During these trying times, businesses and managers are looking for strategic ways to stabilize their digital marketing efforts. With budgets being locked away for safekeeping, there are only so many marketing channels available for businesses to thrive in without having to give up large expenditures. Organic search traffic is one of those channels that will always be available to both users and businesses looking to connect with them. However, not all business owners know how to take their website’s search engine optimization campaign to the next level. The answer is simple: link building. Link building is the practice of building high-quality external backlinks to a website across other sites on the Internet. It can significantly help your business’s site gain favor within the algorithms Google and other search engines use and rank better for important search terms. However, there are productive and unproductive ways of building links. Follow along to learn the aspects of a high-quality link and how to locate link opportunities that are worth your time.
Website Domain Authority
One of the most important elements of a high-quality link is the authority score of the website the link lives on. There are several different authority scores available to search marketers which associate numerical values between 0 and 100 with websites all over the Internet. These numerical scores are understood to be “ratings” that indicate the likelihood that a site has to rank well in the key search terms they are optimized for. The most popular score in the market is Moz’s “Domain Authority” (DA) score. There are also the “Domain Rating” offered by Ahrefs and the “Authority Score” calculated by SEMrush. For now, we’ll base the parameters for a solid link on Moz’s Domain Authority (DA).
Experienced search marketers understand that maximizing efficiency in the link building process means passing up on link opportunities on low DA sites. Industry standards recognize any site with a DA of 50 or more to be a high-quality link opportunity. There are factors other than DA which determine these things, however, it’s safe to say that links on sites with DA 50 and above can often move the needle on rankings in rather significant ways. That being said, in a world where marketers can benefit from every competitive edge that we can get, it should be noted that passing up on link opportunities on DA 45 or even DA 40 sites can be a mistake. DA of sites matter, but so do the number of links you have pointing to your website. When building links en masse, consider finding as many high DA link opportunities as possible first. Once the options for high DA links become trickier to find and secure, consider building some links with average DAs. You could end up thanking yourself in the end for pursuing link quality and link quantity.
Remember, Moz’s DA (Domain Authority) score doesn’t fully determine the impact a link can have. Another factor that goes into a link’s potential ranking impact is the home site’s relevance to the website the link points too. Imagine you are looking for restaurant recommendations in a city you’re visiting for the first time. Upon arrival, you get two different suggestions. One suggestion comes from an established food critic that you meet and another comes from someone who’s also visiting the city temporarily. Who’s recommendation would you most be more likely to consider? Most people would put the recommendation from the food critic on a higher pedestal.
Google’s algorithm treats backlinks the same way. It recognizes when your business gets a link on a general or regional directory. However, Google values backlinks even more when they come from a website that is directly related to your business’s industry or field. There plenty of directories geared towards specific types of businesses and businesspeople, such as lawyers, HVAC service providers, accountants. There are also online publications and news sites that do the same thing, covering one single niche and providing journalists’ perspective on that once field.
If you can help it, try to build links on sites that are directly related to the type of work your business or organization does. Links on these sites are high-quality and they are more likely to bring you the ranking improvements you’re looking for. When exploring a site to determine relevance, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do users view this site as niche and unique or more general?
- Does the site have content that is directly related to topics and discussions in your field?
- Are the other site’s with links on this site similar to mine?
Website & Link Type
The last factor in a high-quality link is the type of site that it happens to be on. Sites that are considered high-quality link opportunities include prominent industry-related directories, online blogs/publications, news sites, and .edu/.gov sites. These types of sites suggest an authentic connection between websites, their purpose, and the sites they link to. They are considered by search engines to be more “genuine” by nature, since none of these sites are obligated to feature your links anywhere.
Alternatively, there are spammy/shady sites, chatrooms, and forums which are considered bad link opportunities that can damage your site’s standing. Avoid building links on these sites at all costs. They can damage your site’s standing by sending signals that algorithms consider disingenuous. For this reason, also avoid building links with any link farms or third-party providers that aren’t SEO specialists. These providers can generate links to your site on all kinds of random, spammy platforms that you want nothing to do with.
The same way that there are different types of websites, there are also different kinds of links. Though it is widely understood throughout the industry, we’d like to emphasize that do-follow links have the best potential to impact rankings. There are ongoing debates about the viability of no-follow links, but for the time being, do-follow is the way to go if you want your links to affect your website’s rankings in a positive way.
Contact Geek Powered Studios for Next-Level Link Building
At Geek Powered Studios, our SEO specialists do the due diligence necessary to build high–quality backlinks for your website and generate ranking improvements for your most important keywords. Don’t miss out on the comprehensive digital marketing solutions your business deserves. Contact our team today to learn more about our services and the ways we can help your business.