What Is Link Relevance And Why Does It Matter?

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link relevance

Getting links from unrelated websites won’t help your search rankings much. Link relevance – getting backlinks from sites on similar topics – is crucial for SEO success. 

This guide breaks down link relevance simply. You’ll learn what it is, why it matters, and how to get more of those valuable relevant links pointing to your site.

If you want more traffic and higher search visibility, understanding link relevance is key. Read on to master this important concept.

What Is Link Relevance

Link relevance refers to how closely the type of content of a linking website is related to your own website’s content. It’s about the topical connection between the two sites that makes a backlink relevant. For example, if a car blog gets a link from another automotive site, that’s a highly relevant link. But a link from a cooking site to your car blog would be low quality.

Why Does Link Relevance Matter

Link relevance is crucial for several reasons related to seo and your overall digital marketing efforts:

Qualified Referral Traffic

Getting backlinks from websites covering topically relevant to yours lets you tap into their audiences. Their visitors, already interested in the subject, become qualified leads for your site.

Those clicking relevant backlinks are predisposed to find your material engaging. They were just consuming similar content, making them likely to spend time on your site.

Relevant links drive targeted, high-potential traffic to your business. Putting your content in front of these qualified referral visitors increases your chances of securing their long-term attention.

User engagement metrics reflect the fit between your content and the referred users’ interests.

Improved Conversions

Relevant links bring interested visitors to your site. They already like your topics. It’s easier to convert them into customers. They don’t need much convincing about your products or services. Your offerings are directly related to their interests.

With relevant traffic, you skip the awareness stage of content marketing. Visitors already know and care about your niche. You can promote products and get signups right away. Simple calls-to-action work well on this targeted audience. They understand why your stuff is useful for them. Relevant visitors convert at higher rates.

Relevant backlinks make sales and lead generation easier. You get great potential customers excited about your brand. Improving conversions is a big benefit of link relevance.

Strong Ranking Signal

Search engines like Google care about backlinks when ranking websites. Relevant backlinks from similar sites are very valuable. Google sees these as trusted recommendations. It’s like other quality sites in your niche are vouching for you.

If cooking sites, auto blogs, tech sites link to your car website, Google knows you have great car content. Your search rankings will improve.

Random, irrelevant links don’t help much. Google wants a pattern of relevant, niche backlinks. That’s the strongest ranking signal.

Keep building backlinks from relevant authority sites. Over time, when indexed in Google, this strong relevance signal will push your site up in search results.

Improved Authority and Trust

Getting lots of relevant links acts as an endorsement of your authority. It signals that your site is a reliable source on that topic.

Earning relevant backlinks creates more credibility. People see your brand as the expert if many related sites link to your website.

Visitors stick around longer and keep coming back. They know your content has backing from respected sources.

The more relevant sites linking to you, the more your reputation grows. You become the trusted leader in your niche.

Relevant backlinks directly boost authority over time. This builds a strong brand people recognize and trust.

Link Relevancy Versus Authoritative Link

Link relevancy means how closely related the topics of the linking site and your site are. It comes from a site in the same niche as yours.

Link authority is about how reputable and trusted the linking site is. This comes from a well-known, high-quality site.

Ideal links have high relevance and high authority which matters for SEO. A relevant link from an authoritative industry site sends the strongest signal.

Relevant links from lower authority sites can still be useful, especially if niche-specific. While not as powerful, they show your content is pertinent to that topic.

Irrelevant links, even from high authority sites, don’t provide much SEO benefit.

The best link profile has a mix of relevant links across authority levels in your topic area. This shows reputable sites value your content within its subject area.

Categories Of Link Relevance 

The connection between the linking site’s content and yours may vary significantly.

Some number of links you obtain will be closely related, from websites in your industry or niche. Others won’t match your site’s topics. And there’s a range in between.

To create a strong link profile, grasp the different relevance levels and their scalability. This helps shape a balanced link building strategies.

Below, we’ll outline 5 link relevance categories. They span from very relevant with few opportunities to highly scalable but less relevant. A mix across these is best for maximising link building efforts.

Category 1: Highly Relevant But Scarce Links

Links in this category epitomise relevance. They originate from industry-specific websites, including major competitors or publications. These links are the epitome of relevance and can be achieved through good PR and sometimes link swaps.

However, obtaining these links is challenging due to their limited availability. Securing links from competitors is tough, and getting featured on industry leader sites requires special connections or newsworthy content.

Examples of relevant links include: A link from Ford’s website in the automotive space, or a mention in The Wall Street Journal for a finance company. While valuable, these links cannot solely form your link strategy due to their scarcity. Yet, they are worth pursuing for their relevance and authority.

Category 2: Very Relevant and Achievable Links

These are the ideal links. They’re super relevant to your website’s topic. They’re also realistically achievable at scale.

These sites aren’t direct competitors. They closely cover the same niche as your site. Their content aligns well with yours and your target audience.

Find these relevant yet achievable link opportunities by looking for authoritative sites. Look for popular publications with a great reputation in your niche. They might not be industry leaders, but they’re respected voices.

Examples include trusted niche blogs and online magazines. Look for resource sites that are relevant and curate content for your topic. High-quality directories focused on your industry are also beneficial.

These sites are open to partnerships, contributions, and product reviews. They aim to provide value to their engaged audiences through associated content and brands. With the right outreach and quality content, you can consistently earn valuable links from them.

The advantage is that there are typically many more of these relevant yet achievable link opportunities. This bigger pool allows you to build links efficiently.

Category 3: Still Pertinent But Less Exactingly Relevant

The links in this category don’t hit the bull’s-eye for your core topic. However, they’re still relevant to your subject area and audience interests. There’s still relevance that makes these links worthwhile.

These could be sites covering complementary products, services, or solutions adjacent to what your website offers. They cater to the same broader niche or overlapping audience segments. The topics connect at a higher level.

For example, if you run a site about golf equipment, then links from sites about golf apparel, golf vacations, or golf instructional content would fall into this category. Not an identical match, but still pertinent to your core golfing audience.

While not hitting the highest level of relevance, these types of links are still valuable, especially when combined with relevant links. They help reinforce your site’s relevance more broadly within your niche.

The advantage of this category is there are many more potential link opportunities available compared to the first two levels. With a little creativity, you can find a good scalable number of these supplementary links.

Category 4: Low Relevance But Easily Scalable Links

These types of links are fourth-degree links, meaning they don’t relate much to your website’s focus or your audience’s interests. The linking site’s content often differs from what your site covers.

Yet, these low-relevance links have their advantages. They’re easy to get in large numbers through various tactics and paid opportunities. Their accessibility makes them highly scalable.

Examples include:

  • General web directories and listings
  • Paid listings, ads, or sponsored posts
  • Low-cost guest post opportunities on multi-topic blogs
  • Links from partners/vendors with unrelated core businesses
  • Comment links on popular but irrelevant online communities
  • Link insertions on general city/location websites

While obtaining many of these links is feasible, individually, they provide minimal SEO value. They lack relevance to your brand, audience, products, etc.

However, layering in these easier links can still convey beneficial signals to search engines about your site’s web presence.

Maintaining a balanced, diverse link profile is key. An excess of only low relevance links without other tiers of relevance can raise red flags. But when integrated wisely, they can complement your more relevant link sources.

Category 5: Completely Irrelevant and Risky Links

These are the types of links you want to avoid at all costs. They don’t help your site’s SEO. They’re from dodgy sources like link farms and spam sites, harming your reputation.

These links often lack editorial standards and come from irrelevant sites. They might be related to gambling or adult content. Avoid them.

Examples include links from hacked sites and comment spam. They can lead to search engine penalties.

Focus on quality links from reputable sites. Avoid anything irrelevant or suspicious. Prioritise relevance and legitimacy.

How to Check for Link Relevance

To begin, let me walk through how to evaluate link relevance using popular SEO tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs.

Checking Link Relevance with SEMrush

Now, let’s look at Ahrefs.

Checking Link Relevance with Ahrefs

  • Start by entering the website URL into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer. This overview provides key stats like the domain authority, domain rating, backlink profile, top organic pages and more – giving you an initial sense of the site’s topic slant.
  • Dig into the Backlink Profile section and analyse the Referring Domains. The types of sites linking to this potential link source can reveal whether it aligns with your industry or not. A cluster of relevant referring domains is a good relevance signal.
  • Check out the Top Pages by organic traffic in the Organic Search report. The high-performing page content should make the site’s core focus areas evident. See if they match your topic closely.
  • Use Content Gap tool to compare the keywords. This is under “Site Explorer > Organic search > Content Gap” then enter your domain and the other website’s domain. It could be a relevant link  if the website ranks for the similar keywords as your site.
  • The Anchors report under Backlink Profile shows the anchor text distribution for the site’s backlinks. This can further illuminate the subjects and themes the site covers.

Between these Ahrefs and SEMrush reports, you can thoroughly evaluate a site’s link relevance from multiple angles before pursuing an opportunity.

How to Get Relevant Links

Getting backlinks that are of high quality and relevance is very important for search engine optimization success. Here are three tips on how to make your link building more relevant:

  • Look for Relevance in Link Opportunities 

Targeted blogger outreach is one of the best methods to acquire authoritative contextual links within your industry. However, since responses are usually limited, ensure that you only contact appropriate people.

To manually prospect, search for phrases such as “[your niche] + guest post” “[your industry] + contributors wanted” “[your topic area] + write for us”.

This surface site may accept submissions and be related to what you’re discussing. But still, qualify each prospect against the following criteria:

  • Relevance – Does their content directly relate to your niche/audience?
  • Authority – What are their domain/page authority metrics?
  • Backlink Profile – Do they have any toxic/spammy links to avoid?

Use some tools for analysing links so as to quickly know if a website is of good quality or not. You shouldn’t target competitors directly. Go after sites which complement or are adjacent to thematically similar areas instead.

For example, if you have a personal finance blog, consider reaching out money-saving advice websites, debt counselling resources pages as well investment information portals among others.

  • Create Linkable Asset Content 

Backlinks are the most valuable when other sites reference your great content or products. This may sound difficult, but earned links can actually be influenced through smart planning of content.

Some keyword research should be done to find what common queries and pain points in your niche need to be addressed with in-depth resources. What you want is to become the top source for information that’s closely tied to what matters most to them.

For example, if you’re a plumbing company, this might mean creating guides like:

  • “Most Affordable Ways to Clear Clogged Drains”
  • “Top 10 Most Water-Efficient Showerhead Models”

Creating instructional videos or detailed visualisations as engaging visuals can also attract links from others referencing and citing your content. This is especially good for casino link building efforts

Create content relevant to your niche with value. These linkable assets should continue being promoted on social media sites and platforms, through email marketing campaigns or even by reaching out directly to publishers who would find them relevant as well as influential individuals within your industry.

  • Enhance the Relevance of Anchor Texts

When building backlinks, mind the anchor text or the words that are clickable linking to your site. Such should be a brief representation of what the page being linked is about for contextual connection.

For example, if you have a link to “How to Grill the Perfect Steak” some relevant anchor texts may include:

  • “grilling steak tips”
  • “perfect steak grilling guide”
  • “steak grilling techniques”

Generic anchors such as “click here” or “this website” do not give any clear signal of relevance.

Let your anchors differ naturally across various target keywords and phrases related in terms of semantics.

Nonetheless, you should avoid over-optimizing an anchor by exact matching it with a keyword for each and every link as that may appear unnatural and spammy.

Final Words

A strong, relevant backlink profile is essential for SEO success. It may require constant dedication but increased search visibility and qualified traffic make it worth the time spent.

Focus on getting backlinks from authoritative sites within your niche. With time, great content materials will draw in valuable backlinks. Ensure each new link you create has an anchor text that is highly relevant to it.

Do not be discouraged by early slow results. Consistently apply relevance-based link building strategies and tactics. This will make you have an upper hand over other sites in search engine ranking as your reputation and linkage compounds.

Keep up with the right direction of getting the relevant links at all cost. Your website’s organic growth will only accelerate as you grow a solid portfolio of top quality backlinks. One thing that can guarantee successful SEO campaigns is consistent effort through relevancy of inbound links.