Use links to drive credibility and authority

Business benefits

Increase your search engine rankings over time by building domain authority.

Install an SEO research tool like the MozBar browser extension to automatically review basic domain authority and page authority information for sites you visit.

  • Domain authority: a score that predicts how likely a website is to rank in search engine result pages.
  • Page authority: a score that predicts how likely a page is to rank in search engine result pages.

Some SEO tools use domain rank and URL rank instead.

Check domain and page authority metrics for a few sample publisher websites.

Large news sites typically have high domain authority, up to 90, thanks in part to many inbound links going to them from other websites. You can use domain authority metrics to measure the PR SEO value from a piece of coverage your organization receives.

Smaller trade publication websites have a lower domain authority, typically between 40 and 60, because of their more specific niche appeal, however, the relevance of the content and audience for these pages can make them just as important for links to your website as the more authoritative, broader sources might be.

Write a brief policy for when you’ll use follow and nofollow links back to your website. Paid links, like advertorials, must have nofollow tags to avoid punishment from Google.

  • Follow links tell search engines to pass on part of the website’s credibility and value to the domain it links to.
  • Nofollow tags tell search engines that the linking website’s credibility and value should not be considered in the linked website’s ranking.

However, secondary factors like brand mentions – or the simple process of moving users to the linked website – can still increase a website’s ranking over time.

Place multiple high-value links prominently and early in the content you write for publishers.

This passes the highest possible SEO value from the publisher’s website to yours.

Avoid placing links to your website simply to gain SEO value, though.

Consider how best to set up your linking strategy for each piece of content.

If you want to appeal directly to a subset of your usual audience, or you’re using a topic that’s not applicable to your usual audience, consider building a microsite to link to instead of linking directly to your website; the microsite can then link to your website. While you lose some SEO equity in this process, its increased audience and publisher relevance can make this a more successful strategy.

Consider sacrificing links for coverage if the initial coverage is influential enough to spawn more coverage by other outlets later in the process.

For example, if the most influential publisher for your audience and in your industry is willing to publish your piece and link to your website, other links may come dynamically as its publication alone can lead to more attention by other publishers down the road.

Build a press list that consists of potential publishers for your content, their domain authority, and notes from your team.

Decide how to prioritize which publishers on your press list you’ll pitch to first.

You could prioritize:

  • Domain authority that provides high quality links.
  • Influence and coverage so other publishers syndicate or use similar content.
  • Internal preferences from your marketing team.

Pitch to big publishers before smaller publishers.

If you have multiple publishers with a similar priority level, pick the larger ones to pitch to.

Smaller publishers will be more likely to pick up on the coverage if big publishers have already covered it, whereas big publishers are less likely to pick it up if it has already reached their smaller counterparts.

A cascading approach also allows you to build links over time, continuing to build SEO equity compared to a single burst of news coverage that conveys more temporary and less sustained value to Google’s ranking factors.


This step has missed the mark. What the reader needs to be doing here is deciding when to use follow links and when to use nofollow links, with the advertising example as a key point within the step.

Remove the reference to pitching – it’s confusing in this context because you typically write content after pitching and having your pitch accepted.

Combine the information about using multiple unique links and where in the article to place them – make sure all of this crucial information is in the step itself.

Combine this information with the previous step – it doesn’t need to be in its own step.

This is confusing. Points from the lesson to cover:

  • Build a press list.
  • Decide how to prioritize which publishers you’ll pitch to – options are domain authority that provides high quality links, influence and coverage so other publishers syndicate or use similar content, and internal preferences from your marketing team.

Add this step:

  • Decide when and how you’ll use microsites instead of linking directly to your website.