Why Traffic Matters for Links in 2022

Over recent years, you’ve probably noticed that the value of a backlink has significantly changed. Today, Google is outright devaluing and ignoring many of the links out there.

So, if you’re wondering how you can ensure the links you build to your website are seen as valuable in the eyes of Google, this post is for you.

It all comes down to getting links from websites with traffic. You’ll get deep insight into how many websites on the internet Google actually considers and the data from various tests run by our team and others in the SEO community.

And finally, you’ll find out step by step how you can find the best link opportunities from websites that get real traffic.

With that said, let’s dig in.

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First, let’s take a moment to get on the same page. There’s a little confusion around what “links with traffic” means to different people.

What Are Links with Traffic-

Generally, there are two schools of thought:

  1. 1
    Links With Traffic: Links on websites that receive real traffic from various traffic sources.
  2. 2
    Links That Generate Traffic: Links with a likelihood of passing referral traffic to your website.

For this article, we’ll be sticking to the first definition that “links with traffic” refers to receiving a link from a website that gets actual traffic and viewers.

Whether it passes referral traffic to your website or not is a different story and won’t factor into our analysis below.

Understanding The Value of A Link

The conversation of the effects of website traffic on rankings needs to be prefaced with an understanding of what a backlink is worth in today’s SEO landscape.

Gone are the days when any link you build will pass juice to your website. These days, Google ignores and devalues most links.

Google Ignoring Links

It’s why we no longer need to use the disavow tool as much or why negative SEO attempts hardly make a dent.

So, if most links aren’t worth what they once were, how can you ensure the links you buy or build are in the small percentage that matter?

That’s where traffic comes into the equation.

Our tests have indicated that links from websites that receive traffic as a whole have more value than links on sites with no traffic, low-quality sites, or sites Google views as spam.

Besides, who wouldn’t want links from sites with thousands, if not millions, of visitors a month?

Another thing we observed is that the specific page a link is built on doesn’t need to have traffic for this strategy to be effective. Instead, it’s about building valuable links on sites that are already in Google’s good books.

That’s what reduces the likelihood of links pointing to your site being ignored or devalued.

We’ll get into how to know if a site is in Google’s good books later on.

Before that, we need to address a common misconception…

Do Links With Traffic Directly Impact Rankings?

In 2019 Ahrefs ran a correlational research study on links with traffic, and it aimed to shine a spotlight on whether such links had an impact on rankings or not.

The study found that if you have links from sites receiving organic traffic, you will not necessarily rank higher in Google.

It also found that 88% of SERPs in their study had a maximum of four out of ten results that received at least one backlink from a website that has traffic.

Despite there being no clear evidence that external links on websites with traffic is a direct factor influencing rankings, these links are increasingly becoming more valuable and offer indirect SEO benefits instead…

How Many Websites Does Google Reward With Traffic?

Google is very picky about which websites it sends traffic to. Over 25 billion pages that Google discovers each day are marked as spam, thereby increasing the value of the few websites rewarded with traffic.

To answer how many websites are part of the lucky few that Google rewards we turned to another study by Ahrefs.

The researchers found that over 90% of the content in Ahrefs’ index does not receive traffic from Google.

The study analyzed over 1 billion pages in the Ahrefs index and show in the Content Explorer tool.

These pages all passed Ahrefs’ rigorous standards for websites allowed into their index.

Even though 1 billion pages sounds like a lot, it’s a minuscule portion of the World Wide Web, with over 130 trillion pages recorded in 2016.

Number-of-web-pages-Google-discovers-every-year


So it’s safe to assume the pages in Ahrefs’ study are among the cream of the internet’s crop, yet only 9.37% of these are rewarded with traffic from Google.

Since Google plays such a critical role in deciding which websites receive traffic, it stands to reason that links from the few websites Google allows to rise to the top would be looked favorably upon.

Is It Worth Only Building Links From Pages With Traffic?

We’ve debunked the idea that links on websites with traffic directly impact rankings. But, chasing links on the sites Google is rewarding is a very smart thing to do.

Think about it…

If you were Google’s algorithm, which website would you reward:

  • A website where most of its links came from other websites in the top 9.37% receiving organic traffic?
  • Or, a website that received most of its links from the rest of the web?

Hopefully, you chose the first option.

We’ve run dozen of tests and observed the effect of links with traffic on our own sites for many years. In fact, the solid SEO gains we saw contributed to why ABC links only accept websites with real traffic these days.

you-got-any-more-of-that-organic-traffic

It was a bold move but one in the right direction for helping our clients build quality trust signals and, to some degree, future proof their results.

Naturally, it’s also a nice bonus if the page you’re receiving the link from receives traffic, but it's not necessary. This would apply best to niche edits. But you might be wondering about guest posts too.

Is Guest Posting on Sites With Traffic A Valid Link Building Strategy Today?

When Matt Cutts said that guest posting had died, many in the SEO community were sent into a tailspin. So, we tested out whether guest posting is still a viable link strategy.

Spoiler alert: guest posting works. It never stopped working.

Our study found that guest posting is still an effective method for improving rankings despite Matt Cutts’ claims.

The secret to ensuring your links are recognised by Google is to guest post on sites that Google is already rewarding with organic traffic.

The idea is that if Google likes those websites enough to send them traffic, it’ll like you enough to count the link placement instead of ignoring the link like it does the rest of the internet!

As part of this test, all of the links we built were from our ABC platform, which requires a minimum threshold of 1,000 visitors a month. Given 95% of the pages we tested saw gains from these links, that’s a pretty solid argument for including guest posts on sites with traffic in your link-building strategy.

How to Find Websites With Traffic For Link Building

The best place to start is to look at how many dofollow links your content will need based on how many competitors have. Check out our process for creating a Link Requirement Estimate Plan.

It doesn’t matter how many of these links have traffic. You’ll get a rough guide to knowing how many links you need in the first place.

Let's say the amount of dofollow links the top 5 results for your target keyword have are:

#1: 15 links

#2: 10 links

#3: 17 links

#4: 25 links

#5: 32 links.

You will need a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 32 links, so you do not stick out as a black sheep and hurt your chances of ranking on the first page of results.

In your link-building process, you can still one-up your competitors by improving the quality of links, not the volume.

And you guessed it, my friend, if the links you build come from websites that get traffic, that’s a huge leg up to what most competitors would have. That is why the Authority Builders platform only offers links from websites with a minimum of 1,000 visitors a month.

Once you know how many links you need, you can get to work prospecting relevant websites. Check out this article for the link prospecting strategies that worked the best for our team.

Next, follow up your prospecting process by checking out all the relevant domains in bulk with Ahrefs’ “Batch Analysis” tool.

  1. 1
    Add up to 200 URLs you want to get traffic metrics for.
  2. 2
    Set “Target mode” to *.domain/*
Target mode
  1. 3
    Look in the “Organic Search” columns for keyword and traffic estimations.
Organic Search
  1. 4
    You can also export the list in .csv format and easily filter out websites with a traffic value less than 1,000.

And voila!

You now have a list of websites that receive organic traffic. They are part of the few that Google is already rewarding and worth getting valuable links from.

But also keep in mind, you don’t have to do all of this on your own…

Want to Easily Build Links From Websites With Traffic?

At Authority Builders, all the links we build for clients come from websites with verified traffic. We have thorough vetting processes to ensure all our clients receive links from the cream of the internet’s crop.

So if you want links with traffic for your site, our plans and vetted link database will make life so much easier for you!

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2 thoughts on “Why Traffic Matters for Links in 2022”

  1. Just when I truly needed to read this. Thank you Matt for all that you do in this space. I guess once we have that traffic check complete, the next step would be to check the website relevance, page relevance, then anchor text. Hope I am on the right track.

    Reply
  2. Hey Matt, I always enjoy reading your content, not only because its high in quality, but its also because you use such a simple, easy-to-understand language that I never get sleepy reading it 🙂

    Reply

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