It is official: Google’s Andrey Lipattsev, the Search Quality Senior Analyst, has revealed that the top two factors that affect any website’s rankings on this search engine are content and backlinks. If you collate these two factors, you would notice that they aren’t mutually exclusive. If one is good, the other will naturally follow. Read: if the content on your website is high-quality and relevant, there will definitely be other websites backlinking to it (because everybody does their research on Google).
With that said, only miracles and magic happen overnight (perhaps cheating too). Building links is an agonizingly slow (although rewarding) process. You put in genuine efforts to get other websites to link to yours – what’s next? You need to track how these backlinks are performing. All your efforts at high quality link building can be quantitatively measured using certain KPIs that are definitive gauges of link performance. Let’s understand what they are.
Key Metrics and how to utilize
Every aspect of your SEO campaign gives you options to track its performance and tweak the aspects that don’t seem to be working. To stress more on the importance of getting backlinks, according to Backlinko, the first result on Google search has 3.8 times more number of backlinks than the ones that follow. Read this from the other end: backlinks are important to rank higher. Let’s see how you can monitor the performance of your backlinks using the key performance indicators mentioned below.
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The number one metric that helps you determine whether or not the links you acquired are doing anything for your website is to check the Domain Authority Score. Domain Authority is the measure of how reputed and authoritative the content on your website is for the keywords it has used. The higher number of backlinks you get to this content, the higher your domain authority score will be. In fact, a study by Blue Corona reveals that Google employs PageRank, an algorithm that measures the quality of backlinks on a webpage.
One way to improve this score is to keep track of all the backlinks coming in and checking them for their quality – whether or not they are active, and whether or not they come from sources just as reputable. Try to achieve an authority score that is higher than 50 to be included in the “Good’ category.
You may have heard it said over and over again: the best SEO is the one that is based on relevance. The same concept applies to backlinks as well. Relevance cannot be measured as a quantitative metric; however, it is only the number of backlinks you receive from a niche relevant to your business that will help you boost your search engine result rankings. For example, if you are a technology company, getting numerous backlinks from a beauty company’s website wouldn’t do you any good; on the contrary, you may stand to earn penalties from Google for it.
Collaborate closely for building backlinks with websites that operate in the same niche as yours. It is mutually beneficial.
Number of Backlinking Domains
It does impact your website if you have a high number of backlinks – this impact could be positive or negative, depending on where the links are coming from. If there is one bad domain (may be irrelevant to your industry, or flagged for black-hat SEO, for example) referring to your website multiple times, it may actually work to push your website further down in the search results, and your website may run the risk of getting blacklisted. Instead of counting the number of backlinks, count the number of good domains linking back to you. This is what will help your website rise in the search result rankings.
Google works on a thing called Webmaster Guidelines. These are a set of guidelines that educate you on the best practices for good SEO that help your search engine rankings. Also, these guidelines lay down the quality requirements that, if violated, can get you penalized. If, according to these guidelines, Google figures out that you have been manipulating or maneuvering links to boost your ranking, such links get labeled as toxic, and your website gets bad search rankings.
It is surprising how misunderstood backlinks are; while over 66% of the webpages on the internet don’t have any backlinks, some websites aggressively abuse backlinking by using bad quality references.
You may have obtained such a link from link farms, or from irrelevant websites that have no connection to your business, links that lurk in the footer section of your website, etc.
Any link audit tool can help you generate a toxicity score for your website.
Anchor text is the string of words that a backlink is embedded into. It is important for anchor text to be contextual and relevant to the content that it is linking to. Since this is the text that users would correlate to the destination of the link, the more relevant it is, the better. Google frowns upon irrelevant or clickbait anchor texts. If your website has such content, it is best to switch it out for relevant phrases or terms.
If you wish your website to rank better on Google, work on removing all the irrelevant anchor text on your website, and replacing them with better phrasing.
Link building is ultimately a function of high-quality, relevant content – whether on your website or someone else’s. Creating good content on your website, and having other websites with good content linking back to yours with relevant anchor links is the best strategy to leverage the power of backlinks for SEO.