The importance of building a backlink strategy is often lost on clients—they prefer to focus on methods that produce immediate results, like Google Ads.
Once I explain why the links pointing to their site matter, however, I get to watch their perspective on digital marketing shift. It’s that same “aha” moment I had when I unraveled this (not-so) secret to online visibility.
And once clients understand, they want to start right away.
So here it is, my favorite elevator pitch: why backlinks matter and why a backlink strategy is completely worth the investment.
Why backlinks matter
My favorite metaphor to describe backlinks is a town and its surrounding roads.
Backlinks to credible sites are like paved highways, and they bring lots of visitors to your town. Now think of backlinks to non-credible sites as unstable gravel roads that nobody wants to travel on.
You want links that can bring you more website traffic. Makes sense, right? Stay with me, however, because it gets a little more complicated than that.
Search engines like Google and Bing are also looking at the links going to your website in their efforts to judge the quality and authority of your site. To revisit our metaphor, if links are roads, the busy multi-lane highway headed into town says a lot about how many people want to visit each month. And if your job is getting a traveler to their desired destination as fast as possible (like Google), you’re going to refer them to highways, not gravel roads.
The basics of Domain Authority
Based on the quantity and quality of your website’s inbound links, the search engines determine your site’s overall authority. They then prioritize sites with more authority in search results.
While the exact algorithm search engines use to determine a site’s authority remains a mystery (and likely always will), marketing and tech experts have developed their own widely accepted rating system for sites called a Domain Authority score (DA).
Your Domain Authority is a number between 1 and 100, with 100 being the most credible site imaginable and anything under 30 or so considered a "toxic" website that will actively hurt your authority if they rank to you. DA is calculated by analyzing the quality and number of backlinks pointing to your site, just like the search engines do.
I cannot emphasize enough the power of your Domain Authority score. It’s a metric I barely hear mentioned in marketing, but it has the ability to transform your digital presence if you pay attention.
This magical little number is a huge factor in how search engines determine how high you show up in search results, whether you’re on the first page of results or the 10th. There are a number of other factors as well, like how you format your content and whether you optimize your meta descriptions, but your authority score is a hugely defining factor.
Examples of DA’s influence
- One local shoe store sees its competitor always shows up on the first page of Google search results for "shoe stores near me." Meanwhile, they're on the fifth page. Because their authority score is very low, they need to spend money on Google search ads if they'd want to show up on the first page.
- A new business launches its website offering telehealth therapy. They’ve developed multiple pages of content filled with keywords, from blogs to service pages to all-encompassing FAQ pages. Still, a larger company with only a small section on its website about telehealth therapy shows up way above it in organic results when searching for that service. Why? That larger company has a higher DA score.
- Two universities offer the exact same programs, but one of the schools recently put out a student survey, which many high-quality publications linked to. This school’s authority score skyrocketed, which meant it now shows up higher in search results than the other school regardless of the program being searched.
How to increase your authority score
By now, I hope you’ve experienced that “aha” marketing moment, that sudden realization that your business needs to get started pronto.
Let me reiterate that this is a slow, ongoing process. Increasing your authority score is not going to provide immediate, visible results the way a two-week campaign might. You also shouldn’t pause ongoing revenue-building efforts—building high-quality backlinks happens in the background.
If increasing your authority score is a priority, we always recommend starting with a backlink audit. In this, we:
Take out the trash
We'll identify which sites linking to you are toxic, meaning they have extremely low authority scores themselves. These sludgy backlinks can drag your authority score down, but we can tell search engines to disavow them.
See what your competitors are up to
As stealthy backlink spies, we can determine all the links that go to your competitors’ sites. From that, we can determine what it would take to beat them out.
Identify linking opportunities
Based on your competitors’ links as well as our own research, we can show you which high-authority sites you should build links with, whether it's through sponsored content, forums, or other means.
When all those pieces are put together in the backlink audit, our team then helps you develop a full backlink-building strategy that identifies continuous efforts to steadily boost your authority score. That means higher rankings, more visibility, and ultimately more sales.
If you’re ready to make this worthwhile investment, reach out to the team here at Informatics. We’re ready to help build bigger roads for your site!
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