Correlation Between Authority Links and Rankings: What Do You Need to Know

Last updated Mar 6, 2024 | Published Mar 11, 2021
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If you want to be successful in SEO, you need to pay attention to links, as Google and other search engines use them as a way to understand page authority. Think of them as the reputation of a website on the Internet, with a link from website A to website B viewed as a vote that can be trusted. If five people who don’t know each other recommended this or that restaurant as the best in your city, you would probably believe that you can eat deliciously there since several people have a positive review about it.

Correlation Between Authority Links and Rankings

Google views backlinks as popularity votes for a website or webpage, and there is a close relationship between those with more links pointing to them and higher rankings. Any link from someone else’s website to yours (or any other site) is a backlink, but you will soon find out that not all links are created equal. Just like you trust the recommendation of someone you respect versus someone you’ve never met before, Google trusts backlinks from authoritative websites and does not trust unknown or less trustworthy ones.

Highly Authoritative Backlinks

It might seem like a good idea to create high-level backlinks to your site in order to increase its rankings. Remember we mentioned that not all links are created equal and that Google’s algorithm focuses on the ones it trusts the most. Highly authoritative backlinks are those that come from trusted sources, for example, from a newspaper. It makes sense that Google would trust a link from the New York Times or from any other reputable website that is credible.

Google ranks authority using their PageRank algorithm, but this is no longer a public metric as they stopped updating and subsequently removed their PageRank dashboard in 2016, and google ranking factors are constantly improving. You can learn more about PageRank and how it applies to link building in 2021. However, when assessing whether a link is good or not, factors such as credibility and how well the site is sharing quality content should be considered when representing the real value to users.

For links to boost your rankings, you need to make sure you are getting quality links. You want to avoid those that violate the Google Webmaster Guidelines, such as those that fall under the classification designed to manipulate search results. Follow the tactics we’ll cover, and you will have nothing to worry about knowing that you are getting links in the right way. This is one of the ways Google finds new pages.

Search bots use links to find new pages on the Internet, according to search engine ranking factors in 2021 – this is one of the main ways to find, crawl, and index content. A link from a trusted source will help Google index your content faster, which means it should rank faster as well. Good links increase your reliability and trust. Good links from reputable and reliable sources will help you rank better in terms of SEO, but they can also increase your credibility as a business. Think of it this way…

Let’s say you’re a tech startup. There is a good chance that not too many people know about your business (yet). So if you can manage to get press coverage and link from a reputable source, you will have a massive boost in the credibility of your business. If you then continue to get authoritative links from serious industry publications and from recognized experts who talk about you, this will drive traffic to your site. Even if we ignore the value of SEO, it is worth its weight in gold for journalists and editors in key publications in your industry to link to you.

What Links Are Considered Authoritative

  • Posted on reputable resources with high Site Quality Index

The main indicators of the site quality are high trust (trust of search engines) and site quality index.

The higher the trust and the site quality index are, the greater the weight of the posted link is. Link weight is the same as a person’s authority. The higher the quality of the resource, the more authoritative and “weightier” the links published on it are. When many reputable people speak well of you, you will also become authoritative and respected. It’s the same with a website: the more high-weight links link to it, the more weight and the higher ranking it acquires in search results.

In addition, sites with high rates of trust and site quality index have good traffic, which can lead to targeted traffic to your resource.

Often the trust of a site for search engines is more important than the location of the link and its indexing. For example, one non-indexable link (Nofollow) located closer to the footer of a page on Wikipedia may have more weight than a contextual link on a spam site.

How to determine the trust of a site

The method of analysis by which search engines determine whether a link is of high quality or not is called Trust Rank. Search engines themselves do not disclose which links they considered to be of high quality and which ones were not. But there are services with similar algorithms. They will help determine, if not the exact Trust Rank, then very close to the evaluation of the search engines.


You can check the trust of sites using the services:


Hosted on a site with high Domain Authority and Page Authority

Metrics developed by Moz evaluate a resource by many different parameters (more than 150) and assign it a rating on a scale from 1 to 100. Domain Authority shows how competitive a domain will be in search results, and Page Authority predicts the rating of an individual page on a site. Achieving a score of 100 is almost impossible, but perfectionism is not needed. High-quality backlinks can be obtained from a resource whose rating is above 30.

  • Relevant to the page theme

Relevant links are those that are meaningfully related to the topic of the page on which they are located and meet the needs of readers. When posting a link on a third-party site, ask yourself the question: “Will it be useful to the audience of this resource?” If the link complements the content and helps to immerse the reader deeper into the topic, then it is relevant.

For example, the creator of a task prioritization service wrote an article about his product. He published it on a thematic resource and indicated a link to the description of the task criteria. This link is helpful as it helps readers to learn more about the product.

  • Posted on sites in your region

The relevance of the donor site is not only about the subject matter but also about geography.

Let’s say you have a car repair shop in Atlanta. The search engine will rate a link back to it from the Atlanta portal higher than a link from a site somewhere in Asheville. But if you have a network of car repair shops all over the State, backlinks to the resources of different regions, including federal ones, will be equally valuable.

  • Correctly placed inside the content

Links that are inscribed in the text on the page (contextual) have more weight than links in sidebars and footers. But simply placing a link in the body of an article is not enough: search engine algorithms also analyze near-link text.

For example, you post a link to your blog about wine with the anchor “Wine of Tuscany.” The search engine will check to see if the text contains words related to the topic, for example: “Italy,” “winemaking,” “Chianti,” “wine selection,” and other combinations that would naturally appear in connection with the mention of wines from Tuscany.

Bad: Taking a vacation at home is a good opportunity to discover new things, like learning to yodel or tasting Tuscan wines.

Good: Tuscany is Italy’s premier wine region. Among the best wines of Tuscany are red wines with a bright taste and rich aroma: Chianti, Rosso di Montalcino.

In the first case, the link looks spam and is obviously placed only for the sake of advertising – it can be easily replaced with “reading comics” or “cross-stitching,” the meaning of the text will not change. In the second case, the link naturally complements the content and enriches it. Instead of reading a long list of wines from Tuscany, the reader can follow the link and discover them.

The higher the link is placed on the page, the more static weight it transfers to the resource to which it leads. The most “weighty” will be the links placed at the beginning of the article or close to the header of the site.

At the same time, the more links there are on the page, the less weight is transferred by each of them. For example, in an article, there is one link that transfers the conditional weight of 10. If you place nine more links in the same article, the first will transfer the weight equal to 1. This is a conditional example. In reality, everything is somewhat more complicated since the links have different weight.

  • As a rule, authoritative links are placed in texts not shorter than 2,000 characters

Long, detailed content brings in more traffic, has higher search rankings, and gets more backlinks. Here are some studies on this topic:

  • HubSpot looked at nearly 6,000 articles and found that articles longer than 2,000 words received the most backlinks.
  • Analysts of the service for generating heat maps CrazyEgg found that the average length of content on pages in the top 10 results for any query in Google is at least 2,000 words.

At the same time, in both cases, the authors note: it’s not the volume but the usefulness of the content. Search engines value long articles not for the number of characters but for the fact that they are meaningful and provide users with valuable information. Search algorithms see what readers like and assign more weight to links with that content.

Tip: Create affiliate materials that will answer the maximum number of readers’ questions and organically add links to the pages of your resource into the text.

Final Word

Try to get links from relevant and authoritative sites. Making content that people want to link to is only half the battle because no one can link to content that they don’t know that exists. That’s why you need to connect with the right people and talk about your content.

There are many ways to find the right people right now, so consider three groups first:

  • People mentioned in your article
  • People who have written articles on related topics
  • People who have linked to articles on related topics
  • Find and connect with the right people to building connections with bloggers.

Also, use internal links to increase the authority of important pages.

Continue following the above process to build your site’s authority and search engine optimization. Then you can use the middleman method to channel some of the “authority” you’ve earned to the pages you want to rank for.

Finally, building a site’s authority shouldn’t be your main goal. Instead, focus on building quality links from relevant and authoritative sites to the pages you want to rank for. During this process, your domain ranking will naturally increase.

Keep in mind that links are not the only ranking factor in Google if your main goal is to improve your position in Google SERPs, but authoritative backlinks certainly have an important connection with high ranking on SERP.

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