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Austin Paley

How To Solve the Mysteries of Link Relevancy

Austin Paley
How To Solve the Mysteries of Link Relevancy

One of the most important parts of building strong links to a website is identifying authoritative and attainable link targets.

For more seasoned SEO professionals, it's already obvious you want links from a website that has high domain authority, great usability and its own robust inbound links that are not in jeopardy of attracting a manual penalty from Google. However, what is often forgotten is that websites that link to your own need to be relevant.

So, what constitutes a relevant website? A lot of SEO specialists try and make educated guesses about relevancy that are only right some of the time.

A great way to deal with this issue is to understand the keyword rankings of websites whose topic focus might not be initially clear. While a tool like SEMrush is powerful for understanding what keywords your website ranks for and where your competitors rank, it can also be used to solve the issue of unclear topic relevancy from potentially helpful websites.

Solving the Mystery of Topic Relevancy

Getting started with this process is relatively straightforward. Start by taking a website that looks like it could provide a relevant link and plug it into SEMrush. When using the full version to look at keyword positions under the Organic Research tab, you’ll be able to see every keyword position the website is ranking for. From this data, you will begin to see patterns in the types of keywords that appear, which will allow you to win links with the confidence the website is a relevant source.

Even if you don’t have the full version of SEMrush, the results you can get with the free version’s keyword positions should be enough to get a clear understanding of what Google considers the website’s topic focus. At the end of the day, this is what matters when it comes to understanding website keyword relevancy. While a site might appear to have a lot in common with your own when giving it a quick manual scan-through, how Google’s algorithms see the site is what will dictate how search engines gauge relevancy in your inbound links.

In the case of digital agency Blue Fountain Media, using these tactics would initially show you their site would be a viable target if you wanted a link that was relevant for website design, digital marketing, or digital agencies. These are all relevant topics you could probably identify just by going to their website and taking the time to read what they do. However, the real beauty of this tactic is that SEMrush goes a lot further and lets you see things you couldn’t necessarily get from a quick scan through of the site alone.


For example, if you were trying to get very specific with your links, you’d be able to see that they would be a viable option if you wanted to target a website that was specifically relevant for keywords about web design in the New York City area, or on how to use Google plus for SEO. These topics might not immediately look like something the Blue Fountain Media site would rank for, but by using SEMrush you can uncover hidden gems that can help you win relevant links from seemingly unrelated websites.

Target Keywords to Understand Relevant Link Opportunities

If you aren’t quite ready to target specific websites for links relating to keywords you’re trying to rank for, another great option is to use SEMrush to search for a keyword. You’ll be able to see who already ranks for a specific keyword, and then take a deeper look at their keyword profile to see if they rank for other terms that would make them a relevant link target.

Even if their business is a competitor of your own or they are unlikely to give you a link, you can use their keyword data to identify relevancy and then plug their site into a tool like Open Site Explorer to see how their backlink profile is constructed. This will help you see where they’ve gotten some of their links from — allowing you to then work on getting them as well.

Don’t Underestimate Relevancy

Occasionally, not understanding relevancy correctly can be to the detriment of your website, but more importantly, it means that you are not spending your time as an SEO professional as effectively you could be. Just because a website has a higher domain authority doesn’t necessarily mean it will be the most powerful link to help your site rank better for a specific keyword.

As search engines continue to try and find new ways to give users the best possible experience when they conduct a search, link relevancy will likely become more and more important. Identifying relevancy now will help you better spend your time when considering what links you would like to try and get, as well as help to guarantee they remain strong links in the long-term.

Austin Paley is the Corporate Marketing Communications Manager at Blue Fountain Media, a digital agency that focuses on results-driven solutions for companies ranging from start-ups to Fortune 1000.

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