Ever wonder why small websites often outrank large websites? There are many factors that affect keyword ranking. But, for the purposes of this post, I’m going to talk about using only OpenSiteExplorer to examine backlinks.
A lot of the time a smaller site can outrank a larger site is from the inbound link profile. Even though a large brand might have more inbound links, they might not be optimized for a specific keyword or phrase. The smaller site could be doing a better job in looking like the authority to Google from inbound linking.
To begin, we need to understand what a root domain is. A root domain is just the domain name .com. Everything after the .com isn’t the root anymore. So for example, if you got a sitewide footer link on MTV, your textlink would be on millions of pages. But, only 1 root domain.
You can use OpenSiteExplorer to examine root domains vs total links. You can do this a couple of ways. By either analyzing the domains ONLY. Or, first see which URL appears in the SERP’s for the keyword. Then, use OpenSite Explorer to analyze the root domains vs total links on the specific page that’s ranking. Sometimes this doesn’t tell the whole story because a site can have the keyword as the domain name, like Diapers.com.
Randomly, I’ve chosen to look at the #1 and #2 ranking websites for “funny videos”.
Here is a screenshot of the Google Search results page (SERP):
Here is the domain comparison:
We’ll use OpenSiteExplorer again to analyze the Anchor Text Distribution of Break.com:
In case you can’t read the image above, Break.com has:
Total Links containing the exact text 24,169.
Linking root domains containing exact anchor text is 3026.
Here is the Anchor Text Distribution for FunnyorDie:
In case you can’t read the image above, FunnyorDie has:
Total Links containing the exact text 20,343.
Linking root domains containing exact anchor text is 4351.
The argument can be made, that although a large amount of linking root domains is important to ranking well, it’s more important to outnumber them in Total Links containing the exact anchor text.
It’s really not this simple anymore. Don’t be deceived to think that all it takes to rank well is to just get more optimized textlinks. Google Mayday changed the rules. Google Mayday was a very significant algorithm update in 2010, which included over 500 changes regarding relevancy score calculations.
Now, it’s become imperative to generate a more diversified pattern of inbound links from authoritative, relevant websites than your competition. And, those links need to deep link into your website, not just the homepage.
Also, it’s not just about Total links. There is a heavy emphasis on the number of root domains. I’ve seen similar competitive websites in various industries, and a 5:1 ratio seems to be the sweet spot for ranking. 5 links to every root domain.
Needless to say, Link development and SEO Consulting have become more complex as time goes by. I want to make sure you get the biggest bang for your buck. Go get’em tiger. Happy linking