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How Link Placements Affect Website Ranking on Google

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Hello everybody today I am going to describe a case study about how link (inbound or outbound) placements affects website ranking on google.

{ I analyzed about 1 millions of results }

So I got a clean picture how google treats the link placements for ranking of a keyword

Positive & Negative Impact of Link Placements in website ranking

A Brief Idea

As everybody knows link is the No 1 factor for ranking on google whether it’s an internal link or inbound link. You might have seen links placed in header, sidebar, footer or in the body content. Google recently confirmed, “footer links are no more valuable for ranking”.  So do you know which is the best place to put links for better ranking?  Next, I am going to show you the best place.

I did this test with lots of variations & will describe here in fragments. I targeted one of my page URL to rank. Keep in mind I used same anchor text and URL constant.

In all Scenario, I waited a week to see the effectiveness of link placements.

Case 1: Non-Contextual + Internal Linking + Header Section

case1-1

This is the 1st research I did and in this case, I placed my targetted URL with anchor text in Header Section of my website. As it is in header section so it became sitewide links.  

case1-demo

After a week what I saw is unimaginable !!! My targeted page jumped 11th to the 3rd position in the google search for the anchor text I targeted.

Now it’s time to check other websites

I selected many websites that placed one of their targeted page link in the header with desired anchor text.  And surprisingly I found almost all websites ranking higher for that keyword (anchor text) than their average keyword position in the google search.

PS:  I used ahrefs heatmap for finding average keyword position.

screen-shot-2016-12-01-at-9-14-22-pm

 

  • Ranking Before Placement: 11
  • Ranking After Placement: 3

 

Case 2: Non-Contextual + Internal Linking + Sidebar Section

case1-2

I removed the link from header so the ranking drops again to 11th position. Now, in this case, I used same proportions but just changed the placement of the page link from header to the sidebar. Next, I left the site without any variations for 1 week.

case2-demo

The result is average. The website ranking increased for that keyword but not like Case 1. My keyword jumped to 6th from 11th in Google search.  

  • Ranking Before Placement: 11
  • Ranking After Placement: 6

That’s fine let’s try our next text.

Case 3: Non-Contextual + Internal Linking + Footer Section

case3

You might have heard “footer links are dead” , “footer links leads to penalty”, “footer links have no more weight for ranking”. Even Google confirmed they have no value for rankings anymore.  Now it’s time to test, right?.

As before we tested the same thing in the footer section.

case3-demo

PS: My website ranking for that keyword is now 12( Don’t know the exact reason but removing links from sidebar dropped my ranking from 11th to 12th).

All I can say Google is not lying. My website rank just danced between 9th and 10th position from 12th position. So I can say footer links are dead.

  • Ranking Before Placement: 12
  • Ranking After Placement: 9-10

Case 4: Contextual + Internal Linking + Top Section

case4

Now I just finished the test with Non-Contextual links now it’s time to test how link placements within a content affect ranking. Remember it’s not sitewide link, it’s just single internal link to the target page.

I took my target page URL and placed that link in the first paragraph of one of my published blog post.  

After a week my targeted website ranking well in the google search. Jumped 3 positions.

  • Ranking Before Placement: 14
  • Ranking After Placement: 11

Case 5: Contextual + Internal Linking + Middle Section

case5

Same case as above but placed the link in the middle of the blog post. It was dancing and what I got

maximum 1 position increase in ranking.

  • Ranking Before Placement: 12
  • Ranking After Placement: 11

Case 6: Contextual + Internal Linking + Bottom Section

case6

Placed the link in the bottom section. Again bottom section disappointed me, no rank improvement at all for the target page.

So far I can clearly guess Bottom links are no more valuable for rankings. I can’t say they are completely dead but as per top and middle section, they have less value.

  • Ranking Before Placement: 12
  • Ranking After Placement: 12

We just finished the internal links test for our targeted page. Now it’s time to test the same thing for the inbound link. I mean we are going to give links to our targeted page from other websites by varying link placements.

 

Case 7: Non-Contextual + Inbound Linking + Header Section

case7

I placed my target page URL in the header section of high authority ( DA> 60) website with my target anchor text.  After a week, guess what’s the result ??

My targeted page jumped to 2nd place, that’s insane. I roughly concluded header is the golden position.

  • Ranking Before Placement: 11
  • Ranking After Placement: 2

Case 8: Non-Contextual + Inbound Linking + Sidebar Section

website ranking

Again same test but placement is in the sidebar.  After 10 days the ranking was 6th, not bad.

  • Ranking Before Placement: 10
  • Ranking After Placement: 6

Case 9: Non-Contextual + Inbound Linking + Footer Section

case8

Now I took a risk!! Placed my link in the footer section of authority website. The result was 10th rank.

 

  • Ranking Before Placement: 11
  • Ranking After Placement: 10

 

Case 10: Contextual + Inbound Linking + Top Section

case10

So now I have to test how links placements in a content help in ranking. Basically, this is for the link builders who build links via guest posting.  Yes !! guest post is still good for SEO until it’s posted in the same niche as your target page niche.  

First of all, I wrote an article for a guest post and in the first paragraph, I inserted my target page link with anchor text. The article was submitted for approval in an authority site. After article got published I saw there is an incline in ranking. It was from 11th to 9th.

  • Ranking Before Placement: 11
  • Ranking After Placement: 9

Also, I analyzed tons of another article which as outbound links to other sites & saw the impact due to this on other site rankings.

Surprisingly I can say links in 1st paragraphs boost your website ranking.

 

Case 11: Contextual + Inbound Linking + Middle Section

case11

Now I replaced 1st paragraph in the middle of the article with another paragraph (PS: I have a connection with the owner of that blog). After some days I saw there is no decline or incline in ranking.

I analyzed many other sites and I can say links in the top section of an article has the same impact on rankings as links in middle section.

  • Ranking Before Placement: 10
  • Ranking After Placement: 8

 

Case 12: Contextual + Inbound Linking + Bottom Section

case12

So I was about to finish my test, this was the last test.  I repeated the same test with the links placed in the bottom section of a guest post.

Guess what happened? 

  • Ranking Before Placement: 12
  • Ranking After Placement: 10

So from all the above test cases now I can confirm:

“The lower you place the link on a page, it has lower impact on rankings”

 

full-page-placements

This test was performed by me & this is just a case study. Hope you liked my research. Stay tuned for more case studies in future.

So what’s your next plan for link building?

  1. So these are my results.
  2. You can comment if any have any questions.
  3. You can now try and place links in a better position next time.

Thank You

Comments (2)

  • Is there any CTR effect on top section which creates a positive signal than footer links?

    Reply
    • Yeah, CTR is effective and in 2016, I can say it has +ve Impact. Another thing it lowers bounce rate. Thanks For mentioning, will add this point 🙂

      Reply

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