Building Website Authority Through Links
Links have always…and will always be….a major factor in getting your website to rank for the organic keywords that are relevant to your business.
Links build relevance and trust in the eyes of the search engines, which is why the search engines spend so much time producing algorithm updates. These updates are designed to combat spam, and further ensure that search engine users are getting reliable information from their search queries. As a search engine, Google’s primary role is to ensure people are coming to Google to find the information they are seeking.
Google Business Model
Provide a Reliable Search Index = More Users = More Advertising Revenue = Google Growth
Google does not function without being reliable.
It is because of this that ‘Authority’ and ‘Relevance’ are essential to Google.
If users lose trust in the results that Google provides, service dissatisfaction could lead to users moving to a competitor search engine such as Bing or Yahoo.
Why Do You Need To Rank Organically?
Organic Search remains the largest channel for bringing traffic to websites, if you have no plan in place for your organic search performance, you are missing out on potential visitors, which means you are missing out on potential sales and revenue.
Not a great business approach.
If you have a business website, here is a SEO method to start building authority to your website’s domain.
Step 1: See who is ranking for the high value keywords in your industry.
In this example we are going to have a look at the search term “ski gear”, it is a relatively niche industry, particularly in Australia. The keyword has a monthly search volume of around 1,300. This makes the term a high priority keyword for a ski store website.
The three websites that Google considers to be the most relevant and authoritative for this term are:
- Snow Central
Step 2: Compare these domains using a Backlink Profile Analysis Tool.
We are going to have a look at these domains using Majestic, a backlink profile analysis tool. Majestic is a Freemium service in that you can access a snapshot overview of a domain without getting an account, but in order to do proper backlink analysis, signing up for an account is highly recommended.
When entering a URL into Majestic, here are a few additional steps to take to get the best picture of a website’s domain authority.
Be sure to set the main drop down to ‘Root Domain’ and select ‘Use Fresh Index’.
This is to ensure we are getting a raw index of real-time backlinks pointing to the domain we are focused on.
From our Majestic overview we can draw 4 key metrics:
Trust Flow: A weighted score that indicates the level of trust that is being passed through to a site via its referring domains. (Scale 0 – 100)
Citation Flow: A score that indicates how trustworthy a site is based around the quantity of referring domains linking to it. (Scale 0 – 100)
Referring Domains: The websites that are linking to a domain via a backlink.
Backlinks: The individual link that is passing to a domain.
While the quantity of referring domains can be seen as a key driver in building authority, it is important to look further into the topical relevance of each individual referring domain.
For a website trying to sell skiing gear, the most authority and topical relevance will come from skiing associations and clubs, ski tourism, sports media outlets and snow sport communities/forums.
To compare multiple domains go to Tools > Compare Domains > Summary
This will allow you to compare up to 10 domains.
It is interesting to see from this comparison that despite Kathmandu having a significantly larger domain, in terms of both referring domains and backlinks, they are still 3rd in the Google results behind the other competitors.
While Kathmandu is a highly reputable brand in the outdoors apparel and equipment industry, Snow Central and Auski are considered to be more authoritative and relevant in regards to the ‘ski gear’ specific industry, according to the Google algorithm.
While there are many factors that could be at play within the algorithm, it is worth taking a further look into the backlink profiles of Snow Central & Auski, to see where their relevance and authority is coming from.
Step 3: Cross-Compare Referring Domains using Clique Hunter.
Go to Tools > Compare Domains > Clique Hunter
This will also allow you to compare up to 10 domains. Clique Hunter allows us to compare the backlink profiles of websites to see if there are any matching referring domains. This can be seen in the visual representation below.
If you had a website selling skiing gear, this would be a great source of domains to help you determine the type of websites you should be attempting to get links from, in order to better challenge for a top 3 position in Google.
Further down the page, we can see a table view of the domains, along with the matches, trust flow and number of backlinks.
It is important that when looking at the referring domains, that you determine the topical relevance and authority. Linking to a website for the sake of getting a backlink lacks value. It is better to spend time getting the high trust flow, industry-relevant link opportunities, as these provide the best long-term growth of domain authority.
Clique Hunter is an effective comparison tool, but if you are in industry where one competitor website has complete dominance in the Page 1 rankings, it is perhaps worth going through the respective individual backlink profile in Majestic, to ensure that you are obtaining the best link opportunities, rather than just the common referring domains among similar competitor websites.
Step 4: Build a prospecting list in Excel
While going through the list of domains, it is worth having a separate excel spreadsheet open so that you can produce a list of potential backlink opportunities. Being able to record your prospects will help you keep track of what you have already found. An example layout can be seen below.
Prior to adding a domain to the list, and building towards it, it is important to always ask yourself:
- Is the website relevant?
- Will the link look natural?
- Do I want my business to be associated with the website?
If you answer no to these questions, then there is a very high chance that search engine bots will see little value in the link. Better to spend your time and resources on the right link prospects.
Step 5: Broaden keyword research
While the high-value keyword of skiing gear may be your primary focus, there are endless keyword combinations, and other relevant search terms which will provide you with further opportunities to find link prospects and better build your domain authority.
A collection of relevant keywords for skiing gear include
- snow gear
- snow equipment
- ski jackets
- ski wear
- ski wear online
- snow outfits
- skiing gear online
- skiing gear Melbourne
You’ll be surprised at how small changes to your primary keyword can produce a diverse range of page 1 competitors.
From searching through these keywords, we can discover many more closely related competitors who with them bring many more link prospects. These include:
Step 6: Broaden Neighbourhood Search
It is also worth broadening your prospecting process to include similar industries that could be associated with your industry. For a search engine user seeking ski gear, they may also be looking for outdoor activity based products such as camping or hiking gear.
While the sites ranking for these terms may not be your direct competitors in the organic search results, they may have some high-value neighbourhood links pointing to their domain that can further assist your organic growth strategy.
Search Engines remain the main channel for bringing traffic to websites. Which means holding a Page 1 position across the high volume keywords within your industry is the best way to bring more visitors to your website.
Spending time on improving your position in the Search Engine Rankings is a long-term strategy that increases your organic website traffic and improves your business performance.
Through comparing website that are already performing within your target keywords, we can establish what Google deems authoritative and relevant.
Making sure that your site is linking to the referring domains of your page 1 competitors will give you momentum to push your way to the top.
Important Note: Building links is one part of an ongoing SEO Strategy that is needed to perform in Organic Search. Get in touch with our team of SEO Specialists today to put an effective digital strategy in place for your business. Contact us here