Evidence that inbound links affect Google rankings

To many people, getting found on Google is a mysterious black box.  To be clear and demystify the process, it boils down to three basic things:

  1. Content on your website reflects the search term that people Google
  2. Code on your website reflects the search term that people Google
  3. Backlinks from other websites pointing to your website with those key words

Often, clients will say that they have done everything they can on their website to optimize for a keyword phrase but still, other websites outrank theirs.  So, they come to me with the WTF question.  Nine times out of ten, the difference between your site ranking high and that of your competitors comes down to backlinks.

I’ve got proof.

Back in 1995, over 15 years ago, I registered photographer.com.  It started out as a hobby.  When I delivered my photos to folks on the web or when people used my photos and gave me a photo credit, I always asked them to label the credit, “Photography by Blake Newman,” and point that photo credit to my website, PHOTOGRAPHER.COM.

So, there are tons of links out there from photos giving me photo credit but they are pointing to PHOTOGRAPHER.COM.  Well, I got out of the photography business years ago and sold the domain name over 5 years ago.  But, those inbound links still exist and the anchor text to those links remain intact.

If you Google the keyword phrase, “photography by blake newman,” then you will see PHOTOGRAPHER.COM about halfway down the first page of Google.


But, if you click onto Photographer.com, you will see a single page website.  Indeed, there is only ONE PAGE that exists on photographer.com and no where on that page are the words:

  • photography
  • blake
  • newman
  • photography by blake newman
  • blake newman


So, why and how does a website that has no content related to a search phrase rank on the first page of Google for that search phrase?  Or in other words, WTF?  Well, it comes down to inbound links (backlinks) from other websites with the anchor text that contains these key words pointing to a particular domain name.

This demonstrates two things:

  1. The importance of inbound links – VERY important
  2. The length of time that SEO can serve you – YEARS

So, if you want to get found on Google and wonder how to get found on Google, learn more about how search engines work:

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