Backlinks: The Balance Between Relevance and Authority

June 6, 2018

Do you provide a product or service in an online market? Then, without a doubt, you’ll want to build a working relationship with search engines. They analyze and index your content based on relevance, then measure authority to determine which URLs rank higher. While the path to search engine optimization (SEO) is littered with rules and roadblocks, you should never overlook the importance of relevance and authority. From solid content to backlinks, let’s break down how to build your online presence.

Search Engine Optimization

Search engines like Google need to understand your web copy and “like” it in order to place it near the top of the results page. But, of course, Google can’t form a subjective opinion. So until the uprising of artificial intelligence (e.g., WestWorld, Ex Machina), page ranking is based on facts and numbers.

Google doesn’t care how long you worked on your blog or landing page, and it certainly doesn’t care how interesting it is. It’s decision to rank is based on this question: How interesting did other people find it? And that’s something that can be measured.

Become an Authority with Backlinks

Interest and influence – your authority – is measured with something called backlinks. As their name suggests, backlinks, or external links, refer to other websites or online sources that link to your web content. They’re one of the most important, yet too often overlooked, factors in your site’s SEO.  

But don’t get too excited, because not all backlinks are created equal. You want link volume and credibility, and while there are ways of buying links in bulk, doing so will hurt your rank much more than it will help. The best course of action to earn organic backlinks is to create a link building campaign. Such a campaign would involve:

  • Participating in forums
  • Interacting with other sources, encouraging them to feature your material
  • Building relationships with credible sources
  • Guest blogging

The trouble is, even when you build relationships, people these days are more likely to share content than link to it. So how do you encourage external links and make sure Google recognizes that you are the ultimate authority on a certain subject? Stay relevant.

Write Relevant Content

First, decide which broad topics you want to be known for. These topics should encompass groups of applicable keywords. For example, at Cosmitto, we strive to be a relevant source on Content Marketing. Types of keywords that fall under that topic are, for example, “buyer persona,” “content strategy,” or “analytics.”

Once you choose 1-3 umbrella topics, you’ll want to garner around the same amount of backlinks as your competitors. Here’s how to figure out how many links to aim for:

  • Open up an incognito page and search for your predetermined topics
  • Take note of the URLs listed in the top 10 positions
  • Run those URLs through a link checking tool
  • Calculate the average number of backlinks/domains

Now, write regularly about your chosen topics to encourage external links, keeping track on how many you acquire.

However, you can’t build authority or relevance through volume alone. You must produce quality content as well, content your target audience and potential customer wants or needs. Don’t be a content factory, be storytellers.

Find the Balance Between Relevance and Authority

Like most matters of importance, building authority and relevance takes both time and strategy. But remember, they play off one another. If your content has authority but isn’t relevant, or the reverse, your site shows relevance but lacks authority, there’s a good chance it won’t rank. You need to find a balance. So if you’re looking for a philosophy, make it this: Quality content equals quality backlinks.

Want to build relevance and authority on your site? Continue the conversation with Cosmitto.

Quality content equals quality backlinks.

Emily Laubham

Emily Laubham