The fight to improve the web positioning happens, inexorably, for a good use of the links and a correct link building strategy. Here come into play concepts such as back link, domain rank or domain authority, key agents for the main search engines to display our pages.
In this article I intend to shed some light on the importance of link building, analyzing how to manage and how to measure the use of back links. Will you come with me?
The importance of external links in the link building strategy
For the search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.) that track all the webs that make up the internet, you could say that the links are the streets, the roads that link the pages. Through these links and the respective algorithms of each search engine is how the pages relate to each other.
Since its inception, search engines have been refining their algorithm to give more or less importance to the union between web pages through various scoring systems. The links have always had a high score, but it is not clear to what extent they are efficient, and that will remain one of the great mysteries of Google.
A good link building strategy with other portals and blogs of the sector manages not only to favor the Domain Rank (DR) and Domain Authority (DA) , but also to improve the web positioning and relations with other companies or actors in the sector .
So much so that authority models, such as the Hilltop algorithm, suggest that links are a very good way to identify expert documents on a given topic. Thus, we can use the links between our blogs to not only give numerical authority, but also as a method of authorizing that link as quality content.
Defining basic concepts: backlinks, DR and UR
Before going even further into the subject, I think it is necessary to make a small paragraph to define four important basic concepts:
- Backlink: the backlink is a backlink of a web page within that same web page.
- Domain Rank (DR) : DR is a widely used metric regarding SEO and link building strategies, and shows the strength of the backlink profile of a target website on a logarithmic scale from 0 to 100.
- URL Rank (UR) : Rank URL highlights the power of backlinks on a specific landing page on a scale of 0 to 100.
Difference between DR and UR
From Ahrefs tell us the difference between DR and UR: UR is a page level metric, while DR is a domain level metric. In this way, a page can have a very high DR but a very low UR. That means that although its domain has a lot of authority, it does not transmit as much authority as a page with both high values or even one with a low DR and a higher UR than our own site. These are two values that we can take into account when measuring the strength of a page but that we must understand separately.
How do we manage the use of external links?
Finding the right tool: Ahrefs
Before entering to analyze the way in which we manage the use of backlinks it is important to find the ideal tool. In this case, I do not hesitate to recommend Ahrefs, the link monitoring tool par excellence.
Ahrefs helps us discover those links that lead to our domain and, also, our competition. Without a doubt, a great help in our SEO strategy. Among its main functionalities are:
- Analysis of incoming domains
- Analysis of outgoing domains
- Analysis of broken domains
- Analysis of new domains
Traffic entry and positioning tracking through that link
Management of the use of external links: key factors to analyze for the success of the link building strategy
- Outbound links
The number of outbound links you have from your domain is important. From there you also measure the power that your URL has when you are linking to another website. The more outgoing links you have, the less power each URL that you link has: it’s not the same 1 divided by 10 as by 100.
- No-follow links
There is a widespread belief in the relationship with SEO and the exchange of links that is based on whether the links in a collaboration process should be follow or not follow. It is clear that the follow links pass authority to the linked websites, and that with the non-follow reference to the aforementioned website is achieved without Google detecting them … but are they not harmful to the DA of our website?
There are opinions that indicate it: they mention that the links do not follow negatively interfere in the reputation of a web and that Google could end up penalizing them.
However, we have not been able to find corroborating evidence. Of course, most websites and blogs consulted agree that we should try to get follow links from those sites that we are interested in taking advantage of. Not only by the mention itself, but also by the transfer of authority.
By this we mean that if there is something that we do have 100% clear and proven is that we must maintain a balance between links follow and not follow so that our website has more credibility in the eyes of Google. According to themselves they indicate…
“Make sure you have the correct proportion of non-follow links in your niche. Most websites have a combination of follow-up links follow and no follow. In some niches it is common to have a higher percentage of links not follow than in others. You should aim to have backward and / or follow-up relationships similar to those of your competition. There is no “golden rule” as a ratio of 20:80 for the follow and do not follow links. Every industry, theme, keyword, language and country has different rules. ”
- Better by link growth
In the tool of Ahrefs there is a tab called “Better by growth of links”, within the section “Pages”. This tab shows which pages of your website have been growing at the backlink level in the last 7, 15 and 30 days. In this way you can also track those pages that you are interested in that are well worked at the level of links and track what you have achieved and / or lost.
- Naturalness above all
The more natural the inclusion of a link exchange, the better. It is not recommended to get direct links to commercial keywords for which we are ranking. It would be much more natural to try to get a link to the content of another blog that cites us in this way:
In the latter case, we not only get the link to the desired content, but also a brand mention. This would be a 10/10.
- Comparative table of competence
The comparison of competition helps us to measure the values of our competitors but, in the case of link building, we focus mainly on the referrals part and its top content. In this way we can monitor which pages the competition is working with and to what extent their best and / or worst collaborations may be benefiting them.
Thus, we take into account the Top Referrers metric taken from Similar Web to see which pages bring more traffic to your pages and try to get a relationship with them (if we are interested). It is ideal to perform this analysis monthly.
- Use table to assess collaborations
Adapting a bit this table extracted from a post of Seo Azul to the data that Ahrefs gives us and the free version of Similar Web we can conclude which pages we might be interested in making collaborations:
Key metrics: strength and visibility
Strength and visibility are two key metrics, and that is why in this section I want to explain in detail the importance of each of them.
When we analyze the organic traffic of a website, we will be talking about visibility, while when we analyze backlinks we will be referring to force.
On the one hand, having a high score in terms of visibility is a sign that our website has not been penalized and everything works correctly. Google takes into account that users can surf the web without difficulties, so working on improving the visibility value is important and will benefit us in the long term. It makes sense, right?
On the other hand, the value of the strength of a web is also an important metric, although it is true that it can be manipulated artificially. In addition, a high score does not always mean that the website is of value, since it could even be penalized. A link on this website could bring you negative consequences. However, if the page has acquired strength adequately and not aggressively, this force may end up becoming visibility.
Taking into account these two concepts, I expose 4 possible scenarios to which you can face a web:
- High visibility and high strength: very valuable link.
- Low visibility and low force: link of little or no value, even unsafe. It would be necessary to analyze other factors.
- High visibility and low strength: medium value but safe link.
- Low visibility and high strength: low value link and risk. It would be necessary to analyze other factors.
Taking into account these data, we can conclude that, although the ideal is that a page has high metrics in terms of strength and visibility, we believe that visibility is a key added value.
Regarding the factors, we have established the following rates:
- Keyword (kw): we consider how many keywords are ranked in top 100 by Spain. 0-5: very low, <100: low, 100-1,000: medium,> 1,000: high,> 10,000: very high.
- Traffic: we take into account the monthly traffic of the page. 0-5: very low, <100: low, 100-1,000: medium,> 1,000: high,> 10,000: very high.
- DR: we analyze the Domain Rank of the page. <15: low, 15-40: medium, 40-60: high,> 60: very high.
- UR: we study the strength of the URL of the page. <15: low, 15-30: medium, 30-40: high,> 40: very high
- Ref domains and outgoing: <10: few, 10-30: medium, 30-60: enough,> 60: many.
In conclusion: links, yes, but quality
As we have seen, in order to make a webpage attractive in the eyes of the main search engines, it is essential to study and analyze the types of links on our page.
Finding the right tool (in this case, Ahrefs) and an exhaustive analysis of the link building will help us to recognize which links are of quality and which are essential:
- Visibility and strength: good figures in visibility assure us that our website is healthy. Ideally, we will try to maintain high values also in strength.
- Outbound links: again, we run into quality. Each linked URL has less power as the outbound links grow.
- No-follow links: we must try to maintain the balance between follow and follow links: this way we gain credibility in the face of Google.
- Link growth: the analysis of backlinks in recent days is also a key measurement.
- Naturalness of the links: it is important not to force a link. Naturalness is also rewarded by search engines.
- Analysis of the links of the competition: knowing what type of links and which pages the competition links can be very useful.
- Evaluation of the collaborations: we must know what the collaborations that we maintain contribute to us and evaluate if they are fruitful or, nevertheless, they penalize us.
After this analysis about the importance of the types of links beneficial or harmful to your website, we can conclude that it is important to use link exchange but always ensuring quality. It is useless to link by linking: in fact, it may be counterproductive to attract “bad” links to the traffic of your site.
What do you think about the content of this article? Do you need to dispel doubts or keep talking about it? Let’s continue, then, in the comments zone!