Indexing vs. Crawling – Backlinks Explained

Backlinks are really the foundation of search engine optimization, and there are really hundreds of different types and sources your website could be getting backlinks from.  Anything from blog comments to profile links, social bookmarks and RSS feeds, web 2.0′s  blah blah blah, you take the time and you’ll build a diversified and complex link wheel for any website. There is definitely plenty of information on where and how to get backlinks on this site, but a question I hear pretty often is , “how do you know that your inbound links have been ‘counted’? “.  The first answer would be that they must be indexed, BUT through experiments and tests we know that links that are not indexed STILL pass-on a certain amount of link juice to your website.  Which makes absolute sense because Google/Yahoo would not want to show all their inbound linking data and info about a specific website, that would be much easier to manipulate.  Matt Cutts has made that clear in a number of interviews, so they show a “portion” of the link wheel that supports any domain and they may do this to show the best average of backlinks.  No one is exactly sure and unless you work at Google we’ll never know, and if you do please email me
We know that Google does not show all of your backlinks in webmaster tools and will constantly re-evaluate, de-index and shift weights around on all your inbound links.  This will happen because a backlink gains more popularity or goes stale and is dropped from the SERPs, all sorts of different changes that happen constantly to the search engines “environment” of data.  This is where there are a lot of differing opinions on how indexing vs. crawling of backlinks vary.
Indexed Backlinks:
  • In-bound links that are showing in Google webmaster tools, Yahoo Site Explorer and/or SEO software
  • Links that are showing in Google would be considered highest value
  • You know that your receiving maximum benefits from that backlink
Crawled Backlinks:
  • Inbound links that have been pinged and crawled by search engine spiders
  • Carry “some” weight, but no one is sure how much compared to indexed links
  • Usually these links do not have much “content” associated with the link, more content (when relevant) is going to help improve the association and worth of a backlink pointing toward your main site
SEO Tips for Getting your Backlinks Indexed:
  • Always Ping  – use, Feedshark, list pings)
  • Setup an RSS feed with all your backlinks in them so spiders can crawl the feed regularly
  • Build a 2nd tier of backlinks pointing at your 1st tier links (2nd tier can be much worse quality)
  • Bookmarking Demon/Xrumer/Scrapebox are excellent resources for building a variety of 2nd tier links to get your primary/high quality 1st tier backlinks indexed
When blasting 2nd tier backlinks that point at your 1st tier, quality does not matter and who cares if your 1st tier properties get “sandboxed”, they’ll still pass on the link juice!!
No matter what, we know that having ONE backlink is better than NONE.  Just make sure to keep your backlinks in good neighborhoods, try to associate relevance and unique content with every link you make.  Whether its a small relation like a “business directory” or geographically, just stay away from spammed and junk websites that will effect your trust and rank negatively.  If you are having trouble getting your web2.0 properties and such indexed, definitely focus on building an RSS for those that can be “dripped” pings consistently, then I would look to start creating your 2nd tier or links.  Again, this is where I would really recommend a tool like Bookmarking Demon or Scrapebox, you can blast thousands and thousands of blog comments, bookmark submissions, Pligg sites, etc so that your main links are picked up and also this will distribute more link juice to your main site down the chain.  This has really become the standard of the SEO industry recently, especially after Google’s algorithm changes which have made it much more difficult to use poor quality/junk backlinks to rank for your keywords.  Its better to build lower quantity, high quality link properties and then build a foundation of linking toward those.  Look for more backlinking tips, strategies, and techniques every week from

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