Continuing with our trend of answering the most common questions we get from our clients, today we’re going to dive into one of the biggest.
Does organic traffic matter?
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Or, for the sake of precision: does the amount of traffic from a domain linking to me affect the power of that backlink? Does the organic traffic of a site on Ahrefs or SEMRush pass more ‘juice’ for its backlinks if it’s high?
Well, in itself, we don’t think traffic is a huge ranking factor.
First of all, analysing all the traffic of each website is an absurd task for Google to manage. That would mean that they have accurate traffic data on each domain that links to a specific website, which is only possible if said website is linked to Google Analytics and has a GA code.
So, if a website doesn’t have a GA code, it’s highly unlikely Google can tell exactly how much traffic that website is pulling. They might use approximations, a la Ahrefs or SEMRush. Still, search volume is a varying and imperfect representation of the ranking value of a website. It just means users are Google Searching for terms related to the niche and topics they are optimised to rank for.
Instead of pure traffic volume, Google’s algorithm still prioritises mostly Authority – domain and backlink Authority – and Link Relevancy.
So, is website site traffic a completely irrelevant metric?
Like we said before, we don’t think it is a huge ranking factor, but that doesn’t mean it is not a ranking factor at all. Let’s elaborate on that by using an example.
Say you have two links coming from a DR50 site and one has 40,000 traffic while the other has 100,000 traffic. If we were to guess which one is the better backlink, most people would answer it’s the one with a traffic of 100,000.
Even if we cannot ensure that the traffic is 100% accurate, having a large difference in estimated traffic lets us rule out several red flags from one website over the other, making their backlinks of a potentially higher quality.
When you combine this type of analysis to Domain Rating, DA, SEMRush or Majestic metrics, which on their own can be manipulated, you will get a more grounded assessment of the quality of any backlink.
And what are the red flags you can rule out by having a backlink from a website with high estimated traffic?
The most obvious one is that if the site has a high traffic amount, it’s almost certain it has no spam penalties.
Also, you can imply their content is quality since it appeals to a big audience. Lastly, their backlink profile has been built with organic ranking in mind.
And this is why traffic matters
So, it certainly isn’t the ultimate ranking factor. Still, it does mean that the links building that site’s estimated traffic are of better quality when compared to another site with a lower traffic metric.
Therefore, from several sites of the same DR, the site with the highest traffic will make the better-quality site to get links from.
What estimated traffic helps gain for your backlink profile is link quality. So, whenever your building links to your site, always make sure that there’s significant traffic from those referring domains.
That’s why at Searcharoo, we pride ourselves to offer complete link transparency, so you can check the organic traffic estimate of all the links we propose for your order.
All right then, we can all agree that: same DR but more traffic = a better backlink.
And what about CTR? (Clickthrough rate)
Well, just like with website traffic, Google can’t track clicks to your website if it’s not linked to Google Analytics.
This means that if you go into a website that it’s not in Google Analytics – no GA code installed– and you are using a browser other than Chrome, Google will have a hard time identifying your clicks and be prone to discrepancies.
So, can Google accurately read every click for every single website? (Any per-click metrics such as CTR).
The answer is no, but just like with website traffic, don’t discount CTR as a ranking factor completely.
It is just that these are the reasons why CTR has never been the #1 ranking factor for Google. They simply don’t have this data for every website that’s indexed.
What they do have more data on is backlink juice, and, for the foreseeable future, they’ll highly prioritise this metric over others.
So, what’s the deal with CTR and traffic?
Ok, let’s say you have two pages index in Google; the first one is your domain’s home page and the other one is a blog post from another website that backlinks to your site. Both pages rank for the keyword ‘buy boilers online’ with approximately 50,000 monthly searches.
So, in scenario one, more users click on your domain’s home page. This means Google will add more value to your site since it will receive more traffic via CTR.
In our second scenario, more users click on the blog post from another domain that backlinks to your site. Google will also add more value to your site since it’s being linked by a blog post from a site with high traffic via CTR.
So, a domain’s organic traffic is not the only thing that matters, also individual pages backlinking from another domain that is ranking for the same keyword. However, Google will only track and add its expected ranking value to sites indexed in their search engine and linked to Google Analytics.
Then when they determine that a site is ranking for a certain keyword, they’ll be more prone to associate related keywords to said site. So, going back to our scenarios, that page that ranked for ‘buy boilers’ (51K per month) and had high CTR to its home page will start ranking for ‘buy boilers’ (320K per month) as well.
This is how you want to start ranking if you plan on becoming a big player. You go for the long-tail keywords first and start moving through the ranks. Then you’ll move on to those highly-coveted, big volume, big competition and money-making keywords.
First of all, CTR matters, but only because Google adds more value to pages when they get traffic from their own SERPs. Also, overall website traffic matters too. Combined with CTR, traffic will determine how a page will rank when associated with a query for specific keywords.
However, at Searcharoo, experience has taught us that Google’s algorithm favours page authority and backlink relevance more than estimated organic traffic and clickthrough rate.
And lastly, those last two, nonetheless, are still important since they represent what end-users are gravitating towards when running queries in Google’s SERPs.
When executing your link building strategy, try to go for links that have high traffic and make sure to send those higher traffic links to your most important pages with high relevance to the keyword you want to rank for.
And if you’re struggling and don’t know where to start, contact us. Our experience can make your life easier when link building for your website.
Database Management & New Link Acquisition at Searcharoo. Also, self-taught content creator, community manager, and marketing researcher/reviewer, savvy in SEO, product marketing and brand conceptualization, social media and communication campaigns.