In a previous post I discussed Link Worth and prior to that a technique called Block Segmentation Analysis, in which I briefly discussed some research done by Microsoft into Visual Page Segmentation where rather then using the DOM they use actual images rendered from a browser to determine what are blocks. While this is overkill for most I was intrigued enough to create our own version with Opera, Imagemagick and some Python but the purpose for my little experiment was not to look for blocks (I had already identified them through the DOM) but the location of individual links on a page.
I have a whole other post dedicated to the subject of how, but quickly each page was grabbed, all block elements (div,span etc) were turned one colour and stripped of all other info to make life easier the block we wish to identify was turned red. Then the page had a grid overlayed (24×24) and each square was checked for colour of it’s content.
With a working mechanism we then went and pulled a 100 SEO sites (Sites which advertised services rather then just blogs though many did have a blog as well) backlinks (we removed links that were internal and capped it at 200 per site) and mapped to our grid. The result (17680 backlinks later) is the ability to see popular locations for inbound links to SEO websites, which may or may not interest you.
The following is a pseudo heat map, blue is the limited number of links, orange a reasonable amount red is a lot.
As you can see, the first thing is there is a lot of blue, the red areas are primarily in side bars, footer and inching into what would be comment area on blogs. The orange is a bit more evenly spread out, of interest though is the lack of serious link cluster in page content themselves. The left hand side is interesting there has been a trend away from left hand side bars and so comments in a blog may be counted in that left hand side.
Useless trivia, out of the 100 SEO sites we tested:
- 86 had 1 or more inbound link coming from footer area
- 96 had 1 or more inbound link coming from the right hand side sidebar
- 45 had 1 or more inbound link coming from left hand side
- 15 had no inbound links in content area on any sites
- 36 sites had 1 or more inbound links with only image as an anchor
- 98% of inbound links found in footer to our SEO sites site wide
- 99% of right side bar links found to our SEO sites are site wide
- 40% of left had side links found to our SEO sites are site wide