Judging the Quality of a Link

The Google Penguin update has site owners running scared from link building. But just because Google is cracking down on webspam that doesn’t mean you can afford to abandon your link building campaign; you just have to be smarter about it. And getting smarter about your link building means making sure you are only building links that can actually help your SEO.

Here are 4 ways site owners can judge the quality of a link:

One of the most important things that helps determine the quality of a link is its relevancy. Is there a logical connection between your site and that link source? For instance, there is an obvious connection between a website for a small business financial advisor and an Intuit.com blog. That’s a highly relevant link. A non-relevant link would be if the same financial advisor got a link from a pet store. They may have helped that pet store’s owner get their finances in order but there is no obvious SEO relevancy that would make that a quality link.
In order to determine the quality of a link you also want to look at the authority of the link source. Is this a site you would link out to? If not, why would you want a link back from them? Is this the kind of site that gets a lot of traffic because they produce thought-leadership content? Do they have a strong social presence? Or is this a site you stumbled upon in the recesses of the internet that no one has ever heard or and never will? This is not to say that you should completely avoid newer sites which may have less authority, but what kind of road are they on? A new site can provide valuable content even if their reach is limited for the time being.
You want to make sure you are building as diverse a link profile as possible so be on the lookout for unique linking opportunities. Don’t just do what the competition has already done, look for places that no one else has taking advantage of yet! Maybe there is a niche social network you could join and get involved with; or a forum that your competition has ignored. Are their own unique sponsorship opportunities that will help present your brand to a new audience? The key is to set yourself apart from your competition with link building and not just follow in their footsteps. There are a lot of things that impact the quality of a link and uniqueness is definitely one of them.
And last but not least be sure to gauge the context of the link in order to help determine its quality. For instance, some blog networks (before they were de-indexed thanks to Panda and Penguin) used to sell exact match anchor text links in blog posts, although the link would have nothing to do with the theme of the post. It would be like me hyperlinking “anchor” to a site that sells boat supplies. Yes, the anchor text itself is relevant but look at the context of that link; it has absolutely nothing to do with the readers of the post itself. Definitely stay away from those kind of links (especially if someone is asking you to pay for them!)
NEXT ARTICLE : Link Building Strategies for 2013

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