a good approximation for site authority.


2. Page Authority

Not all pages on a website have the same level of authority. Pages with more links to them have more authority, and therefore pass more of that authority to the links on that page. We like to use ahrefs URL Rating (UR) as a good approximation for page authority.


3. Page Relevance

Google takes into account the relevance of the page when determining the amount of authority to pass on. For example, a huge commercial farmer linking to their favorite seed supplier will be considered highly relevant. It will be given more weight than that same farmer’s link to their favorite vacation planner.


4. Editorial control

Google places a higher value on links that are placed by companies that retain full editorial control of the link. This means that forum posts, wikis, sponsored posts, links in comments, etc. don’t carry as much weight as a link in the main body of a regular page or post.


There are other factors that can influence the quality of a link, such as number of links on the page (fewer is better), location of link on the page (closer to the top is better), anchor text, dofollow/nofollow, etc., but these four are the most significant factors to consider when evaluating link quality.

We never pay for links. Other agencies will often pay for links whenever it makes financial sense for the agency. This is a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, and can lead to a manual penalty for your website, which means that Google could remove some pages or your whole site from their search results.

Using email outreach. We develop a strategy, compile a list of websites to target, find the right person to email about it, and then send a series of emails and follow-ups asking them politely if they’d like to link to your site. Usually the whole process is managed via email, but sometimes people want to get on the phone to make sure there are real humans involved. There are a number of different reasons someone might want to link to your website. Maybe they already mentioned your brand, but didn’t include a link, or maybe they have a link to old, outdated or broken content and we suggest they swap it out for something more current from your page. Or perhaps they have a list of resources that your site would fit on naturally. Regardless of the strategy employed, we are always asking someone else to make a change on their website that they control.

White-hat link building means that we follow Google’s Webmaster Guidelines for the right ways to get links to your site. We only employ white-hat tactics. That keeps us safe in the long-term, as you aren’t running the risk that Google will “catch on” to your tactics and give you a manual penalty, or that you’ll be negatively impacted by algorithm updates.

Gray hat techniques are not specifically approved or prohibited by Google.

Black-hat tactics are those that have been specifically prohibited by Google or other search engines.  Here are some examples:

Exchanging money for links, or posts that contain links; exchanging goods or services for links; or sending someone a “free” product in exchange for them writing about it and including a link
Excessive link exchanges (“Link to me and I’ll link to you”) or partner pages exclusively for the sake of cross-linking
Using automated programs or services to create links to your site
Adding links unnaturally in forum posts, comments, wikis, or in author profile

When you work with RankSmarts, you can rest assured that we only use white-hat tactics that will help you maintain your search position long after we’ve stopped working with you.

Take a look at the pricing page which explains pricing in great detail.

Send an email to [email protected], or give him a call at (479) 275-0300. Alternatively, you can schedule a consultation here.