How to spot a great link from the rest
It’s been too long since I wrote a blog post, mainly due to increased workload but that’s no excuse. Anyway I’ve had a few questions regarding link quality so I thought I would write a blog post about it.
Gaining the best quality links is something I try to do for all my clients, but it is something that is often overlooked by a lot of people, especially those of you who are doing your own SEO. The problem is that there are so many conflicting ideas, strategies and opinions that cause confusion. In fact if you go back some years you will see a lot of experts talking about gaining lots of links from “high PR” websites and even directories, something which I wouldn’t dream of doing today.
Whilst gaining as many links as you can is a good idea you have to be resourceful with the time you have and go for the links that will give you the most benefit, instead of just anything you can get your hands on. Countless times I have gained tens or even hundreds of links for a website over a period and seen some improvement, only to then gain one high quality link and see it shoot up the rankings. The simple fact is that Google’s algorithms know what a high quality site looks like and will place importance on those websites. If that website then links to you, Google will see it as a trust signal and therefore a reason to boost your ranking (obviously it’s not as simple as that, but that’s how I describe it).
What does a great link look like?
A few years ago you would hear people saying that a great link is one with high PR! No longer is that the case. The algorithms are so much more complex than this now and PR is probably one of the most misleading things to look at.
One thing to start with is to look for high authority websites in your industry. I’m sure you will be aware of some in your industry already. These are the types of sites that break news or have many high profile people contributing to it.
SEOMoz provide great metrics for authority and trust in their OpenSiteExplorer tool. Page Authority and Domain Authority are the ones to look at here, the higher these numbers the more authoritative that website is. However even if you see a link to a site on here that has high Page Authority and Domain Authority it doesn’t always equate to a great link. Take a look at the linking page, what is on it? How many other links are on it? Is it a follow or no-follow link? You’ll want to make sure that the page has as little links as possible and that the link is no-follow and of course that the content is relevant.
There are other metrics and things to look at which will help you find great links but I think these metrics are enough to get you started.
One tip I recommend is to use OpenSiteExplorer to find sites that are linking to your competitors, this will show you some of the high quality sites that are linking to them and will give you an idea of the types of links you need.