The 4 Different Types of Authority Links (and 11 Ways to Get Them)

17 Jan

If you read, hear, or talk a lot about links and how to build them on a daily basis (like I do), you’ll get slapped around the ears with the term authority links quite often. The answer to the question how to obtain such authority links depends, because there are different types of authority links; Absolute Authority Links (or general authority links) and Relative Authority Links (or topical authority links). While some strategies may lead to building links from both categories at the same time, you might have to use different approaches if you’re aiming at both kinds.

Absolute Authority Links
Absolute authority links are, like the name implies, links that are coming from a domain that is a general authority. You can even divide all absolute authority links into two different groups; informational authority links and navigational authority links. The difference between these groups is that informational authority domains, such as BoingBoing, CNN News or the Harvard Research Programs, usually are more trusted domains, that -for the most part- provide information. Websites like DMOZ, the Yahoo! Directory, or the California State Agencies Directory would be considered as navigational authority websites. The benefit of an absolute authority link is that it passes trust and visitors (in some cases lots of both). General navigational authority links also can have the ability to pass topical relevance. However, most absolute authority links aren’t able to pass relevance.

Relative Authority Links
In most industries, there are at least a few relative authority websites. Some websites that only have a few hundred incoming links can be authorities in their niche. While these websites aren’t absolute authority sites, the fact that almost every site in your industry links to it, makes it a very interesting target.
Relative authority links can also be divided into two groups, although the difference between both types (the informational ones and the navigational ones) is usually smaller here, because relative authority websites tend to focus at topic in stead of at audience.

Image by Macwagen

And 11 ways to get them
I’ll start with the easy ones, which all focus on getting navigational authority links. First, try to get a few quick links by submitting your website to a couple of (but only the worthwhile) directories. After this, make sure to get a few navigational relative authority links, by submitting your website to a few directories that focus on your niche. Step three is to search for other relevant navigational pages by searching for something like “keyword + links”, “keyword + related websites” or “keyword + more about this subject”. You’ll probably come up with something even better. Mix in a few local directories, city guides or other topography oriented websites and you’ve laid your link foundation.
-> These tactics will result in navigational authority links from both categories.

5. Trade links.
If you do this on a very limited basis, with highly relevant authority websites in your niche only, this strategy still works like a charm. And will probably never stop doing so.
-> Will result in absolute informational authority links.

6. Offer to write a column/ guest post/ interview.
This not only is a way to build your brand, but also lets you add links to your website in your bio and the article you write.
-> Will result in relative informational authority links or (relevant) absolute informational authority links.

7. Buy links.
What?!? You’ve never heard me say that buying links is bad, and you probably never will. I don’t think in terms of site wide mesothelioma crap in blog footers, but buying proper links in the right section of highly relevant websites still boosts your traffic and rankings.
-> Will result in (if you do it right) absolute informational authority links.

8. Contact websites and ask what they’re looking for.
While this sounds like an awfully simple tactic to get targeted links, there are only a few companies that build links this way. But think of it this way: Don’t you think a website will link to you if you create a tool/ article/ whatever that they’ve been looking for?
-> Will result in absolute informational authority links.

9. Get an intern.
Students usually have access to at least a few pages on the .edu domain of their school. While not everybody agrees on the fact that .edu’s are able to pass extra value because of the tld alone, a link from an educational domain may hold some extra value because of the amount and quality of the incoming links of this domain. But remember not to over exaggerate.
-> Will result in relative informational authority links.

10. Outsource your research.
In some occasions, a high school or university will be more than happy to perform a research on your behalf. In exchange for some student guidance, the educational institute will recruit a few students to help you with the research. And publish the results on the university website. The benefit of this strategy over the previous one, is that you might get a link from the “official” part of the .edu website, in stead of from a ~student page. The same thing here: don’t over exaggerate.
-> Will result in (relevant) relative informational authority links.

11. The Chamber of Commerce.
Most Chamber of Commerce websites are authority websites that provide a link to every registered company. In some cases, it’s even possible to style the link of your company’s registration page; don’t forget to use this option.
-> Will result in (relevant) relative informational authority links.

In stead of listing 11 ways to get authority links, I could have listed 31 or even 54 techniques to get these type of links. However, while obtaining a few authority links sure will improve your rankings, you shouldn’t focus on getting these alone. Mixing up different strategies, approaches and different types of links always works best. And remember that there is no such thing as a worthless link

32 Responses to “The 4 Different Types of Authority Links (and 11 Ways to Get Them)”

  1. Hobo January 17, 2008 at 11:09 pm #

    Great article Wiep, sure to be a Sphinn Shaker!

  2. lyndoman January 17, 2008 at 11:11 pm #

    I like the Intern idea, hadn’t thought of that. Another one when trying to get a link from a media site is find out what the journos are working and try to pre-empt their topics, supply them with your post, basically it’s notes for them and you have done their research for them. Hopefully they quote you and drop you a link.

    So number 12, target lazy journalists.

  3. Wiep January 18, 2008 at 9:12 am #

    Shaun; Thanks :)

    Lyndon; That’s a great addition!

  4. Paul | ConversionBlogger.com January 20, 2008 at 10:40 am #

    Great list, and clever way of getting people to come back to your site – list the ones first! I’m guessing that #1 will be something like, “Write great content and BE GREAT.” After all, almost everyone seems to link to Seth Godin, and I doubt he’s asked ANYONE to do that.

    Paul Hancox
    ConversionBlogger.com | Convert Visitors Into Customers

  5. ross January 21, 2008 at 6:18 pm #

    I like the suggestion about writing a guest column I hadn’t thought of that one! Thats for writing the post.

  6. Pixel Head January 21, 2008 at 11:35 pm #

    Yea you got to love those edu links. I was just telling my wife we should get an intern, but I had not thought about getting edu links…hmm an intern sounds like an even better idea now.

  7. HFdesign Webdesign January 23, 2008 at 10:24 am #

    Great list. I like your creative view on link-building. Even tough for most important keywords there is a really competitive market, by being creative there’re still opportunities to get high quality links.

  8. Jacob May 20, 2008 at 5:52 pm #

    this is good info.. I have really been researching how to get authority links… I’ll try this. Thanks.

  9. Pageformance.ch July 21, 2008 at 10:08 am #

    Since the paid links do not surly work any more, it is important to get
    other possibilities. That is also a Problem for the German speaking people.
    Anyway, this list can help. Thanks

  10. Jimmy Scott August 18, 2008 at 6:06 pm #

    Grt post dude.
    Another way to get backlink is in the forum submission.You can make your signature in the forum and can provide backlink to your website or to your forum from forum.Forum submission is the best way to get backlinks.
    Anyways you have also given some great ideas in your post.
    Thanks for such an informational post.
    With regards,
    Jimmy

  11. Authority Links September 30, 2008 at 12:57 am #

    Great information, and I wanted to add annother important thing most don’t know. Authority links, can also be links that DO NOT come from a site with a high PR. As long as the site has many links that are targeted and has a ton of PR Value. Value is simply having good quality links and/or many quality pages indexed with targeted links.

  12. Joe November 21, 2008 at 7:00 pm #

    I heard that forum trackbacks aren’t as good as link swapping when it comes to PR. I would assume it’s still a shot and worth all your time and effort though.
    I’d like some ideas on whats the best way to approach a site owner by email when you wish to link together?

  13. Michael December 30, 2008 at 11:32 pm #

    Awesome article. Thanks for the tips – it’s often difficult to get those .edu links but I am determined to keep trying!

  14. Frank February 6, 2009 at 9:47 am #

    Pretty good article, but I donb’t agree with people who buying links online.You should be carefull buceause you can be banned with google…

  15. Forza Mia March 31, 2009 at 6:39 am #

    Thanks for taking the time to compile this list.

  16. Chris April 16, 2009 at 8:56 pm #

    verry nice your 11 tipps .. I´ll try it but to buy links is not a good idea (my oppinion)

  17. web designing outsourcing company May 7, 2009 at 9:44 am #

    I was looking for the ways to build the authority links, and you have provided with a great info, thanks for it. But, if we try to post comments on blogs related to the our website and place a link there, will it be considered an authority link? How can we know that a site is authorized ?

  18. Joe May 20, 2009 at 7:59 am #

    Great information, and I wanted to add annother important thing most don’t know. Authority links, can also be links that DO NOT come from a site with a high PR. As long as the site has many links that are targeted and has a ton of PR Value.

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