Top 10 Tips On How To Evaluate Backlinks For SEO

October 15, 2022

In SEO, backlinks are one of the most important ranking factors. But not all backlinks are created equal. Some backlinks can hurt your ranking, while others can help you move up in the search results. So, how can you tell the difference?

The answer lies in evaluating the backlinks. In this article, we will give you tips on evaluating backlinks for SEO. By the end of this article, you will know how to identify the good backlinks from the bad and how to ensure that your backlinks are helping you improve your ranking.

1. Website Topical Relevance

The website's topic linking to you is one of the most important factors in determining the quality of the backlink. Is the website's content related to your niche? It won't be as effective if you get a backlink from a website about pet grooming to your website about personal finance. If the website is about a topic similar to yours, the backlink is more likely to be high quality. On the other hand, if the website is about a completely different topic, then the backlink is less likely to be high quality.

2. Page Topical Relevance

Like website topical relevance, the page linking to you is also crucial. When building links, you should target pages/posts that are topically related to the page/article you're linking to. For example, if you have a page about web hosting, you could get a link from an article about how to build a website.

3. PageRank and Domain Authority

The PageRank of a page is computed based on the quality of links pointing to that page. A page with a higher PageRank is more likely to have higher-quality links than a page with a lower PageRank.

Similarly, Domain Authority (DA) is a metric that quantifies the quality of links to an entire website instead of a single page. A website with a higher DA is more likely to have higher-quality links than a website with a lower DA. However, one should be cautious of websites with the following:

  • Extremely low DA (less than 15). This usually indicates that the site is relatively new and, as such, links from the site will not carry as much weight.
  • Extremely high DA with low rankings. This could signify that the website uses a Private Blog Network (PBN) to inflate its domain metrics. A website with a DA of 50+ but only drives <1,000 traffic should be considered a red flag.

4. Website Traffic

The amount of traffic that the website receives is also a factor in determining the quality of the backlink. If the website is popular and receives a lot of traffic, the backlink is more likely to be high quality and vice versa. Keep in mind, however, that some dubious PBNs often rank for many irrelevant keywords to make it appear as though they would be a good website to build links from.

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5. Page Metrics

The value of a link from a certain page will be greater if that page has a high number of backlinks. The page will appear more popular and trustworthy to search engines. The amount of traffic that the page receives also plays a role in determining the quality of the backlink since popular pages are often associated with high-quality websites.

6. PBNs - What To Look For

Be cautious of using Private Blog Networks for the entirety of your link building efforts, whilst they can improve your rankings to an extent they also come at a risk of being penalised by Google with algorithm updates. As a rule of thumb for any purchased PBN backlinks be sure to try to offset these with an equal amount of quality organic ones. 

Whether the site is a PBN, you can tell a website is a PBN if they have the following:

  • Extremely high DA: The domain authority of a PBN site is often 40 or higher.
  • A high number of referring domains: PBN sites often have hundreds or thousands of referring domains.
  • Low traffic: PBN sites usually have very little traffic.
  • Private Whois information: PBN sites are often registered with private Whois information to keep the owner's identity hidden.
  • Random topics: PBN sites often have unrelated topics. For example, a site about car insurance might be linked to a site about gardening.

6. A Dedicated "Write For Us" Page

Backlinks from websites with a dedicated "write for us" page are typically higher quality than those that don't have one. This is because it shows that the website is willing to vouch for the content they allow to be published on its site.

7. Is The Website Global or Local?

If you aim to rank in the United States, you would likely prefer links from a website whose traffic and backlinks come predominantly from the United States rather than the United Kingdom. You can check the countries of origin for traffic and backlinks using a tool like SE Ranking.

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8. Do Follow vs. No Follow Links 

Do follow links are more likely to be high quality than no follow links. This is because followed links pass along link juice, which helps improve the website's search engine ranking. On the other hand, no follow links do not pass along link juice and therefore are less likely to be high quality.

9. Sponsored Links

Sponsored links are less likely to be high quality than non-sponsored links. This is because sponsored links are paid for, so the website sponsoring the link may not have a genuine interest in the website they are linking to. Non-sponsored links, on the other hand, are more likely to be high quality because they are not paid for; therefore, the website that is linking to you is more likely to have a genuine interest in your website.

When assessing viable websites for guest posting be sure to look out for the rel=sponsored tags in the link code to see if these backlinks will carry less weight. 

10. Anchor Text

The anchor text is the text that is used to link to your website. This text tells search engines what your website is about. So, if you have a backlink with anchor text relevant to your website, the backlink is more likely to be high quality. On the other hand, if the anchor text is not relevant to your website, the backlink is less likely to be effective. Organic anchor text is the key here - be wary of excessive ‘exact match’ anchor text references in your SEO content to the keyword you’re attempting to rank for as this can be a red flag signal in Google’s eyes in some cases. 

We hope this article cleared up everything about evaluating backlinks for your website and helps assist your SEO campaigns.