Link Acquisition Basics
As we have seen in Section 1, Google’s PageRank algorithm gives each page a score according to the number of links that point to it. Each link’s value is determined by the score of the source page. Google can use this simple method to determine the authority of a webpage and decide which page users are most likely to be interested in seeing in search results.
Domain Authority is a measure of link importance used by almost all the SEO professionals. Domain Authority (or DA) is a metric that Moz has calculated and established. It is meant to approximate Google’s authority. It was originally designed to be used with a basic version Google’s PageRank algorithm. For example, the BBC has a Domain Authority of 100/100. This means it is considered to be one of the most authoritative websites and more likely rank for the keywords it targets than a website that has a lower DA. We will soon be reexamining DA.
You will almost always have links to your site if you’ve been in business for even a short time. These links could be from suppliers, niche sites in your market, directories or your social media pages. You may have been the subject of press attention and, if you have done any SEO work before, those links will also be there.
Bad links vs. good links
Many business owners are confused and ask us, “How do I determine which links are worth my time and which ones can penalize me?”.
It’s a good idea to get a link from a site that people enjoy visiting.
* The most authoritative and powerful links are often from well-known websites.
* Links to websites created solely for SEO purposes (with names such as linkdirectory123.biz), are often junk and will not do you any favors.
* Links to authoritative websites on your topic are high-quality links, since they are relevant.
* Although a brand new website may not have high authority metrics, if it is legitimate and useful, a link to the website would be a good idea.
Do you suffer from the Link Penalty
Bad links are a common fear. When Google’s Penguin update was released in 2012, many sites were dropped completely from search results. This was due to the fact that they had used junk SEO companies which got them lots of low-quality link sources. It happened in a matter of minutes. Site owners found that their traffic was dropping off a cliff, and within days, they were facing financial difficulties. We had to attempt to remove all links and ‘disavow the rest’ to rebuild the site’s authority. We saved all websites except one that were sent to us during this time. Website owners around the globe still fear the impact of this period.
Google’s September 2016 Penguin update announced that bad links would no more be subject to a penalty. Instead, they would simply be ignored. Low-quality links shouldn’t have the same negative effect as they had between 2012 and 2016.
My experience shows that most website owners believe their websites are being penalized. They realize that their sites had high rankings, and these are declining. So they assume that Google is gradually punishing them. Usually, though, one of these three things is happening:
1. In the past, they relied on junk links to boost their rankings. These junk links have been ignored, and the benefits are gone. It can appear as a penalty but it is really a correction.
2. They stopped updating their website and have seen their competitors slowly take over. This is usually seen as a slow decline over several months.
3. Their problem is that their website isn’t mobile-friendly. It loads very slowly and there’s not much text. Google’s algorithms recognize this issue and give it more priority. It can appear as a penalty if there is a significant drop in traffic after an algorithm update.
These are just a few examples of situations where SEO is necessary. Follow these steps to make sure you have a great website and promote it. Unfortunately, this work is never finished and will result in a slow decline in rankings.
There are some useful metrics that can be used to help you get more scientific with your link analysis. These metrics are not ‘official Google metrics’ and are not necessary. It’s possible to have a great SEO campaign and not pay attention to these metrics. These metrics are often created using far less sophisticated algorithms than those Google uses. They are likely to provide different results than Google’s official algorithms because they don’t belong to Google.
My seminars often remind the audience not to rely on data that appears accurate but is based on very basic assumptions or guesswork. These metrics can be useful and can help you do a lot of research, but we should always take them with a grain of salt. In SEO, trusting data or common sense is a better option than the former.
Here are some links that are most in-demand:
Domain Authority (DA).
We briefly touched on DA earlier. Moz.com Domain Authority (DA), a search engine ranking score that Moz developed, predicts how well a website ranks on search engine result pages. The Domain Authority score can range from 1 to 100. Higher scores indicate greater rankability.
Domain Authority is calculated using the number of links from root domains and other statistics to create a single DA score. This score can be used to compare websites and track the “ranking strength” of a website over time.
Let me tell you, DA is a great way to quickly determine the link authority of a website. If you look at a competitor’s Link Explorer results and see that they have tons of links from DA80 to 99 websites, then you know you have a lot of work ahead. You should be excited if you are able to get links from sites DA60-9999 and do great content marketing. This will likely improve your site’s rank.
Google doesn’t actually measure anything similar to DA, however. Google considers the rankability of each page and not the whole domain. Paul Haahr is a senior engineer at Google who works on search quality. He explained that Google does not look at the domain authority of websites like YouTube, WordPress, or Tumblr. Instead, Google examines the authority of the user (i.e. The page) of that website. It is absurd to be as obsessed as the SEO industry with DA.
A web page’s rank can still be affected by its authority. Links from the homepage to subpages, for instance, still have weight. Amazon products rank well for target phrases. This may not be because Amazon.com is a domain with high authority but because pages are interlinked so that links to each product page can be accessed from high-authority Amazon pages.
Page Authority (PA).
The page-level version Domain Authority is called Page Authority. It rates a page using the same DA scale. The “ranking strength” is based on links pointing to that page. Although this metric will likely be closer to what Google actually measures, it does use a ‘best estimation’ algorithm to try and mimic Google’s.
Despite this, PA is not often used. Why is this? It is much easier to talk about DA. DA scores websites with an easy-to-understand score. PA must be measured for each page.
Trust Flow (TF).
Majestic’s SEO tool (https://majestic.com/) has created a trust flow metric. It defines it as: “A score that is based on quality on a scale of 0-100. Majestic compiled a list of trusted seed sites using a manual search of the internet. Majestic Trust Flow is based on this process. Sites that are closely connected to trusted seed sites can receive higher scores. Sites with questionable links will see a lower score.
This metric is used to predict the trustworthiness and credibility of a page by analyzing the trustworthiness the sites that link to it.
Citation Flow (CF).
Majestic’s other metric is Citation Flow. It is a score between 0 and 100 that helps to determine the link equity, or “power”, of a website or link. Citation Flow… uses the number of sites linking to it to predict how influential a URL will be.
These Metrics: How to Use
Nearly all SEO professionals consider DA to be the most important metric for determining the quality of a hyperlink. It is generally accepted as a good metric. It is easier than PA so, when compiling a list websites to reach out to, we will measure their DA and then add it to the spreadsheet to get an overview of the authority of each website. Although I recommend making DA the default metric, it is important to not become too obsessed with it.
When analysing the links a website has, we mostly use CF or TF. It’s especially useful for websites with many links. This can allow us to view their current link profile and help us identify reasons why they might not rank where they should.
The truth is that no matter what metrics may say, the advice remains the same. It’s nearly impossible to improve your ranking if you optimize your website and link to relevant, high-quality websites. This advice is the same regardless of your DA, PA or CF. You don’t have to hate data and metrics. All you need is good promotion.
Let’s look at different ways to get links to your site.