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How to Assess Backlink Quality: 10 Key Questions

The more links you have pointing to your site, the better, right? 

Not quite. While studies have shown that quantity of links is strongly correlated with SEO performance, the quality of links your site receives is even more important. 

So, what makes a good quality backlink?

There are a number of factors that go into gauging link value. Some are more important than others, but being able to check  all the boxes will make a link a “home run.”

  • DoFollow: Is the link a DoFollow link? Unlike NoFollow links, DoFollow links “count” toward your backlink profile. 
  • Anchor Text: Does the anchor text contain the target keyword? This can help with rankings (but be careful to avoid over-optimizing anchor text)
  • Referring Page Relevance: Is the content containing the link about the topic you are trying to rank for?
  • Page Authority: Is the backlink profile of the page containing the link strong?  
  • External Links from Referring Domain: Does it seem like the site is sending out tons of external links to just about everyone? If so, you might be dealing with a link farm.  
  • Content on Target Page: Is the content on the target page keyword optimized and high in quality? Ultimately, having good links is important, but if your content is lackluster, users will bounce as soon as they get to your page.
  • Context of Anchor Text: What words surround the link? Even if your anchor text isn’t optimized, Google can look for context clues to make sense of it.
  • External Links from Referring Page: Is the referring page sending out a bunch of links? The more links it contains, the less “link juice” your page receives. 
  • Domain Authority: Is the backlink profile of the site containing the link strong? 
  • Referring Domain Relevance: Does the main theme of the site containing the link align with the topic you are trying to rank for? 

Bad links come from irrelevant, low-quality pages on technically weak websites. These sites are often referred to as link farms or private blog networks: they exist purely for link building. If an opportunity presents itself to include your backlink on one of these sites, run … the other way!

Good links are placed in relevant content on sites that are technically sound. 

Great links come from technically strong websites and are placed in content that is relevant to the target keyword. The Google algorithm has evolved to understand language and can deduce what the linked page is about by analyzing the text surrounding the link.

It’s important to understand that not every box has to be checked for a link to be considered valuable. Some links, for example, might come from technically strong sites with unoptimized anchor text and that’s okay. These guidelines are a great starting point to help you determine if a potential site makes the cut. 

At Linkflow, our link building services are backed by a holistic SEO strategy that is tailored for your website and business objectives. If you are interested in learning more, you can schedule a no-commitment intro call here.