We use the term Link very liberally in conversations these days as if every body actually knows what they are and how they behave in all the senses of the word, but this is very far from the truth.
The word LINK is an abbreviation of the term HYPER-LINK. There are many different types of links, but all do the same thing, they act as transfer points to transfer the viewers attention from what is currently displayed on screen to a new screen with different information (read content). A link is usually indicated by a visual change of the mouse pointer from an arrow to a hand,as the mouse pointer moves across the screen from an inactive area to an active area. Different browsers or platforms and different operating systems have slight variations of the same theme, where the mouse pointer or activity indicator moves around on the screen under the control of (you) the end user, in many new mobile devices this is not so evident, as these devices use touch screens and the presence of an active spot may be indicated in a number of different ways, and is even some times not indicated at all but purely presumed to be an active image or link icon.
An active area is defined as the space where the hyper link is active and will function when the end user (you the viewer) clicks on the active space whilst the mouse pointer is in the active mode, or in the case of a touch screen when you (the end user) tap or double tap on the active area of the screen.
Links come in two basic disguises, a text link and an image link. A text link is usually indicated by a change in the colour of the text, and may or may not have associated pop up alerts that inform the viewer (you) more about the link in the form of a text box. In some cases you may also receive an on screen indication of some sort, informing you where the link will take you, but this is usually not present on mobile devices.
On the left is an image link, and when you click on this image you will be taken to a page (in this blog) that discusses hash tag marketing .
So there are basically only two varieties of links at text link and an image link. You can use both of these in a variety of different ways, but at the end of the day there are only two distinct types of links.
The first thing that needs to be considered is the total number of links that are generated every day, and how this vast number will in fact dilute the value of each link. lets look at it from the perspective of a pie-chart, where each web site that has inbound links is a slice of the pie.
How many slices will there be, and just how thin would each slice be? what would determine the thickness of each slice, would it be the number of inbound links, would it be the quality of these inbound links, would it be the age of the inbound link or would it be a calculated combination of all these plus many other factors?
The answer is that the thickness of each slice of the pie would be a combination of many different SEOVI (Search Engine Optimisation Value Indicators) some which we have control over and some which are totally out of our control, and some which we may influence, but not have any real control over.
Rand Fishkin had quite a bit to say about this issue in his whiteboard chat where he discussed whether links were losing SEO value or not and what SEO's ( Search Engine Optimisation Practitioners) should be doing
Links are very important for all search engines to find your pages and then index them, so if nobody links to a page in your web site and you have no internal links to that particular page then it will never be indexed by a search engine and thus never found by your intended target market audience, unless you
- send them the link to this page by email,
- mention the link in a radio advert,
- publish the link to this page in some print media advertising or
- use some other advertising medium to get the link in front of the eyes of your intended target audience.
It is my personal opinion that links still have great value for search engines, and will do so well into the foreseeable future. How we acquire, then manage these recommended links is an issue that needs very careful consideration, as there are issues that can cause some considerable damage to our web sites reputation and value in the eyes of search engines.
There are issues such as GOOGLE's PANDA, PENGUIN and HUMMING BIRD ALGORITHMs as well as many others which need to be considered here, so take your time to understand the many diverse issues that impact on your web sites inbound and out bound linking policy.
Be sure to inform your social media team, as well as all others who work on your online marketing of these issues and get their buy in to your linking policies. Link building is still a very important part of the OFF PAGE SEO work that you need to manage, so take care and do things in a well managed and properly documented fashion so that you can later use this to evaluate your success or failures and work out what you need to change when things do not go according to plan, and your SERP's are not what you would like them to be.
Now before you get all philosophical and say what does the social media team have to do with these issues understand this...
SOCIAL SIGNALS ARE LINKS THAT CARRY SPECIAL SEOVI (search engine optimisation value indicators) WHICH LINK INDIVIDUALS TO ONLINE CONTENT IN WAYS THAT SEARCH ENGINES CAN DEVELOP TRUST FACTORS FOR BOTH AUTHORS OF ONLINE CONTENT AND INDIVIDUAL ENTITIES SUCH AS
- G+ PAGES,
- G+ COMMUNITIES
- FACEBOOK PAGES
- PINTEREST PROFILES
- TWITTER PROFILES
- INSTAGRAM PROFILES
- WEB SITES
- OTHER ONLINE ENTITIES
So to answer the question "What is the value of a link in 2014" I put forward the opinion that the value of a link in 2014 is an awful lot more important than most SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) consultants will tell you, so make sure that you understand what a link is, and where you should be focusing your OFF PAGE SEO EFFORTS so that the value of the inbound links to your web site / blog or other online resource can be optimized through your social media strategies in ways that align with your online marketing policies.