The Only Link Metric That Matters in Local SEO
I think you’ll agree with me when I say that SEO has gotten more difficult.
If you’ve done local SEO for any amount of time, you know that obtaining high rankings requires on-page SEO, citations, content, and backlinks.
Today let’s dive into that last item: backlinks.
Traditional SEO dictates that backlinks are widely considered the #1 ranking factor. With Local SEO, there are other important aspects as well, but the importance of backlinks cannot be understated.
Backlinks are important. But which ones will actually move the needle?
There are so many different metrics and ways to evaluate the effect that a link will have, but I will suggest that all have inherent flaws compared to what I will introduce later on.
- DA (Domain Authority) – Moz created Domain Authority to attempt to mirror the factors that Google looks at to tell how, well, authoritative a website is. Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc would be near 100, and a brand new site would start at 0.
- PA (Page Authority) – Another metric from Moz, this one refers to the authority of a specific page within a domain.
- DR (Domain Rating) – this one is courtesy of ahrefs, which is often compared directly to DA, but more specifically refers to “link popularity” of a domain.
- UR (URL Rating) – same as above, but using only a page, not the entire domain.
- CF (Citation Flow) – a number assigned to a URL predicting how influential it might be based on the sites linking to it. By Majestic.
- TF (Trust Flow) – number evaluating how trustworthy
How to Use Metrics Effectively
The only circumstance in which these metrics are extremely helpful is when evaluating sites in a broad manner.
For example, if you have a prospector, someone who comes up with hundreds of different sites that might be good link opportunities, have them put these metrics in the sheet for easy filtering.
Again, it won’t perfectly illustrate the sites that are worth reaching out to, but you can at least create a standard by which you’ll move forward. In order to scale at all, there has to be such standards. Perhaps you’ll only keep sites in your “list” that have a DA over 20, for example.
You can then reach out to them and attempt to get a link in various different ways. We won’t go into that today, but let me tell you, there are some pretty creative ways we’ve gotten links for clients.
The Metric that Matters Most
Have you ever looked at companies ranking in a geographic area and the metrics just don’t correlate very much?
The first ranked sites might have low Domain Authorities followed by some with high, then some in the middle. In other words, you might see some broad correlation, but it very rarely lines up perfectly for local queries.
This reason usually is relevance.
Google simply wants to give the best results, so it looks at things that these SEO companies don’t. They may have some way of judging a site/url’s authority, but it’s obviously based more on relevance than simple links or popularity.
Let’s dive into some actionable tips.
When looking at list of potential outreach targets, add another column titled “Rel.” for relevance. Make a simple 1-10 scale for those sites, 10 being a site that is in the same industry and locality as you. A 1 would be random.
You see, Google “sees” more than just do-follow links, and evaluates based on macro signals of relevance. It takes a holistic approach and sees how things correlate with each other in order to place them where they feel most appropriate for searchers.
Domains above a 5 on your quick evaluation of relevance need to be reached out to, no matter their DA/PA/CF/TF/DR/UR. It’s worth it simply for the relevant signals it sends, even if there is not a do-follow link placed.
This may be an unpopular opinion, but we have lots of data to prove our point. Do you?