As it turns out, maybe not very.
SEO experts, Distilled, have released the findings of their latest research venture. Their aim was to establish the importance of local language links to a page’s ranking in Google.
Question: All other things being equal, will a page written in French that has other French websites linking to it rank higher in Google.fr than an English page with no French websites linking to it?
The findings suggest that the percentage of local backlinks that a page has does not have a noticeable effect on its rankings on their local Google SERP.
The following is a graph of Page Authority versus SERP ranking:
As we can see, the average Page Authority is seen to increase along with Rank. It has been concluded that Page Authority influences SERP rankings to a certain degree. This is not new.
This is a graph of % of local links versus SERP ranking:
Not so conclusive…
During her presentation at MozCon 2011, where she presented these findings, Hannah Smith recommended that good, high authority links are more valuable than weak local links.
Now before you run off in excited pursuit of high authority links in every foreign language you can speak a few words of, it’s important to note a few of the limitations of this study:
Despite these limitations, the study is, to-date, the only research of its kind that has been publicised.
It is a very exciting challenge to conventional SEO wisdom and I expect it won’t be long before another organisation responds with a more in-depth study on the subject.
(Any numbers-geeks who feel so inclined may download the raw results data here. )