Link Building Metrics
Link Building Metrics
There are various metrics associated with links that you should be aware of. These metrics can help you judge the value of a potential link, helping you assess whether it is worth pursuing and how much resources you should put into acquiring it. Knowing these kinds of metrics is also useful when you are doing link profile analysis (a holistic report of the number and types of links on a website), whether on a competitor’s website or your own.
Domain strength is the cumulative value of an entire domain. Instead of looking at the value of individual pages, we look at the domain as a whole to understand how strong it is.It is usually displayed as either Domain Authority or as the homepage’s Page Authority.PageRank is calculated by Google and based on the number and quality of links pointing to a web page. It runs on a scale from 0-10, with 10 being the highest. We can use the PageRank of a website’s homepage to get an idea of how strong it is. Although technically this is only the PageRank of a single page, it is still a good indicator of the strength of a domain, because the majority of a website’s links will be to the homepage and PageRank flows from there to internal pages.It should be noted that there is a difference between “Toolbar PageRank” and the actual PageRank used by Google. Toolbar PageRank is visible to you by installing the Google Toolbar on your browser or by using a browser plug-in/extension that pulls data from the same source. It is updated every 3-4 months by Google, which is different from the actual PageRank that is more fluid, constantly updated by Google to be fed into their ranking algorithm.
For that reason, the PageRank you see in the Google Toolbar could be several months old. This is why new web pages mainly have a PageRank score of 0: They need to wait for Google to update the toolbar.Domain Authority is calculated by Moz and runs on a scale of 0-100, with 100 being the highest. It uses a number of signals taken from the Moz crawler and tries to predict how well a domain will perform in search results. It is useful alongside PageRank as another indicator of how strong a domain is. In terms of link building, site strength is a good metric to use because you want to get links from websites that are very strong. If the links you get are from strong domains, they will pass more strength to your own website, which is a clear signal to Google that you have a good site that deserves to rank well.For example, CNN has a PageRank of 8 and a Domain Authority of 99. Lots of other websites link to CNN because it is an authoritative website with high-quality content. Because of this, CNN is not very likely to link to low-quality websites, so if you get a link from CNN, it is a signal that you have a good website, too.
Tools to measure domain strength•PageRank extension for Chrome•MozBar for measuring Page Authority•Google Toolbar for PageRank (for Internet Explorer)
There will be occasions when you have the opportunity to get a link from a page that already exists on a website, as opposed to a new page that is created for a blog post or news item. An example could be an existing list of some kind to which your link gets added; perhaps your coffee shop is added to a page with a list of the best espresso in Seattle.In cases like this, you should assess how strong the page is so that you know how worthwhile the link is to you before you put too much effort into acquiring it. There are two main metrics, and they are nearly identical to those for domain strength: PageRank and Page Authority.We’ve already talked about PageRank. Page Authority is another Moz metric that is very similar to Domain Authority, except that it only applies to a single page rather than an entire domain.The higher the PageRank / Page Authority of the page you want a link from, the more likely it is to help you with your SEO efforts.
We’ve already covered the meaning of anchor text; now lets consider what it means as a metric for SEOs.Anchor text can give Google an indication of the subject matter of the page being linked to. So if I linked to a page using the words “fitness routine,” then it is likely that the page being linked to contains information about fitness routines. Google can then use this information as part of its ranking algorithms. In this case, they may decide that the page being linked to should rank higher for the keyword “fitness routine” and close variations.For many years, having a lot of links pointing to your website that contained your keyword as the anchor text was a very good way of helping you rank well for that keyword. While this is still the case to some extent, it does appear that the strength of anchor text as a signal is diminishing slightly. This is most likely because of the over-optimization of anchor text by SEOs and Google’s readiness to penalize such websites through the Penguin update.Rand talked about this in an episode of Whiteboard Friday and gave some indicators of what Google may use instead. Number of LinksDue to the changing nature of the perception and use of anchor text, it is probably best to be cautious when building links. Try not to build too many links that have the exact same anchor text in them, particularly if the links are not of the highest quality, such as links that are from low-quality domains, non-editorial sitewide links, or links that have too much anchor text (for more details on link quality, check out this post on State of Digital). You should try to make your link profile look as natural as possible, which often means getting links that use your brand or company name as the anchor text.