Brand Vs Backlinks

by Jim July 17, 2017

Welcome back Rankers! Coming to you from a bar in Dubai somewhere. I’m on my way home, so wasn’t sure where I’d be doing the show from this week. I had a spare few hours here, so I thought I’d do the show. It’s a balmy 42°C here, heading into 12°C in Melbourne which I’m looking forward to. Thank you for all the comments last week about brand. I’m going to bang on about it again today.

Brand Beats Backlinks

I’ve been exploring a couple of different ideas and I appreciate your thoughts and feedback on this. The theory is that if you are stronger in a particular category with your brand, you’ll probably rank higher for that than someone who is not strong in that category. I’ll show you an example of what I’m doing here. This is AdWords Preview, which is what we’d typically use these days to try to get a semi-accurate picture of where something ranks in the territory you’re looking.

So, for instance, here I’ve selected Melbourne and the phrase I’m checking is ‘home loans’. This tool is actually to make sure your ads are appearing, and to see what they look like, but we’re not using it for that. So you can see here that we have as the number one result, and then we have a couple of brokerage sites, affiliate sites, like Canstar and RateCity, followed by the banks and ING. Then what I’ve done is go into Google Trends where I’ve said, “Okay, show me Aussie Home Loans, show me NAB home loans.” You can see over the last ninety days that Aussie Home Loans, as a phrase, gets searched a whole lot more in Australia than NAB home loans.

brand vs backlinks
brand vs backlinks

If I try ING Direct home loans, it shows few results, so I’ll remove that one. The reason I chose this phrase (Aussie Home Loans) is that it is something you hear a lot, and that business, which is now owned by one of the big banks, was always talking about Aussie Home Loans. That was their phrase. Then when you go and have a look at the backlinks, and to do that I’m using the SEMrush tool to do a comparison of backlinks. It’s not 100% accurate, but you could cross-match it with Majestic SEO or any of the other backlinking tools that measure backlinks. It suggests some other sites or competitors that we can compare with. So we’re doing a comparison between and NAB.

backlink counts compared
Backlink counts compared

Important to note that we are doing the comparison here across the whole domain, and not the target page. You can see the Domain and Trust scores allocated to each brand, but what I’m interested in is the number of domains. Aussie Home Loans has 926 domains linking to it, whereas the NAB has 3875 domains linking to it. You can check a variety of metrics here. You can look at the predominant anchor text and those sorts of things, but what it says to me is has a miniscule amount of backlinks when compared to the big bank. But they are stronger in their category for home loans. In addition to that, I would also say that the page that is ranking for Aussie Home Loans is arguably a little over-optimised in the page title as they have ‘home loans’ twice. But they do have ‘home loans’ in the URL. If we check Canstar’s they also have the URL with ‘home loans’ as does RateCity. ING also includes the correct optimisation. When we get down to the NAB though, you can see they have a really long URL with ‘personal/loans/home-loans’.

Quality Over Quantity

Now there is a school of thought, and I’ve seen it pop up more and more, where the longer the URL structure, the better it is for signalling to Google that we have depth in our content as it shows in our structure. That’s not true. What it does is make it difficult for the user to find out what that is. We could have a couple of things going on here, but what I wanted to show you was that whoever has all the backlinks doesn’t win. Here’s a relatively smaller brand, even though they’ve been around a long time but not as long as the NAB, but it shows that all the backlinks you can eat doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to be the number one.

When you go back and look at the AdWords Preview, I think Google will use something like this as a tie-breaker in a similar way as to how it uses Page Rank. If it finds that a brand has a strong search volume for a particular category, it could be ‘football jerseys’ or whatever, if you start to see with your content that people are starting to Google your brand more and more, that’s really good, so keep doing that.

Hopefully that’s helpful. Back in Melbourne in a couple of days, and I’ll see you next week. Thanks very much. If you have any questions or opinions on this, please share. If you have any examples you’d like to discuss, I’d be happy to take a look on the show. Also, if you get any benefit from these videos at all, please subscribe to the YouTube channel and share with your friends as sharing is caring. Thanks very much everyone. Bye.

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