Referring link characteristics influence your search engine success...

If you want maximum search position performance for your site, make sure that external links pointing back to you meet certain criteria as spelled out below:

Crawler and Visitor Accessible - the reciprocal link should be on a page that is directly accessible from the home page of the link partner website. Ideally, your link will be up near the top of the link page as well. This is because Crawlers first go to the home page of a site (usually named "index.html" or "default.htm") and then determine what pages to index from there. Since most crawlers limit how many characters to "read" on each page - and for the entire site - it is best if your link is near the "source of origin" - the home page - from which the crawling process begins. If your link is on a page that is "buried" 2 or 3 levels down and/or is way down near the bottom of the page - it is possible that it may not be "read & indexed" within the allotted constraints of the Crawler… thus rendering your link worthless for adding any index strength to your site.

Static Page Host - the page hosting your link must be "static" or the Crawler will never see it. Static pages exist within the assigned directory for your website on a web server and are "readable" by any Crawler that visits it. If your link is on a "dynamic" page - a page that is generated "on the fly" from a template and a database, only when a browser calls for it, then as far as the Crawler is concerned - that page doesn't exist. In fact, the page really doesn't exist on the web. It only exists for a brief period of time on your machine. When you leave that page - functionally speaking, it disappears forever. Crawlers don't visit your machine. They only visit web servers. If the link page isn't on the server, then your link isn't there - and so no indexing benefit accrues to your site.

How can you tell if your link is being hosted on a page that is dynamic? While it IS possible to hide this fact through the use of Frames, you will usually see the page name ending with a suffix that is not ".htm" or ".html". The most common extensions for dynamically generated pages are ".cfm", ".php" and ".asp".

No Frames - as implied above. If your link shows up on a "framed" page, then it is on a page that is part of another page that simply references the header, left side, bottom, body - and sometimes, the right side of the page as other pages. This confuses search engine indexing robots and usually does not provide a successful index capture experience.

Domain Host - the page hosting your link must be a part of the domain that the referring website is under. This would mean that the URL of the page starts with the domain name and ends with the name of the (static) page hosting your link.

For example, if your link partner website is and the links page is links.html, then the URL of the page hosting your link should be  

If it was not, and the link partner's page showed up as something like   - then this would indicate that the reciprocal links were being managed "off site", probably with a special service provider or on a "link farm" catering to website owners that didn't want to manage their own link pages.

In this example, we appended the ".php" suffix instead of the ".html" suffix to show (as would likely be the case) that the link page was dynamically generated and therefore couldn't be indexed. Even if it wasn't, though, the value of the link as a building block of index ranking would be largely negated because the link did not reside within the domain ( of your link partner.

Anchor Text - although not absolutely required, if the referring link is part of a paragraph that describes what your site does, while also "bridging" the content of your site with that of the link partner site - then this gives a strong boost to establishing the relevancy of the link partner site to the content of your website.

Usually, we (NetPath) control this by providing link partner with anchor text for our SEO clients - and even the formatting code to present your link within the anchor text of your choice. For example, a link on a mortgage broker link partner website pointing back to your Realtor website might look something like this:

  • " - If you're a homeowner looking for prime Real Estate in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, after your loan is pre-approved by us for the mortgage loan of your choice, call Dan Ellis of Texas Realtor - experienced Realtor representing homeowners and home buyers in Tarrant County and Dallas County, TX since 1982."

Call (949) 307-3013 for a 'no obligation' consultation...

Key Link Criteria...
  • Accessible from Home page
  • Only one level down
  • Near top of page
  • Static web page, and...
  • NOT dynamically generated
  • No Frames
  • Link from the Partner domain
  • Have good link anchor text