SEO/PPC

Further Proof Google Likes Quality Links Over Quantity?

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January 20, 2014 2 Comments

 

We have all heard it before from someone else in the SEO industry, or even read about it on Search Engine Land, Search Engine Watch, or heard it discussed. But really, how do we know that Google really does like quality links to your website over quantity? In a recent review of several posts that I’ve made here on the Globe Runner blog, I’ve noticed something very interesting: Google Authorship Photo Snippets appear in search results based on quality of links, not necessarily on the quantity of links.

I took a look at 6 blog posts I’ve made here on the Globe Runner blog. Yes, I know this isn’t a very large or statistically relevant sampling, but it’s what I’ve got. And there happens to be some interesting findings if you look at all of these posts and the data that I gathered.

When I first starting gathering all of the data, I wanted to see why certain blog posts of mine are showing the Google Authorship photo snippet, which Mark Traphagen and I have talked about and reviewed on an earlier post. That post is an interesting read, and Mark’s comments are worth reading, as well.

But that’s not what I ended up finding in my quick research regarding these posts. Let’s take a look at all of the information I gathered. Again, it’s not a lot of info, but preliminarily there is one post that stands out: the one that has the most links. But, interestingly enough, there is no Google Authorship photo snippet in the search results.

Google Authorship Photo Snippet Appears
Is Google Authorship Photo Snippet Query Dependent, Not Content Quality or Author Dependent?
http://globerunner.com/google-authorship-photo-snippet-query-dependent-content-quality-author-dependent/
Links to G+ custom URL
49 results in Google for Title in quotes
Majestic: 24 links from 12 domains
Open Site Explorer: 0 backlinks
Ahrefs: 7 backlinks, 6 domains
Listed in SEL searchcap
7 Tweets
15 G +1s
1 Page Authority

Google Authorship Photo Snippet Appears
Google Gives Webmasters Better Search Query Data in Webmaster Tools
http://globerunner.com/google-gives-webmasters-better-search-query-data-webmaster-tools/
Links to G+ custom URL
34 results in Google for Title in quotes
Majestic: 0 backlinks
Open Site Explorer: 0 backlinks
Ahrefs: 0 backlinks
1 tweet
61 G +1s
1 page Authority

No Google Authorship Photo Snippet
How To: Add Do Follow Links on LinkedIn
http://globerunner.com/add-follow-links-linkedin/
Post linked to old G+ Url, not the new one with custom URL.
229 results in Google for Title in quotes
Majestic: 22 backlinks, 10 domains
Open Site Explorer: 9 links, 4 domains
Ahrefs: 17 Links, 7 domains
Mostly social bookmark links, no quality links
28 Tweets
36 G +1s
38 Page Authority

No Google Authorship Photo Snippet
Google Authorship Photo Snippet in Search Results Not Author Dependent
http://globerunner.com/google-authorship-photo-snippet-search-results/
Post didn’t have authorship verified. Now fixed. We’ll see if it eventually shows photo snippet.
32 results in Google for Title in quotes
Majestic: 24 backlinks, 7 domains
Open Site Explorer: 0 links, 0 domains
Ahrefs: 4 backlinks, 1 domain
Mostly social bookmarks, no quality links
3 Tweets
12 G +1s
1 Page Authority

Google Authorship Photo Snippet Appears
10 SEO Posts that Shaped 2013
http://globerunner.com/10-seo-posts-shaped-2013/
Post links to old G+ profile, NOT the new custom URL for G+ profile
235 results in Google for Title in quotes
Majestic: 19 links, 8 domains
Open Site Explorer: 3 links, 1 domain
Ahrefs: 20 backlinks, 8 domains
Mostly social bookmarks, no quality links
30 Tweets
15 G +1s
27 Page Authority

Google Authorship Photo Snippet Appears
New Contributor To A Blog? Here’s What You Need to Do
http://globerunner.com/new-contributor-blog-heres-need/
34 results in Google for Title in Quotes
Majestic: 3 links, 2 domains
Open Site Explorer: 1 link, 1 domain
Ahrefs: 2 links, 2 domains
1 link from an authority site.
44 Tweets
8 G +1s
24 page Authority

So, with all of these posts, I checked the following information:
- whether or not the post has my Google Authorship photo snippet appear
- the title of the post
- the URL of the post
- the number of results in Google for a search with that post title in quotes
- Number of Majestic SEO links to the post
- Number of Open Site Explorer links to the post
- Number of Ahrefs.com links to the post
- whether or not there are any “good” or authority links to the post
- how many Tweets to the post
- how many Google +1s on the post
- the page authority of the post

There was one post in particular, the one about dofollow links to LinkedIn, that has the most links. Yet it still has a low Page Authority after several weeks of being posted. There are really not a lot of quality links to the post. I couldn’t find any links from authority sites to the post. Mainly lower quality social bookmarks to the post (feel free to check the links yourself).

But, what’s interesting to note here is the fact that the Google Authorship Photo Snippet shows up for certain posts and NOT the post that has the most links (by far). In fact, there is a post where the photo snippet appears with only 3 links! One of those links is from an “authority” site or domain Technorati. And, of course, the post that got linked from Search Engine Land also has its Google Authorship Photo Snippet appear in the search results.

So, could this be preliminarily the Google “Author Rank” at work that we’ve all heard about? Perhaps. But from what I can tell, Google shows the photo snippet from Google Authorship with posts when that post has links from sites that have authority and that are trusted. It’s a good thing to have your photo appear in search results: so why not tie that with posts that have good links.

What do you think? Is this proof that you need quality links over a large quantity of links? I personally think so. In fact, whether or not your photo appears in search results can be dependent on ONE link.

Bill Hartzer is Globe Runner’s Senior SEO Strategist. Follow him on Google Plus.

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