The link between backlinks and Google authority

Backlinks and their relationship to authority is an intermediate Internet marketing concept. Here is what is generally accepted by industry leaders and validated based on personal experience .

Authority – simplified

The more authority your site has the better you will rank on Google.  Authority means that people, and perhaps more importantly for this context, Google trusts you and your information. The good news is that authorities trusted by people are also trusted by Google. A great example is the .edu and .gov domain extensions. These domains imply they are authoritative sources of information and it’s a proven fact that in the eyes of Google backlinks from these domains to your site will send authority to your site. Another great example is Wikipedia as the web pages here are largely authored by by tribes of people as opposed to a single source.

So it follows that authority is very heavily influenced by the source of your backlinks and if authoritative content link to your site then you receive their influence and as far as Google is concerned you become more authoritative and so the trust in your site by Google increases.

How Google determines what is and isn’t authoritative is a guarded, highly proprietary secret for sound business reasons and aligns with Google’s thinking of “Do no evil”. The last thing the web needs is someone exploiting the algorithm that Google employs in its efforts to try and bring some order to probably the most important technological asset of this period in history

How not to get Authority and Backlinks

In the same vein it’s valuable to state some “blackhat” sources and methods of acquiring backlinks that Google not only disapproves of but appears to be moving aggressively to “classify” as negative authorities. In no particular order of severity, the common examples are:

  • Paid backlinks – places where people buy and sell backlinks
  • Comment spam – entries that contain links on blog pages that are just not associated to the main theme.
  • Low quality and *duplicate content – “scraped” or otherwise
  • Rapid backlink growth – there are a myriad of ways that this is achievable, Google isn’t dumb. Any sudden, unnatural rise in the number of backlinks is going to register on Google’s monitoring systems, specifically if it’s a brand new domain.
  • Backlinks from unscrupulous sites – these are particularly heinous as you are guilty by association – need I say more.

*There is another factor where I may be on shaky ground, but major press portals seem to get a lot of authority and I have definitely seen significant numbers of the same article over and over again on different portals with no penalties, I am still monitoring this, only as a percentage of the results I am seeing go against the consistent behaviors I usually expect to see. More on this is in a future article….


Rick Noel is an experienced digital marketer enabling businesses and organizations to grow through the Internet, while maximizing marketing ROI (Return On Investment). Rick is the CEO and Co-Founder of eBiz ROI, Inc., a full-service digital marketing agency located in Ballston Lake, NY.

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