By Rob Twells
Backlinks are a great way of contributing towards your SEO efforts and helping to improve your search engine rankings. However, not every link is deemed equal by Google; there is a whole host of factors that weigh in on the value of a link. For the full, feel free to visit an earlier post of ours here.
As a team firmly full of football fans (mainly Derby County, unfortunately), we felt that it would be fun to research the link profile of all the teams in Derby’s league, the EFL Championship. This was mainly to see if there was any sort of positive light we could shine on Derby County, as we sit miserably at the bottom of the table (November 2020). The full league table is shown below, with all data coming from SEMRush (trusted internet marketing tool).
We looked at the volume of backlinks, referring domains (1 site with 5 links to another would class as 1 referring domain) and authority score. The SEMrush authority score is a compound metric used for measuring a domain’s or web page’s overall quality and SEO performance. How SEMRush calculate that score can be found here.
The idea was the see if there was any correlation between the volume of links or domains and a better authority score. There was a debate in digital marketing over quality vs quantity when it comes to backlinks. It is now well known that the quality of a backlink is much more important than the quantity. Which is proved by looking closely at the league table of Championship Clubs above.
Ironically, Derby landed at the top of the table for the volume of backlinks and authority/domain score – which is determined by SEMRush’s algorithm. A whopping 8M+ backlinks. A further look at this showed that a high percentage of those links came from one domain: https://dcfcfans.uk/. A forum site which has thousands upon thousands of threads, which obviously include a link to the Derby County website. This is useful for Derby County, however, these links after a while won’t have much effect on Derby County’s website when it comes to SEO – as the search engines will recognise that this volume is coming from the same site, too regularly.
Hull City, who sit at 2nd in the table interestingly had the 5th lowest number of backlinks, yet the second highest domain authority score. Further inspection showed that around 35% of their 76,300 backlinks were from domains with an authority score of 50 or above. Thus highlighting that a lower volume of links of better quality is much more impactful on your domain authority.
Wigan fell to the bottom of the table with both the lowest volume of backlinks, the lowest volume of referring domains and lowest domain authority. This shows that to a certain extent volume of backlinks is certainly a helping factor when it comes to a good authority score.
It’s clear to see from the data that a good combination of quality and quantity of backlinks in the perfect mix for SEO success. But if you only have time to focus on one, go for the quality.
Ps, it’s nice to see Derby County at the top of a league table for a change!