It’s no secret that the entire SEO community is in love with links. But why does everybody care so much? Well, links do a surprising amount of SEO legwork that often goes unrecognised, and a lot of the time it’s because of PageRank and Domain Authority.

Here’s a recap of what they both are:

  • PageRank – Google’s algorithm that counts the number and quality of links to a page to determine a rough estimate of how important the website is. The underlying assumption is that more important websites are likely to receive more links from other websites
  • Domain Authority – A search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages (SERPs). A Domain Authority score ranges from one to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a greater ability to rank.

It’s within every SEO professional’s best interests to prioritise PageRank and Domain Authority, as they make the following processes much easier.

  • Ranking ability

Links help your website rank higher in the SERPs. That’s just a fact of life. But they can also help you identify and attack more keywords, especially competitive ones.

It’s relatively easy to work out whether you can rank for a competitive keyword too. Google it, check the Page Authority, which is a very similar metric, of all the top ranking pages and see what your Page Authority is for your top ranking keywords.

  • Crawl budget

Another significant benefit of having link equity is crawl budget i.e. Google will crawl more of your website pages.

Look at it this way. If you only have a few links and a million pages on your website, it’s extremely difficult for Google to crawl and index every single page. But a site like Amazon or eBay with a high Domain Authority will attract Google to crawl its pages without a problem.

  • Indexation speed

Even if you manage to get Google to crawl your website with low Domain Authority, it’s going to take a while for its bots to visit again. But with a high Domain Authority, Google will crawl and index your content much faster than it would without.

Essentially, the more incoming link power a page has, the more authority it has, the quicker Google will index it. This also makes it easier to immediately update title tags or meta descriptions via the Submit URL tool.

  • More powerful links

With increased equity comes more powerful links. In turn, this gives you incredible ranking ability because your own internal links become more influential, making it easier to rise up the SERPs.

In fact, the best link building you can do when you have a high authority is simply linking to yourself. But beware, the links you provide to others also become more valuable. This could make you a target for unwanted outreach.

  • Protection from bad links

If you have low link equity and you get lots of spam links pointing to your site, there’s a risk of being impacted by negative SEO or even penalisation from Google. With better link equity, you’re effectively protected from spam.

It’s all about ratios. Any site can suffer the consequences of bad links, but if they only make up a tiny portion of your profile, then you’re somewhat insulated by the impact of spam.

  • Less over-optimisation

Despite the fact that Google says it doesn’t have an over-optimisation penalty, several smaller sites fall foul of this. For example, if you’re building a site from scratch, it’s easy to over-optimise for keywords with exact match anchor text and not rank for anything at all.

The key is variety, which becomes simpler to achieve with lots of links. There will also be much less risk of over-optimisation in linking internally with exact match anchor text. With higher Domain Authority, you can get away with a lot more.

  • The flywheel effect

As co-founder of Moz Rand Fishkin explains:

“A marketing flywheel is something that you build that generates inertia and energy, such that each effort and piece of energy that you put into it helps it spin faster and faster, and it carries through. It takes less energy to turn it around again and again in the future after you’ve got it up and spinning.”

The same can be said for links. When you start ranking and audiences see you in the SERPs, you’ll end up getting more links from that content. More links are going to mean more consistent rankings, and the wheel will keep on turning.

More people will then want to link to you, amplify you and work with you. Unfortunately, you’ll also get more spam and link requests. But generally speaking, your life will be better with more Domain Authority and PageRank.