The Importance of Links to your Website's Google Ranking and SEO 

In this article we talk about the reasons page linking is important to increasing Google search result ranking, some trends in how page linking is influencing search results, and tips on how to effectively use linking to propel your page into top ranking gear. Linking is just one of the many approaches we use to help our clients grow their businesses.  See here to contact us or to get a free review of your site. Profitworks Small Business Services provides website search engine optimization and website conversion optimization services to win more customers for our customers. Listen to the podcast for this article here.

google ranking importance of links


Executive Summary

Despite the evolving algorithm used by Google to determine page rankings, developing content and effectively receiving and linking content are still important keys to maintaining and improving page ranking.

  • The number of links from credible and authoritative sources to your website is a key driver in website ranking
  • News site and recent links into your website continue to trend as factors for boosting Google search rankings
  • There are a number of ways to increase search ranking and traffic through linking, but this must be part of an overall SEO strategy to be effective and drive conversion

Sales & Marketing ROI Podcast: Episode #39

The importance of links to your website's Google ranking and SEO podcast.  Click here to listen.

Podcast Player - Listen Now

Subscribe to our podcast now - click here

View a full listing of our podcasts click here

In a Nutshell: How Do Search Engines Rank Pages

Search metrics offers the following explanation on how a search engine functions. "Search engines work by using algorithms to evaluate websites by topic and relevance. This evaluation is used to structure pages in the search engine index, which ultimately results in user queries displaying the best possible ranking of the results... The criteria for the evaluation of web pages and to produce this ranking are generally referred to as ranking factors."

Here is also a short video from the folks at Mountain View on how Google builds its search results pages:

Reasons Page Links are Important to Launching Your Page into the Search Result Stratosphere

Hyperlinking hails back to the very beginning of the World Wide Web, surviving even 56K dial-up modems that would roar up before patching users through into the internet community. One may wonder why this old mechanism of the webpage markup would be a significant factor in how Google ranks pages. Though there are a number of factors like page quality, keyword relevancy, and also the use of multimedia content, which help determine a page rank, linking continues to be a factor where SEO specialists find ground to play in and compete with one another.

Links are the building blocks of Google search results

One of the first steps to creating a page ranking or search result is done through web crawlers (software) which scour a large set of content on the web. The links between the pages help Google source the pool of relevant results that are returned. Immediately we can see how links are the initial building blocks of simply being in a search result pool, let alone ranking on the top page. Without links connecting web content, even pages that are accessible on the internet may find it difficult to be listed via Google search results. 

Links to pages serve as a source of confidence which can lead to higher result rankings

There is a strong correlation to increased page ranking performance when sites point to a particular page. Moz describes links to a page as a vote of confidence, in that if a page was not relevant or worthy, it wouldn't have gotten a link to it. Page rankings give weight to how many pages on the web are linked to the content being ranked, the more links included, the greater its credibility and its ranking (amongst other factors). It should be noted that difference in page rankings are given for when a website links to itself, versus an external site linking to it. In these two scenarios, Moz notes that external linking carries greater weight than internal linking. That is, references given by someone other than yourself carry more weight than self-references or linking.

google ranking importance of links

Image Source:


"Profitworks is always measuring, communicating and improving. We couldn't have found a better company to partner with.

- Chris  (Business Owner & Customer) on Profitworks

Click here to see more reviews

External linking helps augment your content and page ranking

External linking is when a page on your website links to content outside your site. Even though one of the primary factors in Google's search ranking is having good content, being able to provide comprehensive material is also another significant factor. Linking to external sources of quality can help you boost your page's reputation.  As noted by Hochman Consultants, linking to reputable content outside of your domain can increase page ranking. Further, Hochman notes that a lack of external linking could lower the page ranking of a site. It is important to effectively make use of the right kind and amount of external linking to help improve your page rankings. 

Internal linking helps build trust and credibility for your site

Internal linking is accomplished by a page on your website linking to content elsewhere on your website. One of the things to note is that a page ranking is also driven by the overall quality and credibility of the domain. Kissmetrics offers the following hypothesis: "internal linking strengthens the overall search-optimized value of a website. Inner linking does so by providing clear paths for spiders, prolonged sessions for users, and a tight-knit network of pages and posts". It would be plausible then to see how a site rating increases as the breadth of quality content is showcased by the degree of internal linking.

Linking accounts for the top factors in search result ranking

Based on a survey conducted my Mozdomain-level link features, and page-level link features took the first and second spots in influencing Google's page ranking results. We mentioned above that hyperlinking was an early mechanism for connecting resources on the web, but it still retains commanding influence on how search results are ranked. This indicates that not only trusted and authoritative sources within an industry carry weight for your page and website ranking, but the scope of linking from an authority to yours also carries weight. That is, more links across your site referred to by a notable entity in your field will continue to help you boost website ranking.

Links convey to search engines which pages are important on your site

Google uses links to ascertain which pages on your website are notable and referenced by external domains and also which are pointed to from within your own website. Google can use the number of links in the page for determining how important these pages are to web searches amongst an ocean of content. Google also notes that linking is one of the two top factors in determining search ranking. "During a live Q&A from WebPromo with Andrey Lipattsev, the Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google Ireland, SEO expert Ammon Johns suggested to Lipattsev that, knowing what we know about RankBrain, it would surely be beneficial to everyone if we also knew what the other two signals were.

And surprisingly, Andrey Lipattsev, obliges…

'It’s content and links pointing to your site.'"

Source: Google Top Factors in Search Rankings

As Google's Page Ranking Algorithm Evolves, so do Page Ranking Factors

Algorithm updatesGoogle continues to fine-tune its page ranking algorithm and this also signals changes in the significance of factors determining rankings. From time to time Google provides updates on how it sifts through billions of web pages and hones in on search results that will be most relevant to users. A Search Strategist at Google shares that content and links to a website are crucial factors to being ranked. Here we look at the various factors in linking that continue to trend towards improving a website's Google ranking. A correlation survey done by Searchmetrics identified the following trends for linking in 2015. The survey noted that links from news sites and new links to your page saw increased prominence in improving website ranking on Google. See here for more information on how Google's page ranking can impact your website ranking and traffic.

Tips in utilizing links as a way to boost website ranking

There are many approaches to increasing a website's Google search result ranking. A quick search is a testament to the flood of suggestions, but, similar to the findings in this article, relevancy and timeliness are key factors to deploying the right tactics. Here is an insightful and recent video on how to make use of content and linking to help drive results for your web page.

Links are a significant factor in driving website traffic and page ranking, but without an overall integrated SEO strategy, utilizing the same tool for every problem will always have its limitations. Profitworks helps you use the right tools for the right applications, ensuring predictable revenue and sustained web traffic for your business. 

Profitworks Small Business Services provides email marketing, website traffic, and website conversion optimization services which increase the number of sales generated from a website. The focus of our services is on increasing sales and providing a positive return on investment. To learn more about Profitworks, click here 

Other Articles You Might Be Interested In

  1. The Difference Between Organic vs. Paid Search
  2. Slide Share - How Google Works: A Ranking Engineer's Perspective 
  3. Moz - Beginners Guide to Link Building
  4. Now we know: Here are Google's top 3 search ranking factors