Welcome to Part 2 of my series on relevance versus authority in link building. In this series, I’m sharing expert opinions from around the SEO industry. The question I asked these experts was:
“All other metrics being equal, would you rather have a high-authority link with lower relevance or a highly relevant link with low authority?”
In Part 1, I shared answers from those who opted for a highly relevant link over a high-authority link. They made some excellent points about the merits of relevance.
However, there were also a fair number of respondents who made a case for authority, which I will share here. This is why I wanted to explore this topic with industry experts — there are valid points to be made on both sides.
Expert opinions: Authority
Without further ado, let’s go through the answers that favored authority.
Authority links impact search more
Some of the experts who chose the high-authority link cited the impact these links can have on search.
“As far as I’ve seen, I’d rather have the high-authority, low-relevance link over the high-relevance, low-authority link, assuming the latter doesn’t have clear additional value that may outweigh the pure link authority (such as an ability to send direct conversions) that may [contribute to] mak[ing] it preferred. Google may change their tune in the future, but as far as I’ve seen, high authority seems to have more punch.” — Ross Hudgens, Siege Media
“Oof, tough question. Definitely a peanut butter-and-chocolate situation, but if I had to choose, most of the time I’d go with the authoritative link. If I’m in a competitive space, it’s going to be tough to rank without authority (regardless of how relevant my other links are). I can make up for some of the relevance issues by optimizing keywords, internal links, etc.” — Paul May, BuzzStream
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.
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