In order for a website to rank well in Google search, numerous factors come into play. Amongst these factors is what you might call the “reputation” of the website. This reputation is enhanced when other websites have linked back to the site in question. However, it’s the quality of the sites linking back to the website that makes all the difference.
Google has provided some great guidelines on how search algorithms work, which is a great resource to review.
One of the main components of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is link building. Let’s explore what you can do to enhance the standing of your website by building links from authority websites.
Website authority metrics
In building backlinks, a couple of metrics are widely used to determine the authority of a linking website:
- Domain Authority (DA) is “a search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how likely a website is to rank on search engine result pages (SERPs).”
- Domain Rating (DR) is a website authority metric developed by Ahrefs.
The prevailing wisdom in SEO is that high-authority sites are those with high Domain Authority (DA) or high Domain Rating (DR), and that the goal is to acquire as many links as possible from sites with high authority.
However, keep in mind that both DA and DR are metrics used to predict the expected performance of a site in search results. They are not used by Google but are attempts to predict how Google will display search results.
So, just because a site has a high Domain Authority, it doesn’t automatically mean that it will appear highest in search results. Google uses multiple factors in determining which results to display.
In Google’s own words, “Search algorithms look at many factors, including the words of your query, relevance and usability of pages, expertise of sources, and your location and settings.”
For example, the image below shows the first five results in response to a search I entered for “computer repairs Stretton.” The DA values are shown for each entry using the Moz SEO toolbar.
As you’ll see, although Norm’s Computer Services has the lowest DA (19) of the five shown, it actually appears in the top position. The listings following have DAs of 56, 45, 25 and 25.
What is an authority website?
It shouldn’t be an automatic assumption that the sites with the highest DAs are the best ones from which to acquire links. In order to gauge whether a site actually has authority, its necessary to look at it much more holistically.
For example, a well-established business, an educational institution, a long-standing publication, a government department or a Chamber of Commerce have intrinsic authority by virtue of their standing in the community. A personal blog, regardless of the DA score for that blog, is highly unlikely to achieve such standing.
When seeking out authority sites for link building purposes, many scour the internet for blogs with high DA scores that welcome guest blog posts. There is certainly some validity in doing this, however, the most helpful starting point is always to go local. Think about business directories, publications, even radio channels in your local area. If you’re a local business, then local links have immense value.
Establishing expertise and authoritativeness
As you share articles on various sites with genuine authority, you build your reputation across the internet. Needless to say, it’s much harder work to find genuine authority sites, write unique, quality content for them, pitch it and have it accepted.
You may be an expert in your field, but not gifted as a writer. In this case, you may need to work with a freelance copywriter to help you to generate content. If you choose to go this route, it’s important that your experience and expertise shines through. In this way, you establish your reputation as a thought leader and draw attention to your name and your brand.
Establishing links from authority websites back to your own is crucial for your site’s ranking in Google. The most useful links often require the most effort, but it’s all worthwhile as you see your rankings rise, your clicks increase, and your business grow.