Link building can be quite different than traditional SEO. In fact, I don’t like to classify Link Building under SEO for various reasons, with the most important one being that link building hasn’t really got anything to do with optimizing your site for search engines,
it’s rather a way to push your site for better organic search rankings.
Over the last few months, I’ve run an experiment. I built different types of links (main point of division – link juice vs. link trust / authority) to test sites or whatever sites I wanted. Then I observed the results. This is going to be a medium-sized post about my findings.
More Trusted Links vs. More Juicy Links
More trusted links are what I call links with the primary purpose of passing trust scores, and more juicy links the ones with the main goal of passing PageRank or direct ranking benefits.
The overall site authority, and the quality of LRDs (Linking Root Domains) are the important things in case of trusted sites. So, even if a link you got from a really high-authority site shares the page with 200 others, it doesn’t matter if you’re looking to build trust, but it does matter if you’re expecting significant ranking improvements as soon as you get the link.
On the contrary, more juicy links are the ones that pass more PageRank or ranking boost to your site’s page but aren’t necessarily from high authority sites, or sites that have obtained the high amount of link juice from a ton of credible sources (other sites).
For example, consider a PR5 page linking out to your site, with only 10 other links (internal + external) on it. That’d be EXTREMELY juicy in my opinion. Now, such a link gives you direct ranking benefits, and more so than you can imagine.
Sites for My Experiment
I chose a dozen or so unique domains for the experiment. I classified them under:
- Extremely High Authority Domains. Mainly Guest Posts by known people on super High Authority sites.
- Medium Authority Domains. Owned by Me, or a Random domain that looked okay to me.
- Fairly New Domains Without Much Authority. Recently bought by me.
I won’t go into the content or keyword details because they’re not that important here.
As the entire experiment spanned a few months, I had the time to build different kinds of links and test. These are mainly all the types of links I built to experiment sites (internal pages):
- High Authority but not-so-juicy links on TOP sites in any niche. Through guest posting / connections.
- Medium Authority, medium-juicy links on fairly popular sites in any niche. Through guest posting / connections.
- Low Authority links in large quantities, medium or not so juicy links, on not-so-popular sites in any niche. Through connections / asking.
- Extremely juicy links on low authority sites. Mainly blog networks (ouch, that’s grey hat stuff).
- Extremely juicy links on fairly popular medium authority sites. Mainly friends’ sites.
How good (for ranking in practical conditions) which type of links were, for:
- Extremely High Authority Domains.
4 > 3 > 5 > 2 > 1 (link types)
- Medium Authority Domains.
5 > 1 > 4 > 2 > 3 (link types)
- Fairly New Low Authority Domains.
1 > 5 > 2 > 3 > 4 (link types)
Don’t you see a pattern? ‘Cause I do!
Before you start shouting “high authority links are best” or ridiculing white hat SEO experts for their apparently miserable lives, don’t you think, it depends on which site you’re dealing with?
Clearly, the results show that different sites react differently to different types of links. Links pass more than just ranking firepower, they have now become a medium to pass more than just positive or negative ranking signals. They evidently pass trust signals as well. So, a juicy link may help your site rank for a specific search term, but it probably won’t do your site much good in terms of building up your site authority as a whole.
I’ve anticipated this for years, and I’m finally glad I got some hard results to back my claims. It can be simply stated that: the type of link your site needs the most is the type it lacks the most.
So, What Do I Need?
When you’re trying to rank a site, not I but the results are saying that,
- For low authority sites high authority links are the best, regardless of the juice passed. Mainly because they need to make Google feel that they are trustworthy, enough for Google to rank them on the first page for big keywords.
- For medium authority sites a combination of juicy and authority links are the best. Mainly because, they already have a mix of both and they can still do well with both, i.e. they aren’t saturated with either link type. So, even if they get only juicy links they’ll rank higher for specific pages because they’re already deemed quite trustworthy by Google.
- For high authority sites extremely juicy links are the best. Mainly because they already have got enough trusted links pointing at them.
My preferred link juice metric is MozRank and trust score metric is MajesticSEO’s TrustFlow (I’ve found that it’s harder to game than MozRank).
P.S. Due to important reasons, I’m not able to release the list of domains, keywords, linking domains or other confidential data related to the experiment.
Do you own multiple sites having varying levels of authority? Have you noticed similar results? Let me know by leaving a comment below.