Going against what we have been trained to do for years, using top ranked pages as links isn’t always the absolute best target for a sleek link building strategy. We know we have been chasing those links for a while, but there can be drawbacks – and also some hidden alternatives no one has bothered to make you aware of. Let’s discuss the pros and cons of targeting high-ranking websites for their links and why you can now consider a link intersect strategy that focuses on sites that rank for a wider range of topics and producing links from sites ranking beyond page 1 of the SERPs.
Our perpetual goal – obtain the best links you can find to rank a targeted keyword. So, yes…this has proven golden in the past and why change it? Repeat this with me: Because change is inevitable in SEO. We are driven to select links that rank in the organic results top five of a search. But are they necessarily the best links you could possibly find?
If we go with the strategy of YES – these are the best links to use, we would be thinking of the obvious reason of where they fall on the page and of course they will see the most traffic as a consequence of human nature to click those first. They receive high traffic for those interested in the topic. They get a ton of search volume and visits. If you link your webpage to them, it’s actually a really nice thing. Someone may click that top result and find your website and hey – the formula worked.
That isn’t always the case. Ranking is not particularly an overt signal from Google that the links are the best source to utilize. Google is not saying, “We Google understand when you obtain a link from these high ranking search results, you will have a very good chance to rank for this keyword.” It’s not directly or indirectly stated. You cannot show one instance of Google stating this in public. It would be a recursive system that looks at who is already ranked to linking to someone else and then – viola, replace them. As if. Google’s own user experience would suffer if this were explicitly true.
So, where should you be linking if not to the highest ranking of pages on a search? Let’s list some alternatives that can provide a better fit to your reason for linking in the first place.
1. Links to multiple high-ranking targets
Linking to the top one, three and five high-ranking sites for a search may not necessarily be relevant to your topic. What if it’s a competitor? What if it is not a direct match to what you are trying to link up with in the first place? Intersecting with pages that directly correlate to what you are trying to define provides more potential power to your ranking authority than just pages that are ranked high.
2. Linking to pages that are well-ranked for broader topics and keywords for your target
So, if your keyword is “gold sofas” you could search for keywords more directly related to “interior design” or “sofa styles” or perhaps even “decoration ideas.” If you can obtain the sites ranking for these searches then probably they will link out to other resources that have more specific targeting like “gold sofas” and probably provide tremendous value here.
3. Powerful publications in your topic space that are not doing well for SEO or keyword targeting
Finding influential publications that are within the subject matter to be linked usually means it’s hard to find them on Google. Ranking may show on page 2, page 3 or even page 4. You might use Instagram to find the hashtag being used by companies or publications that have a ton of followers for interior design for your gold couch or furniture.
From there, that can direct you to influential publications in that topic space with a ton of engagement on social channels or on their website but haven’t done particularly well in Google search results. Let us not forget – Google is omniscient – meaning they are identifying which publications are important as a topic and linking to those websites – which in turn is good for targeting your keywords.
Hopefully this broader strategy will assist you in expanding your link building opportunities and also help you recognize why the top ranking pages could possibly not always be the best link targets.