If we ask the question, what is the #1 thing you can do to improve your search engine rankings? In the blink of an eye, you’d say that it’s links.

And you would be right. No matter what Google does to try to convince us that “quality content” is the only way to go, links are still the be-all and end-all of building your online presence.

However, not all links are treated equally. Quite obviously, links from better domains and sites carry more value than links from hastily created WordPress blogs. Everyone knows this. And the more quality links your page secures, the better search engine position it will obtain, right?

In a word, yes. That is all true. But it actually goes a lot deeper than this.

Although domain quality and overall domain metrics (such as PR, age, etc.) do matter, it turns out that what is a lot more important are the metrics of a specific page that you’re getting the link from.

Let’s say this again. It’s not necessarily the domain that’s important here, but the individual page that grants you the link.

And it does make sense if we think about it. After all, some of the largest sites on the web, like Huffington Post, Mashable, and others, have thousands of pages on them. Google knows very well that not all of those pages should be treated equally, and therefore not all of them will pass the same link juice onto your site.

For example, if you’ve done your research and figured out that getting a link from Site X is a great idea (due to the site’s reputation), you should also evaluate what exact page would be the best candidate to get that link from.

For instance, if Site X publishes 10 articles per day then each of those new pages carries very little SEO value for you. In other words, sending in a guest post that contains a link pointing back to your site, won’t always be a worthwhile investment.

In the worst case scenario, that guest article will never get the chance to build any traction (purely because there are nine other articles published that day) and will be quickly buried in the archives. As a result, Google won’t even end up paying any significant attention to that article, hence giving you only minimal SEO benefits.

If, on the other hand, you manage to get a link from a page that’s already popular within Site X then it’s a whole different story. This Google will notice.

(By the way, thanks to Calvin Ayre for the original idea.)

To some extent, SEO has always been a numbers game, but it hasn’t been strictly about the size of our link profiles.

When using tools like Market Samurai, Moz, and others, you will very often stumble upon search results pages where the site with the largest link profile isn’t the highest ranking one. That’s because the sites that are on top have managed to build better links, and that’s even when they come from the same domains (which is often the case).

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