Search Marketing Consultant

Web Marketing & Search Engine Consultant

When less is more: the power of a quality incoming link


Links have been, are, and will be an essential part of our online existence. They change shape and form, they are more or less fashionable, but always essential to a significant web marketing strategy.

The Search Engines are constantly reminding us how we need to focus on quality: do things properly, build a great site and you’ll be fine …

I was recently contacted to perform a competitive analysis for a small business website in a niche, benchmark their organic placement for a number of keywords relevant to their business, and run a check on 4 top direct competitors.

The Client was very puzzled by the significant organic placement of a competitor frequently positioned as well as or even better than himself: this competitor has absolutely no on site SEO, and has been created completely in FLASH !

Let’s take a look at the linking profiles …


As you can see there is a website with 3 inbound links (I.Links).

Yes 3 links.

At first it looked like a mistake, of some kind but the numbers were coming back (nearly) identical from different services (I use Majestic SEO for my link analyses)

Of the 3 links 2 were cheesy and 1 coming from a very powerful directory.

That’s all they have going for them: no social media, no SEO, no blogs, … nothing – just 1 link boosting the online presence in a significant manner – here is a histogram of the websites ranking potential on Google


The site with 3 links is the one highlighted in red.

Less is better than more.

Why it happened

That one link is enough to compete with hundreds of links to competing sites. It was no surprise when I reviewed the linking profiles and found:

This was possible thanks to the weakness of competition.

The interesting point is that one quality link can compensate for many – even hundreds – of low level links.

Scouting the web in search for the golden nugget is time consuming, something software cannot accomplish automatically.

Clients can pressure us to produce submissions in large quantities: this is just another example of how quality can beat quantity, but comes at a price and within a timeframe not all are prepared to wait and pay for.

5 Replies

  1. Valentina

    Ciao Sante, bellissimo post, grazie! Mi chiedo quale sia questa very powerful directory?? Puoi svelarcelo? 🙂

    1. Ciao Valentina, è supereva 🙂

  2. Thanks Sante, a useful reminder. Of course finding a good link site in any market is very difficult for a smaller business and even if you do find it, the search engines or the competition could change tomorrow.

  3. oreo17

    Gracias Sante. Very interesting how the world of links works. Thanks for sharing this.

  4. Jasper

    interesting story, very helpful. im still a bit confused a bit this whole link building process. seems like its a bit of a scam to me