Link builders often use varying metrics without any justification; one provider will use Ahrefs Domain Rating (DR) and another Moz Domain Authority.
These variations confuse pricing and ROI calculations, but that’s not the most significant danger. The standard metrics are only focusing on one ranking factor – backlinks.
Google has been explicit that backlinks are a major factor, but these metrics ignore other crucial ranking factors. We have changed that.
Number one is relevance. Pages must be relevant to the users' search terms. Once relevance is established, the emphasis then goes on the quality of the content.
Next is quality. Google has recently stated that "quality" is not just measured by looking at the text and images on a page. Aspects such as page speed, page rendering on mobiles and desktops all feed into the concept of quality. Crucially these metrics form part of the Core Web Vitals measurement tools and are verified ranking factors.
Finally, backlinks still play a big part in the ranking equation so we don't advise ignoring well-established metrics such as Moz DA - but they shouldn't be used in isolation (this is core to our thinking).
Fortunately, Google has given plenty of hints to what we should be focusing on, so deciding on the metrics to use is reasonably easy. The challenge is to find a way to get a balanced score that favours ranking factors in a logical way. A score that only uses backlinks or traffic alone is not going to do that so we’ve done something unique.
These are the factors we have focused on.
It is easy to find Core Web Vitals scores for any web page. This metric alone could indicate how Google will treat a web page in search. Google openly states that page speed is a ranking factor due to its effect on the user experience. The Core Web Vitals score is a vital component to Q-Flux.
Quality backlinks continue to be a major ranking factor, so it's still important to measure the quality and number that link to any page you are assessing.
Assessing content is tricky, but some elements can indicate how Google might rate a page so it's important to include a way to measure them in a formula. Relevance is crucial, so evaluating the placement of keywords throughout the document is vital. How backlinks are placed within content has an impact on their value too.
We can all agree that Google shows web pages it trusts more than those it doesn't. In that case, traffic and keyword visibility for a website act as a proxy for this trust.
Digital PR focuses on getting coverage from high-quality publications. Often, it's easy to see the best websites so using metrics isn't necessary. A link from the BBC or the Guardian is an excellent outcome for a PR campaign but what about the rest?
Times have changed, and millions of independent websites play a significant role by sharing content using links. In the past, a quick look at the Moz DA or DR has sufficed. But that doesn't give an accurate reflection of how valuable a site could be to your campaign.
Instead of using just one metric, we decided to use an up to date set of metrics that more closely mirrors what Google measures. This approach gives our clients a better understanding of the value of the links acquired and their ROI.
But times have changed, and millions of independent websites play a significant role in sharing content using links. In the past, a quick look at the DA has sufficed. But that doesn't give an accurate reflection of how valuable a site could be.
We decided to use an up to date set of metrics that more closely mirrors what Google measures. This approach gives our clients a better understanding of the value of the links acquired and ROI.
Core Web Vitals is another verified ranking factor. This metric consists of a complex set of metrics that Google weights to give a final score. We use the mobile version of the score since Google has shifted to the mobile-first model.
Relevance is still super important, but most link builders don't bother measuring it. Our method checks relevance from the top-down, giving higher scores to pages where your target keywords are placed in more prominent places. An example is where the domain, article and link placement are all relevant to your target keywords.
Having a reliable metric that covers all bases is convenient for measuring the value of the backlinks you acquire.
Standard methods such as Moz DA or Ahrefs DR give less than half the picture because they focus almost exclusively on backlinks.
Marketers using these metrics alone often wonder why they might have many high DA links but still don't rank well. Sound familiar?
Q-Flux uses backlinks and on-page metrics combined to give you a score that more closely mirrors what Google values. Is it time to check those expensive high DA links again?
Yes, in our opinion, a mixed metric approach is the way forward – but done the right way.
The best link builders use a flexible mix of SEO (DA, DR etc.) and qualitative metrics combined with common sense and experience to choose sites for linking. We’ve just expanded on that concept to create Q-Flux.
Our sister company, UK Linkology uses M-Flux, a backlink quality focused weighted formula. It mixes some quality signals like organic traffic with backlink metrics like Moz DA and has brought great success to their clients.
Q-Flux was developed to meet the needs of the modern digital PR professional by focusing more on quality signals like relevance and Core Web Vitals as well as some backlink signals. It offers an up to date method of measuring backlinks using factors that are believed to matter to Google, whilst also considering the value of a link in terms of reaching a specific audience.
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