Website authority is a very important factor for search engine optimization (SEO), marking a difference between high-quality sites and other sites. An authoritative link is always going to be better for your link building efforts than a link from a less authoritative website, but how does this actually work?
Like with so many aspects of SEO, domain authority is a complicated system not often understood by anyone other than SEO professionals. We are here to help clear up the confusion, bringing our industry expertise to bear on the world of authoritative backlinks.
What is the difference between high-authority websites and low-quality sites? What makes a website authoritative? How should you go about obtaining links from other sites with a high level of domain authority?
All this and more will be explored below. We will show you how authoritative inbound links can make all the difference to any site owner.
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When you get backlinks to your website’s content, those can be of wildly varying quality. Shady links from dodgy sites are not going to help your ranking in the search results pages by much, while a high-quality inbound link from a reputable website can make a huge difference.
Essentially, authoritative outbound links from a website are those that come from a website with a high level of authority.
To understand that, we are going to need to explore what makes a website authoritative so it can provide authoritative links.
Authoritative websites are a central part of any link building strategy. An authoritative website is a credible source of information that ranks high in organic search results.
When your site is authoritative, users who visit it will recognize that it is professional and will trust the information provided.
On the back end, authoritative websites back up their knowledge with outstanding SEO practices, including quality linking, a reliable domain name, and user-friendly site design.
Users on authoritative websites are extremely engaged, with readers routinely sharing the site’s material among themselves, commenting in comment sections on blog post pages, liking, and generally interacting with the site.
Hosting informative content on an authoritative website is a great way to increase user trust, create a better user experience, and capture your target audience effectively.
When you combine great SEO, high-quality content, high user engagement rates, and user experience your site will certainly earn authority in your area. When you do this, your outbound links to other sites will be treated as authoritative links, providing more link juice to those sites.
Similarly, having an authoritative site will probably help you to earn more backlinks. People like to link and share reliable information from authoritative sources much more than outdated content from sites they do not know if they can trust! Becoming an authoritative source in your specific niche is one of the best ways to earn links organically.
Authoritative sites rank highly on search engines like Google when users make relevant searches for the website’s niche topic.
Whatever your company’s area of expertise is, the current most authoritative website on that subject is the one to beat if you want your material to be seen by a wide audience on Google or Bing.
SEO methods such as building a backlink portfolio and verifying that all links point to high-quality sites are worth learning in order to boost your website’s authority.
There are, however, no quick routes to industry knowledge and trustworthy material. You will have to take the time to learn the techniques. if you want your page to rank well on Google.
There are a number of third-party metrics that can be measured to determine whether a web page is authoritative or not.
Remember, these are third-party – they do not come from Google and may not be entirely accurate. Google algorithms change, and the way certain metrics are weighted can change significantly between updates.
Let’s break down the important metrics that drive traffic and rank sites highly in authority.
The domain names of websites are a very good indicator of how authoritative sites are. Different domains have different levels of authority, with .edu, .gov, and .org domains usually seen as the highest value.
Many webmasters like to prioritize .edu domains in their link building efforts, as they often maintain an active blog presence and are easy to reach out to while being held in high regard as a trusted source.
.org domains can be fakes – unscrupulous users can create untrustworthy .org websites in order to scam people. When it comes to evaluating the trustworthiness of .org websites, follow your instincts and consider them critically. .edu and .gov websites are much harder to create without legitimate authority, however, and tend to have even more authority.
The content and focus of a website matter significantly to its authority. This is less about how Google views the site and more about how human users interact with it.
For example, a website that hosts expert writers writing relevant blogs that show their content expertise will be a popular resource for users, who are likely to be linking to it on their own sites.
Creating authoritative content is likely to help your site rank highly for organic links and other third-party metrics.
High Quality Backlinks
A website’s backlink profile is one of the most important metrics in the SEO industry. Having a lot of inbound links from other websites shows Google search engine crawlers that your site is authoritative in its focus niche.
Inbound links are more important than outbound links here, and standard link building methods such as guest blogging are a good way to build your authority for search engines.
Search engines treat sites with inbound links from authoritative websites as being authoritative themselves. Authority passes along links in a form known as “link juice,” flowing from the linking website to the target website just like traffic.
Authoritative websites tend to have a high level of user engagement. This is not a metric generally used by search engines but one used by human visitors.
If people see your page as relevant and high-value, they will engage with your website and your own content organically. If a website seems to have a large amount of user engagement, then it is likely to be relevant, high value, and high quality.
The flip side of this is that if user engagement looks fishy, a site is likely to be low quality. For example, sites with a lot of identical or spammy-looking comments are likely to be poor quality rather than relevant.
As always, you should be wary when evaluating any web page for authority and value.
The Problem With These Metrics
The metrics listed above are a good way to guess at your authority, but they are not official metrics provided by a search engine. Rather, they have been developed by industry leaders in an attempt to work out what makes a website authoritative.
Google does not share the details of the system used to determine the authority of a site or a link. That means that nobody in the industry actually knows the specifics of how site authoritativeness works, and all anyone can do is make informed guesses based on what they know about the various systems in play here.
Unfortunately, the process of link building is the same regardless of which site you are trying to get a link from. All you can really do is reach out to the webmaster of your chosen site and hope that you have enough top-quality content on your site that they will want to link to your site.
You can’t expect much of a hit rate when cold emailing reputable websites, but the impact of a few links from authoritative sources on your search engine rankings should not be underestimated.
As with all link building strategies, persistence is key. Make a long list of good sites to try to get links from, and contact all of them. Even with a low hit rate, you should get some level of results eventually.
While websites and links can be authoritative, there is no real way to put a clear number on exactly how authoritative any given link is. The best you can do is guess using the metrics outlined above.
In general, a link to your blog or website from a high-value site will drive more traffic than one from a spammy site, and that is an easy thing to track. It is important to monitor your backlink profile constantly and keep an eye on where links to your sites are coming from.
Scott Calland is a highly regarded content specialist with an English Degree. He has a passion for creating compelling content as a UK journalist that engages, informs, and entertains readers. With over 10 years of experience in creating news publications as a reporter, Scott has developed a keen eye for detail and a deep understanding of how to craft content that resonates with audiences. Working closely with data analysts Scott’s research on topics is unrivalled for latest news updates.
Scott is also an investor in Searcharoo.