Website authority is one of the most important things Google measures when it’s ranking your website.
Authority is Google’s way of judging how helpful the content on your site is. The higher your authority, the higher your ranking. In most cases, high authority scores are earned by having strong hyperlinks between your website and other high-quality websites. You could think of high-quality links as websites ‘voting’ for each other’s quality.
Until a few years ago, your authority score was based on the number of links you had. More links meant higher authority. That system didn’t last. Buying links, listings on web directories, spamming anchor keywords and backlinks were all commonplace. That was convenient for websites that wanted to rank higher, but it was terrible for Google and people using the search engine.
The three main types of SEO links.
All links on your website contribute to the authority score that Google assigns you. There are dozens of different kinds of links, and each type is weighted differently when authority is calculated. To keep it simple though, we group website links into three broad categories:
- Inbound links. Also called backlinks, these are links from other sites to yours, and they’re one of the most important parts of your Google ranking. You don’t just want to gather as many links as possible. Instead, all inbound links should focus on quality. Quality inbound links come from strongly relevant websites with high authority scores of their own.
- Outbound links. Outbound links go from your website to other domains. They’re less important than inbound links, but they’re still a good way to boost authority. All outbound links should serve a purpose, especially if that purpose helps out your site visitors. For example, linking to quality research sources or related content makes for a strong outbound link.
- Internal links. These are the links between different pages of your own site. They’re a great tool for helping site visitors find the content they’re looking for and keeping them on your site longer. Internal links also help Google’s AI understand your site, which means each page is more likely to show up in searches.
Outreach link building.
Outreach is one of the most common link building techniques. As part of outreach link building, you contact other websites and ask them to link back to your site. Simple enough, right? Well, it is – but to see results from outreach link building, you need to focus on getting high-quality links.
Proper outreach link building is very effective. It can also be quite time-consuming. Outreach isn’t just about sending mass emails to a thousand other websites and asking for backlinks. Instead, outreach should be done selectively. Only contact websites that are relevant to the content on your own site. Craft a personalised email that lays out your proposition: you have quality content on your website, and you can see places on their site where a few backlinks would be valuable for you both.
Outreach link building can give your rankings a huge boost. The struggle is finding the time to do your research properly. Every website you contact needs to be high quality, authoritative and relevant to your own. Searching for those sites, networking with the owners and building relationships all takes time, which is why most businesses leave outreach link building to dedicated marketing teams.
Broken link building.
A broken link is one that doesn’t lead anywhere anymore. You could have hundreds of high-quality outbound links to third party websites, but there’s nothing you can do to stop those sites from moving or removing content.
Broken link building is one way to make lemonade from the situation! It’s similar to outreach link building and often gets done at the same time. You search for high-quality websites that you want to reach out to. Then, you look through their content for broken links. Once you find broken links, you contact the site owner and suggest they redirect the broken links to relevant content from your own site.
For example: a plumbing company boosts their SEO by writing helpful how-to blogs about DIY maintenance. Then, they go looking for broken links on other websites that used to link to pages with similar DIY tips. To earn the backlink, the plumbing company can contact the other website, point out the broken links, and then provide quality content they can link to instead!
Guest blogging is a simple idea – you partner with a third party website and they publish content that you write. That site will usually include a line or two about the guest author and a link to your website (this is the inbound link you’re looking for). The content can also contain in-text backlinks to your site. To get into guest blogging, you need to reach out to the sites you’d like to write for and offer them quality content in exchange for backlinks.
Done right, guest blogging can be a great source of quality inbound links, as long as you stick to these guidelines:
- Write high-quality content. This is true of all SEO work, but quality content is the key for guest blogging. The articles you write need to be original and provide value to readers. Avoid writing articles if you aren’t knowledgeable about the topic.
- Work with authoritative sites. The more authority the third party site has, the more valuable the link is for you. Don’t work with sites that are spammy or loaded with unrelated content – Google penalises these types of links.
- Make sure all links are relevant. Google has gotten very good at identifying spam. The content you write needs to be relevant to your website and to the site it’s published on. Any backlinks on the page also need to be relevant to the topic and the pages you’re linking to – no spamming links back to your site using blog posts about unrelated topics.
Editorial link building.
Editorial links are probably the most valuable linking you can generate. These are the links that you don’t have to ask or trade for – they’re acquired naturally because the content on your site is worth linking to. Earning editorial links is easy if you’re a big brand like Toyota. Every time Toyota releases a new car, journalists all over the world will include links to the Toyota website in their articles so their readers can find more information. If you’re a smaller brand, editorial link building can be a bit harder.
Usually, editorial links are built up over time by focusing on consistently publishing high-quality, highly-valuable content. As your website gains traction, your content is so amazing that other sites can’t help but link back to it in an effort to provide value to their own readers.
Let Gordon Digital take charge of your next link-building campaign!
Quality, quality, quality! If you take away from this article, it should be that the quality of your links is what matters most.
Website authority is critical to your site ranking, and the quality of your links makes all the difference. Whatever type of link-building campaign you undertake, you absolutely need to avoid dodgy practices like buying links or collecting spammy backlinks! Google is quick to spot these types of links. The result is that websites get penalised or even deindexed from searches, which can be difficult to recover from.
Instead, investing time and effort into your SEO strategy and white hat link building is the safest bet. Writing quality content and finding relevant links can send you straight to Google’s top spots, earning more traffic and attention than you can get any other way. If you can’t spare the time for an in-depth link building campaign, then get in touch with Gordon Digital! Our dedicated SEO team are experts at what they do, and they can deliver SEO strategies using fully white hat link building practices. Come and have a chat with us today if you’re ready to get started!