Link Placement: An Oft-Ignored Part of Website SEO

There are a lot of very complex and detailed rules in the labyrinthine world of off-website SEO. Off-site SEO can be reduced to a few short instructions — build backlinks that will last from authoritative websites that offer controllable anchor text and have high PageRank — but that’s really just the absolute basics. There are many other factors to consider in getting that precious first page placement out of your SEO efforts.

Anchor text is an obvious one — without the right anchor text, a link won’t help you rank for a specific keyword. LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing), the process by which Google determines if a page is actually about your keyword by checking for natural variations and related phrases, is also critically important to maximizing your link juice. Even the page your link points to — often a landing page, but sometimes a ‘deep’ page a few layers into your site — has an impact on the SEO value of a given backlink.

But one thing that few experts seem to have figured out is that the actual placement of a link on a page matters. With all other factors exactly the same, Google will give more link juice to a backlink that’s at the top of a page than it will give to one at the bottom. The difference isn’t nearly as big as, say, the difference between posting from a brand new Terapad page and posting from an established authority site like — but it’s still measurable and thus important.

The takeaway lesson here comes in two parts: the practical part and the philosophical part.

The practical part is simple: if you have a choice between posting your backlink early in a page or posting it at the bottom, choose early. There are actually many occasions when you can (making a Squidoo page, for example), but equally as many where you can’t (EzineArticles). If you can’t, don’t stress out about it — but if you can, get it done.

The philosophical part is also simple: don’t ever think you’ve mastered the intricacies of SEO — there are always more details to Google’s algorithm than any of us can know.