Incoming Links and Page Authority

How To Increase Page Authority By Building Incoming Links

Page Authority is a metric that measures how likely a given page on a website is to rank for search queries.

Ultimately it doesn’t matter what that number is as everything is relative to you and your competition.

Page Authority is calculated by the quality and quantity of links aimed at that specific page of your website.

SEO and page authority

How important is it?

For ranking in Google page authority and incoming links are easily an 8/10. In reality without incoming links and some page authority it is impossible to rank for even mildly competitive keywords.

What can you do to improve it?

You need to get high quality links to your pages that you want to rank in Google. These links must come from websites that are relevant in your market. If you can get links from authority sites in yor market then that is even better!

Detailed Explanation

Google ranks pages not websites – although the overall popularity and authority of your website is also a ranking factor. However the best way to understand how Google views websites is as a collection of individual pages based around a specific theme.

So this means that when you want to rank your individual service pages you need to build incoming links to these specific pages – not just the home page!

You improve the page authority of your pages by getting links to it from high quality sites.

The kind of sites I’m talking about are:

  • Authority sites in your market/industry
  • Well known journals for your market/industry
  • Popular blogs for your market/industry
  • High quality directories for your market/industry
  • Well known general information sites (like Wikipedia)
  • Local directory sites like Thomson and Yell
  • Local news and events sites which will help you rank locally

So the more of these kinds of authority links that you can get the more visible your pages will be in Google.

But how do you get these links?

Google’s policy is that links must be earned and not manufactured.

Google says create and syndicate great content and we will rank you.

The problem with this is – what is ‘great’ content? It’s too subjective!

Perhaps a bigger issue for business owners is the expense – creating content whether that be great or just regular content is an expense – you have to spend either time or money, usually some of both!

So unless you have a marketing department in your business that churns out multi-media content on a daily basis you need to think a bit smarter.

Should You Buy Links?

The days of buying links in its purest form are gone – it’s just far too risky now and actually doesn’t work.

In the old days you could go online and buy a variety of links with specified anchor-text relatively cheaply. And it worked!

But Google is so much more sophisticated than a few years ago and the subtleties around links, anchor-text ratios and quality are so intricate that this kind of blunt-force approach has the opposite effect. So you have to think carefully.

My two rules that you should religiously adhere to are;

  • Never buy links online
  • Never use software to syndicate content for mass link-building

These are two sure-fire ways to get your site banned by Google!

Rather than buyng links, we call it outsourcing content syndication – links are created by distributing multi-media content in various authoritative and relevant online properties with a link back t the target website.

If you are thinking about doing this it’s important to be sure to outsource to a reputable company – you can build many high-authority links but if you get the anchor-text ratios wrong you simply will not be able to rank that page!

Understanding Anchor Text

Previously it was very important to make sure that you get the keywords you want to rank for into the anchor text of lots of links aimed at your page. Anchor text is simply the text in a link.

For example, in this link -- click here -- "click here" is the anchor text.

So if you wanted a page to rank for "red widgets", in the past you would make sure that most of the links to your site had the anchor-text; red widgets

Once it became widely known that anchor-text was a hugely important aspect of a link webmasters and marketers hammered it until Google had to step in and change it. Now having your target keywords in the anchor text at a ratio of over 10% will have the opposite effect! This is known as "anchor text over-optimization."

This means that if you build 100 links to your page on red widgets and 75 of them have the anchor-text red widgets that is a 75% ratio and Google will kick your site into touch before you know what is happening.

Google’s change put more emphasis back to on-page optimisation – so they work out what keywords a page should rank for based on the meta-tags – URL, page title, heading tags - and page content. That’s not to say that you should spam your meta-tags with your keyword as Google will also penalise on-page over-optimisation!

So what should you do?

Keep it natural!

Only a handful of your links should have anchor text that exactly match the keywords you want to rank for. If you think about it it's not "natural" for links to contain the exact same keywords in the anchor text.

Here’s a good tip – take your main keyword and add prefixes and suffixes to it;

  • Best red widgets
  • Cheap red widgets
  • High quality red widgets
  • Red widgets in [location]
  • Red widgets for business
  • learn about red widgets here
  • advice on red widgets
  • how to use red widgets properly
  • red widgets for sale

You can also use the Keyword Planner to find related phrases.

anchor text ratioBasically you just need to mix it up so that anchor text is on topic but not exactly the same.

This keyword anchor text should be less than 10%

You’ll want your brand anchor-text to be about 30 – 40% and this covers your brabd name and all variations of your URL

Finally other anchor-text should be about 50% - this is generic phrases like "click here" or "this page", visit website etc.).

The issues around anchor text are why I always recommend that businesses have their main service descriptor in their domain. By this I mean the word that describes what they do – solicitor, accountant, roofer, etc.

So if you’re an accountants by the name BeanCounters your domain should be BeanCountersAccountants.com rather than just BeanCounters.com

This is because it offers relevance on every page and whan linking with the brand name you get your main service area or job title in there and this is what people search for on Google – the overall service descriptor.

Having links with the domain or url as the anchor text will not be penalized by Google, and yet still contain the keywords you want to rank for and helps push your site towards better rankings for those keywords.

Action Steps

  • You want links so compile a list of all biz directories and submit your business to them.
  • These will all be brand links
  • Next find some industry specific directories – these are higher quality and may require a fee.
  • Guest posting on blogs is another option – search Google and find some blogs in your industry, contact them and ask if they’d accept a guest post with attribution – many will. You could outsource the writing if it’s not your strong point
  • Write testimonials for businesses you’ve done business with and ask if they'd give you a link when they post it to their website.
  • Build Relationships With Complementary Businesses
  • Recycle Closed-Businesses Backlinks
  • Closed businesses can get you new links. Look for businesses in the industry that are no longer operating. They most likely had a website. Take a look at their backlink profile and reach out
    to the websites that linked to them.
  • Expired domains – find closed buisness domians that have lapsed, check their backlink profile and if they have links re-register them and 301 redirect them onto your website – this transfers the benefit of their links onto your site. You don’t want to redirect more than a couple of domains to your website as Google will see a red flag if you do this too many times.