There is a huge amount of misconception going on since the existence of the actual “backlink”.  With all the latest improvements in the Google’s algorithm these misconceptions should be cleared so that the correct backlink concepts get understood correctly.

1. The Blindness of the Total Link Counts

A lot of SEO professionals are impressed, and  guided, by the total raw link counts of a site.

I often hear people talking about the number of links a site has, when, in fact, they should talk about the number of referring domains.

Example: Site XYZ has 100k links.  This number is useless … it does not mean anything.

Let’s me put it like this:

It is not about the link counts … it is actually about the referring domains when you try to quickly understand the popularity of a site.

Those 100k links are all coming from 1 referring domain. This isn’t a popular site. It is a link profile generated out of tons of site-wide links. These links do not increase the value of the site at all.

What about, if the site had 1000 links from 300 referring domains.

Much more popular site when you look at the referring domains number.

Forget about the total raw link counts when you try to quickly grasp an overview on the popularity of the site. Referring Domains is the important number.

2. The Natural Unnatural Link Concept

WTF is this?!

How can an unnatural link be natural?

Links, as everything else, should never be put out of context. It’s like taking someone’s phrases out of the discussion. That is called “Fallacy of quoting out of context” and it is the practice of quoting out of context. Usually you get a totally different meaning putting the quote out of the context. And a lot of people do it for various reasons … (but that is another discussion)

The same can be applied to links. Here is a quick example.

First POV – A Link Out of the Context.

Looks like a natural link. What’s wrong with having a forum profile? Nothing. In fact it is recommended to be active on your top industry forums. You will increase your exposure.

Second POV – The same link in the Context of the Link Profile.

Here is the context of the link: 667 links from 249 referring domains. Let me be more accurate. That is 22% of the entire link profile.

So it doesn’t look natural anymore …

Focus on the entire context when you are doing backlink analysis!

3. Google PR is a Great Metric

Google said several times that they intentionally randomize the Google PR on random sites in order to make it harder for webmasters to reverse engineer the quality of a page.

I often hear SEO’s talking about the PR of a site, when they try to qualify the site as a potential link building prospect.

That is the wrong way to do it.(BIG DOT)

Use other metrics in order to quantify the quality of a site. The best metric, is the ranking in Google of that site or page. If the site ranks well, we got a good prospect. If it’s nowhere to be found, ignore it.

Forget about Google PR! It is too misleading.

4. Great Link Analysis Conclusions on Outdated Link Data

This one gives you almost ZERO information, and worst … it can be very misleading.

Did you know that your link profile is made out of LIVE and LOST links.

Live links is obvious, but Lost links are links that once existed and don’t anymore. A tremendous amount of pages become broken every day. Without having a list of freshly crawled data (at least a week old or so) that analysis is not accurate and can be misleading. On a normal site you can easily have a 40% Lost link ratio. If you would include that in your analysis you would have a 40% wrong result.

You should have a system in place that crawls your links on demand and provides you with fresh data, as we do in our toolset, at cognitive.


These are only 4 concepts that a lot of SEO’s still work with without knowing that they might be totally wrong. Hopefully this list will clear these misconceptions and make you a better SEO professional.

I am really interested in your thoughts, and other misconceptions, that you think are still kicking in 2013.