Authority or relevance – What’s more important for links?


It’s no secret that backlinks matter. Inbound links are a fundamental ranking factor in Google’s ranking algorithms and although content quality is very important, in order to build up authority online a website needs quality inbound links. If you don’t believe me, try ranking for car insurance with a great page, full of the best content but with no inbound links!

However, not all links are created equal and some links will have more of an effect than others. There are many factors that determine what weighting is passed across from a link (which we won’t go into here), if at all, but a common discussion around links is about authority vs relevance. Which one is more important?

The reality is that a link from an authoritative and trusted website, not necessarily in an associated industry, is going to be more impactful than a link from a lower authority website but which may be more relevant to the destination website. Both links, if they are deemed by Google’s algorithm to be “natural” links, are likely to help the page being linked to to rank better, but the authoritative website is likely to have the highest influence.

It is for this reason that you often see large authority websites, which may not necessarily have the best content, still outrank better, related websites but with lower overall authority. Authority (links) matters. Links are still a very significant aspect of a website when it comes to good rankings. Authority first, relevancy second.

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