Time To Stop Obsessing About DA And Metrics When Building Links?

Discussion in 'Orientation' started by Steve Brownlie, Jul 22, 2017.

  1. Steve Brownlie

    Steve Brownlie Building Links

    Nov 16, 2015
    I saw an interesting discussion on Twitter between some SEOs about DA and whether building DAXX+ links was better than 'building any good/sensible link' for clients.

    A couple piped up with the same experience I had back when we took consulting clients, and therefore was being paid for advice/having people come to us who didn't even know what links were - clients who knew nothing/therefore did not give us a list of 'requirements' for the work (eg DA20+ links only etc) tended to outperform clients who had set a minimum set of requirements for parts of the work.

    Now, don't get me wrong, all good links are good... if you cut out the low DA/low DR ones you're not suddenly building bad links but I think reconsidering whether you want minimum metrics could be a useful step for many.

    It Looks Weird

    Naturally we can only hypothesise about why many of us in the industry are seeing 'no DA target' campaigns outperform ones with a minimum. But when you look at the graphs James Finlayson posted here you can really see the difference:


    Or just look at my super awesome recreations:

    ! ___________ x
    ! ___________ x....x
    ! ___________ x.........x
    ! ___________ x...............x
    ! ___________ x...................x

    Not very natural looking.... vs

    ! ___________ x
    ! _______ x ......... x
    ! _____ x ..................... x
    ! _ x ................................... x

    Bit more natural spread of links....

    Between all the machine learning Google and other search engines are trying to do, and just human common sense inserting elements into the algorithm, it might be easy to deduce that sites with skewed profiles correlate with 'less good user experience' slightly more often due to being more likely to be a site that is focussing on that way of 'getting ahead' and therefore apply a slightly lower weighting when determining pages rankings on that site.

    Relevance Becoming More Important

    I'm becoming convinced that 'relevance' is becoming increasingly important. It makes logical sense. "What if lawyers were zombies" might get tons of links but from a practical standpoint, if you're designing a search engine, do you really want to weight votes from cartoon and movie sites as an endorsement for a law firm? Probably not.

    Our team is told to focus 100% on delivering relevance according to these criteria:

    - The article is 100% about or 100% related to the topic discussed on your site
    - The site being written for has a solid and natural reason to discuss the topic
    - The included link therefore would be a reasonable one for them to link to naturally

    But I think there's a lot more too it than that - if you focus on outreach naturally, and actually promoting the article in bullet 1 above to sites that would be interested in that, then the whole article can be written in a way where that link is essential, not just 'natural'. All that surrounding text - how well the link fits and what else is linked to - is becoming more of a factor in the value of a link.

    Slamming it into a vaguely related guest post is definitely going to have less value over time than something that fits beautifully.

    Rand Fishkin also did some tests (and this WBF in his pre moustache days...) https://moz.com/blog/prediction-anc...l-be-replaced-by-cocitation-whiteboard-friday - where he started to touch on cocitation. The idea that being around similar links/content that one expects to appear together is powerful.

    This exhibits itself in some industries - if all major sites are listed on a set of resource pages/useful links pages in an industry, and you're not that's probably a big miss for your site, while they are picking up the benefit.

    And logically, too, it's going to be easy to score on the cocitation front if the article you're being linked in is so relevant that cocitation happens naturally as the site owner writes it, not just your link barely fitting as it is, let alone having lots more similar links in there to other sites/brands that you would naturally be expected to appear next to.

    Now I'm not saying go built lots of links to your competitors here, of course. But what is clear is that an article that is both relevant, and has other links in to content on the same topic, is a stronger indication than your link belongs, than if it's more forced.

    With all this in mind, we've actually added a new option to our linkbuilding standard package for a more mixed type of package - including a full range of DR sites, and types of link including links pages, quick mentions, and full articles. For those of you who want to jump on board with me and stop caring about DR it might be just the package for you (see link in my sig).
    real, Tiberian, algospider and 3 others like this.
  2. secretsauce


    Jan 13, 2017
    @Steve Brownlie I agree.
    I personally would prefer to get a link on a page that is topically relevant to the target url plus ideally if that page with the link on it is ranking for search term(s) and gaining regular organic search on its own.
    Steve Brownlie likes this.
  3. Ryuzaki

    Ryuzaki 女性以上のお金 Staff Member

    Sep 3, 2014
    I that it not only doesn't look natural, but is a very easy and obvious way to check and see who's spamming with SAPE or buying links in bulk.

    The easy way around it is to let the pro's get you the top tier links and you put in the leg work to acquire the easier, lower metric ones. Eventually those take care of themselves as you get enough SERP exposure and as you actively market your site online.

    But the reality is that there's a lot of businesses that want to outsource the whole ordeal, and why not if it's still legit marketing? It's white hat. So the option of having a wider spread of metrics is a great choice for new sites that still haven't established their own large link profile.

    Then there's guys like me who are still going to prefer the finest metrics because they already put in their time in the trenches so that a handful of links isn't going to knock their profile off-kilter.

    This is a great point Steve makes and is one of the ways that set off alarms that there might be a PBN involved too.

    Keeping it natural is the name of the game for everyone, white hat or not, because you can get caught up as a bystander, or it's something you never think about as you scrape outreach targets and filter because "who has time to hit up all these sites, might as well only do the best ones."
    c4yrslf12 and Steve Brownlie like this.