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Why Link Building is Your Website’s Best Friend

Why Link Building is Your Website’s “Best Friend ” for Big and Small Businesses

I will answer easily to this question.

Search engine optimization is an ever changing and evolving beast.

The 200+ factors that contribute to how the Google algorithm perceives the relevance of a website for a specific search term is often changing.

Historically, the links pointing to a site have always held importance.

Over the last few years, the message coming from Google has been one that has tried to downplay the significance of external links pointing to a website as being a major ranking factor.

Is the power of link building a myth then or is Google just trying to pull one over on us?

Where Are You Hidding

Why Link Building is Your Website’s Best Friend

This does not fit in with what Google wanted to achieve #to provide the best value content to its searchers.

As the Google algorithm has advanced, the search engine giant has tried to eradicate the impact of spammy links to help a website rank in their search engine.

 My Actual Situation Right Now

So the big question now is/are external links still valuable in the eyes of Google?

We used our own data and some external sources to take a look at a range of competitive key terms to see whether links still seemed to hold relevance for ranking. Why Link Building is Your Website’s Best Friend

We were looking for a direct correlation between external links from a range of referring domains and the power they had in terms of ranking.

For this experiment, we used a range of tools to help us scrape the data #the ones we found most effective were Majestic, Moz, and Ahrefs.

The findings confirmed what we thought we already knew and Moz had stated here. as well as Stone Temple here and Ahrefs here.

Here is a summary of our key findings:

  1. Over 99% of top performing websites had more than 1 referring domain linking to them.
  2. The number of links from referring domains and unique IP addresses correlated with higher rankings. In other words, the more websites that were linking to a website resulted in higher rankings.
  3. The number of links to inner pages of a website (the page ranking) did not correlate with higher rankings. However, the links pointing to the domain correlated with a higher ranking.

So what does this all mean?

Take look at the chart below showing the difference between what backlinks will do compared to just fixing on page factors:

Backlinks Factors

Why Link Building is Your Website’s Best Friend

 

Here is a summary of our key findings:

  1. Over 99% of top performing websites had more than 1 referring domain linking to them.
  2. The number of links from referring domains and unique IP addresses correlated with higher rankings. In other words, the more websites that were linking to a website resulted in higher rankings.
  3. The number of links to inner pages of a website (the page ranking) did not correlate with higher rankings. However, the links pointing to the domain correlated with a higher ranking.

So what does this all mean?

Take look at the chart below showing the difference between what backlinks will do compared to just fixing on page factors:

Backlinks Factors

What it also showed us is that while links pointing to inner pages had importance, you could still rank inner pages with less links (per inner page) than a competitor if the overall number of quality referring domains is higher.

What Is Meant By Quality?

Now we are getting to the crux of the matter and what is meant by Google when they say not to focus on link building strategies.

What Google wants to avoid (and what they want to penalize for) is manufactured and manipulated link building tactics.

They want to reward highly relevant and highly regarded links with the power they deserve.

Domain Authority comes into this somewhat but again it can be just another manipulated metric.

What is key is the Trust Flow and Relevance of the website pointing to you and the natural power that the website has.

By relevance we are talking a website about cats will link to a website about cat toys.

A website about cats is less likely to link to a website that centers around real estate.

So which link will give more relevance?

It seems simple now #but it is anything but.

The cost of building a backlink profile using this relevancy in a natural looking way is not only costly in terms of monetary value, it is also costly in terms of time, and costly in terms of experience.

If you get this wrong, then there is every chance Google will penalize your website and you will feel like the man below.

Where Things Are Likely To Go Next

The significance of external links to your website is not something going away.

Our study shows this and there are numerous other studies which also back up what we found.

The #SEO scaremongers will always run around shouting the importance of natural link building (if you build it they will come)…but they never come.

The reality of it is external links are and will continue to be the single biggest ranking factor in the Google algorithm and there is a simple reason for this…

External links are the hardest element of SEO to build.

Let’s take it one step further…

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I'm a staff writer covering SEO Consulting and startups.A short-lived but much-beloved former homepage editor at Promo-SEO.com, I wrote for multiple magazine from 2014-2015 and was a proud IBM emploee before that. I've served as a regional manager for a test prep company along the way. My love of tech would've been amusing to my college self. Follow me on Twitter at @promoseoireland and email me at office@promo-seo.com.

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