6 Things to Analyze to Determine the Value of a Link

Written by Nick Stamoulis

An important part of SEO is link building. It’s a manual process of looking for inbound link opportunities on other websites. A link opportunity can be a directory listing, profile page, sponsorship link, partner link, or guest post, among others. These inbound links get crawled by the search engines and essentially associate your website with that website, improving the important “trust factor” of your website that impacts rank. The key to link building today is to focus not on the quantity of inbound links, but rather on the quality of inbound links. To determine whether or not a link is valuable, here are 6 things to analyze before pursuing it:

The content on the website

Spend some time browsing the website. Look at pages in different sections and a handful of random blog posts. Is the content any good? It doesn’t need to be written by an English professor, but does it flow nicely and is it mostly free of spelling and grammar errors? Or does it appear to be written by a low-wage, possibly foreign, writer?

The usability of the website

Usability is also a ranking factor today. If the website isn’t mobile friendly or isn’t easy to navigate or has lots of error pages, the value of a link from that site will suffer.

The target audience

Who is this website targeting? Is the target audience the same or similar to your own target audience? Is the industry related to what you offer? A link on a website that isn’t related will look fishy to the search engines. Also, keep in mind what the original purpose of a link is; to drive traffic to your website. If the target audience is off, you won’t get any traffic from the link.

What the website wants in return

Some inbound link opportunities truly are no strings attached. The website owner wants to build up its own credibility and is willing to link out to great sites (like yours!) in order to achieve this. However, some website owners are looking for something in return. It might be money, which would be considered a paid link. In this instance, the link should be nofollowed to comply with Google’s policies regarding paid links. This link won’t help SEO, but it might still be worthwhile for traffic purposes. The website also might be looking for a link on your website. Only link to their website if it truly makes sense to do so. If it doesn’t, it will be viewed as a link exchange, also against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

Other links

Who else is this website linking out to? Are they other good, reputable websites? Or does it appear that they’ll link to anyone without much of an approval process? Stay away from the latter.

Time vs. return

If it’s something as easy as submitting information to be listed in a reputable, industry directory that’s a no brainer. But if they’re looking for a more substantial time commitment, consider the time vs. return of achieving the link. As your website ages and you gain more natural links over time, you might not need the link and your time might be spent better elsewhere, like writing great content for your own website.

While it might be tempting to take any link opportunity that comes your way, it’s important to carefully consider each of them. Yes, inbound links are important but it’s much more important to protect your website and brand and only pursue the links that will really make a difference.

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