Links are a foundational part of SEO. When it comes to ranking for highly competitive terms, the quality of your links play a huge role. But what determines a quality link? Can links deliver value other than ranking? In this video, I’ll share 5 attributes of a quality link. I think some of them might surprise you!
As I said in the intro, we’re going to be discussing attributes of a quality link. And what we want to get at here is why should we do outreach, or why should we look to acquire a link from another website?
A lot of people know that links are a good ranking symbol, and when you have more quality links, your domain is stronger and you have a higher chance of ranking in Google search. Well, a lot of things have changed in search over the years, and links are still extremely important, but there’s a lot of people that will go to acquire links at all costs because they believe that if you have more links, you’re automatically going to get those rankings.
Well, that’s not true. And they also ignore another valuable part of links, which is the referral traffic and the community building that can happen when you are doing link building, link outreach and working with other websites.
We’re going to be working through a hierarchy, and what we’re going to do is top the icing on the cake, and then, working our way down to what is the most critical foundational part of a quality link.
1. Tool Metrics
If we start at the top, tool metrics can be very helpful. We want to understand things like page rank. The reality is we don’t have access to page rank anymore like we used to. We have to use other tools like Moz’s Domain Authority, or Majestic’s Trust Flow or Citation Flow. SEMRush has an Authority Score. These are helpful indicators to help us understand a little more about the website and how authoritative it can be. It’s not a direct reflection of page rank, Google does not use any of those metrics in their ranking systems, but they are indicators to help us understand how qualified a website is. That is important, it’s something that we should know, but we shouldn’t stop there.
2. Inbound Links
We also need to look at other things. One thing that’s really helpful is to look at the number of inbound links that the site has as well, and who’s linking to that site. Does the site have a lot of good links, is it qualified links that are linking to them? Is it relevant links that are linking to them? Do they have a lot of spam links? These are things you want to know about those sites before you’re linking to them. Again, it’s not just about link authority and raising your own page rank, but it’s also about making sure that you have the right sites that are linking to you and the right community connecting with you.
3. Content Quality
The next thing you want to look at is to read that site’s content. Now this is a mixture between some tools and also some manual actions. Is the content strong? Is it good content? Is it relevant content to your industry and to your personas? Do they have a lot of grammar and spelling errors? Are they taking the time to make sure that their content is noteworthy?
The next thing you want to look at is how many followers they have. How much traffic do they have? What is their influence? Is this a site that’s going to send quality traffic to your site, or is this site not relevant to you at all? That’s important to understand, and you can use a number of tools to do this. Similar Web, it’s an expensive tool, but it’s a very helpful tool. SEMrush also has market research tools where you can get an idea of how many visitors are visiting this website and through which channel sources.
This is important when you’re looking at building a link, again, not just from a page rank standpoint, but from an authoritative standpoint, but more so from a referral traffic standpoint. Are these the type of people who want to connect with your business and possibly learn a little bit more? Referral traffic can be very powerful if it’s from the right sites.
The last thing, the most important thing you have to look at when building a link to your site is, is this link relevant? Is it relevant to my audience? Is it relevant to my site? Is it relevant to my market? Does it make sense for my site to have a connection with that site? And if the answer is no, you should stop there.
When you’re starting, you need to look at these sites and say these sites are not relevant, I shouldn’t do outreach to them because it makes no sense. Link-building can be very lucrative, it can be very helpful, it can help build the authority of your site, but also builds the qualified traffic from third party sites that are in your niche. It’s also about building community more than anything. It’s about building connectedness.
That’s what the web is about, and that’s what links were originally designed to do. Google uses links to show authoritativeness, but they’re looking at other things like we’ve talked about here: they’re looking at reaching followers, they’re looking at strong content, they’re looking at context. Today’s search is all about semantic search, and so they’re paying closer and closer attention to context, not just in your content, but in the link profile that you’ve built as well for your sites.
If you have any questions about attributes and what qualifies a link, please comment below. We’d love to continue the conversation with you. And until next time, Happy marketing.