When it comes to building links, many people chase authority as the holy grail of link building. The theory is that the more authoritative sites that link to yours, the better your search result rankings will be. And while authority does play a part in ranking results, it is by no means the only part, and some believe that relevancy, and not authority should be held as the strongest metric to strive for. As a relevancy-first link building firm, Page One Power deeply believes in the philosophy of relevancy over authority.
Authority vs. Relevancy
Search engines assign ranks to web pages based partly on the quality of the sites that link to them. If your site is linked on highly respected sites such as Wikipedia, CNN.com, or Cnet.com, the search algorithms will assign a high authority to your site. The theory is that if these top-tier sites are referencing yours, you must be providing content that is useful and sought after. It is for this reason that link builders often chase links on sites with high authority, hoping to leverage the authority for their own site. And this is a proven strategy, the authority does flow down from these high authority sites to positively affect search rankings.
Of course this is not the only metric that search algorithms look at. They also take into account the relevancy of the sites that link to yours. So while search engines use on-page features such as keywords, and meta descriptions to determine what your site is about, they also take into account the anchor text of your links and the type of sites that link back to yours. This means that if your keywords are “organic baked chocolate cookies” and you have the anchor text “organic cookies” on a site about organic cooking, search engines will see that not only is your anchor text relevant to your site’s keywords, but that both are relevant to the organic cooking site as well. The algorithm will see this as a natural link because the two sites are related, so it makes sense for them to link to one another. Now if the organic cooking site also has high authority, of course that makes the link even better.
So it is clear that both relevancy and authority are important when it comes to link building; so why put relevancy first? The theory behind this is that as search engine algorithms become more advanced, relevancy will become more and more important. As they become more in tuned with what keywords belong together and how ideas are related, relevancy will become a better measure of the quality and usefulness of a given site to a given niche or idea. So you could go out and build links to your organic cookie site high authority design blogs, news websites, technology blogs, music and film sites, and any highly ranked site you can find, but search engines will increasingly see these links as unrelated to what your site is about and devalue them. But if you build your links to sites about organic food, recipes, baking, desserts, and homemaker blogs of various page authorities, the algorithms will begin to recognize that when it comes to organic cookies, your site is highly referenced within that niche.
So the main philosophy behind relevancy-first link building is that search engines will become more and more attuned to what sites inhabit the same topics or ideas, and begin to rank sites higher for being linked on sites within that niche. Therefore, putting relevancy first is a link building strategy that will stand the test of time and easily weather future algorithm updates.
Author bio: Justin Gilmore is a Web Content Developer for Page One Power, a relevancy-first link building firm.