A recent German backlink study by Link Research Tools shows that a mixed basket of incoming links are still very important. Their findings indicate in-content links might be correlated with negative search engine rankings the latest months and we’re here trying to explain the whole story why that is not the whole truth.
Strong and trusted links are key
The new study shows that most Penguin update winners have a large amount of medium quality links and double as many strong and highly trusted backlinks as the Penguin losers. Often, the losers have a very low amount of trusted backlinks, which is perhaps not a big surprise for most SEO specialists. The average loser in the latest Google update have 1/3 of the power and 1/4 of the Cemper trust compared to the winners. While both the most successful and biggest losers seems to have backlinks from link directories, the winners appears to have a considerable lower level of contextual links.
Surprising result for in-content links?
According to the latest link research, the losers have over 60 % of links from in-content, while Penguin winners only have in average 20 % in-content links. Earlier studies and recommendations among SEO’s have been to increase the percentage of content backlinks, while trying to lower the share of directory links. So are in-content links something bad according to this study? Our team at SEO Specialist still believes they are an important part of any link building strategy. In-content links are still very useful and relevant and definitive not something to minimise (considering your link profile is rather normal from the beginning).
The most likely reason a high percentage of in-content links are somewhat correlated with lower search engine ranking after the Penguin update are because they have unnatural backlinks with too many exact match anchor text. It’s simply easier to manipulate contextual links compared to many other types of links. However, Google’s updated algorithm is going to detect this kind of behavior and it’s high time for many webmasters to change their link building behavior.