Link building is, with no doubt, one of the most effective SEO strategies. With natural backlinks coming from high-quality trusted domains you can improve your rankings in Google search results. If you still haven't introduced link building in your SEO activities, it's high time to change it. I hope that thanks to these statistics, trends and strategies you will change your mind and realize that strong backlinks are a total must have for every website. Let’s dive right in!
I trust numbers and statistics, they have real power! As for me data-driven online marketing is always effective and successful and, what's more, brings great results, that's why here I gathered the most significant link building stats:
1. Many web pages have zero referring domains
Many SEO experts confirm that backlinks are one of the 3 most important Google ranking factors. So basically, any web page that wants to appear on the first page of the search results should have high-quality backlinks coming from at least several referring domains. But it turns out that more than half of web pages have no referring domains at all!
Ahrefs conducted a study in which they analyzed over one billion (!) web pages. It turned out that as many as 66.31%of them do not have referring domains and 26.29% have only from 1 to 3. This is really not enough to achieve great success in Google! Here the rule is quite simple - the more backlinks the better (as long as they are not spamming and their increase is natural!), so you should provide at least several referring domains for the most important pages on your site.
[caption id="attachment_35256" align="aligncenter" width="602"] source: ahrefs.com[/caption]
2. There is a correlation between the number of backlinks and organic traffic
Another influential lesson learned from the above-mentioned study conducted by Ahrefs' experts is that: with more backlinks, there is a better chance to increase visibility in the search results and, consequently, organic traffic. Look at the chart below:
[caption id="attachment_35258" align="aligncenter" width="591"] source: ahrefs.com[/caption]
This study proves that if your web pages do not have any backlinks, there is practically no chance for organic traffic. This is because these pages are not trusted by the search engine and appear on distant positions in the ranking.
3. Long-format content generates more backlinks
More and more companies notice the importance of content marketing for SEO and branding and that is why they decide on creating different types of content. One of the most frequently chosen content marketing distribution channels is a company blog where brands can publish articles on various industry-related topics. However, as it turns out, not only the topic but also the length of content plays an important role in generating backlinks. Backlinko noticed that there is a correlation between the length of content and user engagement.
[caption id="attachment_35260" align="aligncenter" width="602"] Source: backlinko.com[/caption]
This study comes to one very important conclusion: you should create long-term format content because it gives a better chance to boost user engagement and generate natural backlinks.
What's more, according to Backlinko, 'why' and 'what' articles receive 25.8% more backlinks than 'how-to' articles. So maybe it's worth considering these types of articles as well, as they have more potential to attract users?
4. Users link to top-ranking pages
Users really trust Google and usually choose web pages that hold the first position in Google ranking. As a result, they have a better chance to gain new backlinks. And here the vicious circle of SEO starts: users select the #1 result, link to it from their own websites, the page gets new backlinks, and therefore remains at the top of the search results.
Ahrefs gives two main reasons for this:
The #1 results get more exposure, as most users usually click on the first result in Google;
Top-ranking pages have more credibility - users believe that if Google has put a given page in the first position, it really is the best one.
5. Internal links are as important as external links
If you are planning a link building strategy, you should have in mind that not only do external links matter, but internal linking can boost your SEO as well. Do you know in practice what is the difference between internal links and external links? Basically, internal links are hyperlinks that point to other pages within your website. In turn, external links (also known as backlinks) point to other domains.
Data Box asked some SEO experts which link building activities are more important and which of them spend more time on: internal or external links? The chart below presents their responses:
[caption id="attachment_35262" align="aligncenter" width="602"] Source: databox.com[/caption]
As you can see, almost half of the SEO specialists who participated in the Data Box survey (42%) spend as much time on both internal and external links. 34% of them think that backlinks have more SEO value, while 24% focus on improving internal linking.
Would you like to find out how to get the best backlinks possible? At our blog, we present the 42 most effective methods of obtaining quality external links. Try at least some of them!
6. Getting backlinks may be expensive
One of the best and most effective building channel links are blogs and sponsored articles. Without any problem, you will find many platforms on which you can reach bloggers from different niches and start cooperation. However, it turns out that sometimes the price of obtaining a backlink from sponsored articles may be higher than expected. In 2018, specialists from Ahrefs contacted 450 bloggers from 9 niches to buy links on their sites. Only 54 of them were selling links, most of the bloggers didn't even respond.
The average price for a backlink was $361.44 (!). What’s more, some blogs didn’t have great SEO parameters. Check the chart below, in which Ahrefs presents the number of blogs selling backlinks by Domain Rating (DR):
[caption id="attachment_35264" align="aligncenter" width="602"] Source: ahrefs.com[/caption]
You should learn two lessons from this study:
Always check the most important SEO metrics (such as: web traffic, DR, UR, DA, PA) before you buy a link on blogs.
Is it really worth spending so much money on one backlink? There are so many great and, above all, cheaper backlink channels that you should consider as well!
7. Most marketers follow the Domain Rating
For many years PageRank has been the main algorithm for evaluating the quality of pages. Today, we have much more relevant metrics that help SEO experts determine the quality of pages and domains. This is an integral of planning link-building strategies - after all, not only does the number of backlinks but also their quality matter.
Aira team asked SEO specialists which metrics they follow to assess the quality of the domains and pages. It turns out that Domain Authority (65%) from Moz is the unquestionable winner, followed by Domain Rating from Ahrefs (48%) and Page Authority from Moz (36%).
It is worth noting that when it comes to the quality of links, there are 4 major tools: Moz, Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Majestic.
[caption id="attachment_35266" align="aligncenter" width="381"] source: aira.net[/caption]
8. Higher rankings is the primary KPI
When you introduce a link building campaign, it is a good idea to set the most important key performance indicators (KPIs) at the very beginning. Measuring them regularly will allow you to control whether your goals have been achieved and how much time it took you to reach them.
Aira asked SEO specialists what KPIs they used to determine the effectiveness of their link building process. It will not come as a surprise that ranking in organic search results was the most important KPI (38%). The SEO experts also highlighted the importance of measuring the volume of linking domains (18%) and web traffic (14%).
[caption id="attachment_35268" align="aligncenter" width="380"] Source: aira.net[/caption]
9. SEO experts don't consider link building to be the most effective SEO tactic
Link building is one of 3 main Google ranking factors, and yet many marketers underestimate the importance of the link building process. The conductor asked SEO experts what was the primary SEO tactic in their companies. In their opinion, the most important element of the SEO process, to which they devote the most time and effort, is quality content creation (54%), followed by frequent website updating (50%) and keyword research (46%).
It is hard to argue with their choice as all elements of on-page SEO, as well as technical SEO or content marketing campaign is a quick road to success. However, it is also worth paying attention to off-page SEO and spend some time creating high quality, strong links. It's a great gap you can fill - since only 13% of SEO experts consider link building the most effective SEO strategy, it increases your chances of achieving great results will a well-planned link building campaign.
[caption id="attachment_35270" align="aligncenter" width="602"] source: conductor.com[/caption]
10. Most companies build links in-house
Wondering if it is better to build links in-house or use external agencies or freelancers? It turns out that companies more often choose the first option (63%) and create link building teams in-house. This certainly gives them better control over the link building process and the quality of the backlinks created. This is also quite often a much cheaper solution than cooperating with external agencies or freelancers.
What's more, companies were also asked how much of their budget they are willing to spend on the link building process. Well, it turned out that for most of them obtaining high-quality backlinks doesn't seem to be a priority, and they prefer to use their budget for other activities: 38% of respondents spend less than 10% of their budget on link building, and as much as 23% don't invest in the off-page SEO at all!
[caption id="attachment_35272" align="aligncenter" width="380"] source: aira.net[/caption]
As you can see, link building is an incredibly influential SEO strategy that makes your website more visible and gains Google's trust. I hope that thanks to the link building facts and statistics, which I presented in this article, you will come up with some effective strategies.
And if you are looking for a masterful SEO agency that specializes in link building, feel free to contact us. We can proudly say that our SEO specialists have years of experience in planning long-term fully transparent link building campaigns for both startups and international companies operating in different industries.
Do you want to plan a great data-driven online marketing strategy based on powerful statistics and charts? Check my other articles as well:
Managing Partner, has been building Delante since 2014. Responsible for international SEO strategies. He has a strong analytical approach to online marketing backed by more than 12 years of experience. Previously associated with the IT industry, as well as the automotive, tobacco, and financial markets. Has experience in creating scaled processes based on agile methodologies.
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