Backlinks are Like References

Today’s analogy compares resumes and references to websites and links. I’ll translate afterwards, but something tells me you’ll get it as we’re going along.

Scenario: You’re conducting interviews and have two candidates who have applied for the job. They are both qualified and have excellent resumes. They are clean, well organized, use proper grammar and both candidates have previous experience that is relevant to the position for which you are hiring. They both seem equally qualified and capable to do the job. But when you look at their references, there’s a significant difference.  Candidate one has a list of over 100 references. At first, you are impressed with all these people who are willing to say that candidate one is a good choice. But upon further inspection, you notice that some of these references include his mom, his third grade teacher, his next door neighbor and eleven of his fraternity brothers. Candidate two has only ten references on his list, but they include a college professor that teaches the very subject for which you are hiring, several prominent local business owners and even the mayor. And the references who are not well known are experts in the field for which you are hiring. So, who are you going to hire? I don’t think there’s any question.

Let’s Translate!

You’re the search engine. You have to choose who to hire, or in this case, rank higher.

The two candidates’ resumes are websites. Their websites feature their products and services, their expertise and their skills. The websites are written in clean code that is easily understood by you, the search engine. In other words – their onsite SEO is in good order and they have good content.

And the references . . . you guessed it. They represent backlinks from other sites on the web. Candidate one went with the idea that more is better.  He got a lot of links, but they weren’t authoritative or relevant to his business. Candidate two got links from both authoritative and relevant sources.

Now to be fair, search engines like a mix of both quantity and quality. In fact, if you only have sites with high PageRank, that may do you more harm than good. What you really need is a good mix. But I would argue that quality beats quantity in order of importance.

If you know of a complex web strategy that needs translation, let me know. I’ll do my best to make sense of it for the masses.  🙂

Thanks for reading.

David McBee

Leave a comment


  1. Angela Kane

     /  December 10, 2011

    Thanks for sharing this! I finally get it!!!! I’ve been wondering how back-linking people’s sites would help them out. I get asked for back links all the time. from now on, I’m only going to give away links that make sense on my site.

  2. Maxwell

     /  February 25, 2012

    You’ve got tons of helpful info here David. I’ve already started implementing some of your advice. You’re a plethora of internet marketing knowledge. This is going to be very helpful to me and I will come back often to read your posts. Thanks for sharing.

  1. Online Reputation Management SlideShare Presentation « Let's Translate – Making Sense Out of Internet Gobbledygook. A Blog by David McBee

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: