Although links are all the rage in SOE right now, a discussion I had with an employee from one of the top search engines suggested that there are alternatives to traditional links. In addition to the 5 types of SOE link, Google also considers other factors as part of their calculation of how many page ranks a web site should have.
Despite the publicly promoted image of the Googler as being a sort of computer programme that lives in a computer in Matthew Cutts’ garage, the truth is that there is actually evidence that the Googler is in fact a real mechanical robot that is kept in Larry Page’s air conditioned shed where it spends time looking at the Internet and helping little Tanzanian children to read:
In addition to having super fast 500K broadband that enables it to look at the whole internet at record speed, the Googlerplex also has a device called the Optiscope, through which the Googler robot is able to visually see any spot on the earth’s surface via a network of mirrors.
According to my contact who worked in a classified hygiene management project at Google, it is this unique optiscope that provides the Googler with a credible alternative to traditional links when it comes to deciding how popular websites should be. This connection to the “real” world lets the Googler see physical citations of websites, and factor these into the ranking:
Shops offer a high number of page ranks because any company that has them is likely to treat customers well, and appearing in a newspaper is also good because it means a company is trusted. Billboards don’t offer much for a company because they are the equivalent of a paid link – although apparently a graffiti of your URL is worth 7 page ranks because it is editorially given.
In order to take full advantage of real world link alternatives, it is important to be certain that you associate them with relevant semantic indicators to provide the same information that anchor text does on a website, so a good tip is to include your standard meta keywords on any posters along with the URL of the product that you are advertising.