Ever since members of the the SEO community got their hands on Google’s Reasonable Surfer patent, there’s been no shortage of arguments about the value of links from pages with traffic. Some believe they’re worth more than those from pages without traffic, and others don’t. This debate is so prevalent that whenever I find myself in a group of like-minded people discussing the value of different kinds of links, I will inevitably get asked: Tim, you guys have the best link data at Ahrefs, why don’t you crunch some numbers and give us a definitive answer to this question based on hard cold data? Do Links From And I started to hear that question even more after we released search traffic data for referring pages last year.
Long story short
I recently managed to carve out some time for our data science team to study this. But before I share the results, I want to be transparent about our data executive data and its limitations. Is our data flawed? Let me first reiterate the fact that correlation does not prove causation. That’s something to keep in mind when looking at any “Google ranking factor” study as they all analyze how a particular ranking factor correlates to Google ranking position. It’s also important to note that: We only know the organic search traffic of referring pages. This study doesn’t take into account any traffic sources except for organic. That means no direct, referral, social, or paid traffic. Our search traffic numbers are estimations. Sometimes these are unbelievably accurate.
Do Links From times we
Can easily be off by 3-7x (read this post to learn more about how we calculate search traffic at Ahrefs). We don’t predict link clicks. As Bill Slawski states, the idea behind Mobile Number List Google’s “reasonable surfer” model is to rank web pages “based upon a probability that a person following links at random on the web might end up upon a particular page.” However, the patent relates mostly to the position of a link on a given page. Nowhere does the patent mention traffic. Which begs the question: If the study is flawed from the start, why even bother? I see at least three reasons.