On-topic vs Off-topic links, which is better?

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Rand Fishkin recently did a Whiteboard Friday video diving in to the subject of on-topic vs off-topic links, something with strong viewpoints on either side. In many more words, he basically seems to say that its the quality of the site, the context of the page around the link and the visibility of the link/likeliness of it receiving a click that are the most important factors rather than how closely the domain's subject aligns to your subject. Makes sense, but what are your thoughts on the importance of relevance when it comes to links?

 

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People vs Search Engines

I've seen positive results with relevant and irrelevant subjects in links, a lot of factors influencing these results, which I wish I had the time to drill down into and investigate fully! But as a broad rule, I stick with the Big G's basic advice of focusing on people as well as search engines and aim for relevant subjects and assume that it if it hasn't already, it will soon find a way to determine relevance of topic and adapt link value accordingly.

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video curator platform. It takes a bit of time up to a year in my case, but search engines will follow a link and possibly add and can make a big difference.

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