Behind the perfect Link: What makes a link worth getting

Have heard the phrase “A quality link is 100 times better than tons of low-quality link”. What’s exactly the quality means? I am going to describe.

  • Link has been one of the prime factors for ranking, but the valuation of a link is changing. You need strong backlink else Google is pretty smart at ignoring links. How?

Google Employee Told :

we’re pretty good at ignoring links, regardless of the site. – Garry Illiyas.

Why it’s important to know about the quality of backlink you got?

It’s Important, let me explain to you.

A harmful or toxic link can ruin your entire website appearance on the search engine. E.g., porn, gambling links. Its better to regular audit your link profile and disavow bad links. The same way a good backlink can skyrocket your rankings.

In this article, I will show you 8 actionable ways to evaluate a link.

1. The referring domain shouldn’t be shady.

Whenever you get a backlink to your website, check the website first where you got that. It should not fall under porn, gamble, pharma, betting, etc. anything illegal. If you got any information that webmaster to remove your link or do necessary disavow action.

Matt Cutts had a definite answer for that: “Disavow the links in webmaster.”

2. Your link shouldn’t have bad neighbourhood links.

Many unmoderated blogs are spammed to death. You may have seen some pages have tons of comments with tons of outbound links — Same case with some forums. These link can point to illegal sites like porn etc. imagine you are getting a link from that page where a porn site is getting a link too.

Your neighborhood links can affect your website too. Kissmetrics blog has written an in-depth guide to spot bad neighborhood links. It says, Google slowly devaluing links from toxic neighborhoods.

Example of a bad neighborhood (Blog is unmoderated, and anyone can take a link via blog commenting)

3. The referring domain & page shouldn’t have extreme high outbound links.

If you are getting a link from a domain that has a massive number of outbound links, then the backlink will not have the same weight than a low outbound link website.

For example,

Site A – 100 External Links, Site B – 20 External Links.

Assuming the authority of both blog same, if you are getting a link from site B, it’s more powerful than the link from site A.

But how to check that?

Well, ahrefs’ site explorer has an option to see particular websites outgoing links.

In the same way, the page level outbound link works. If a page has extreme outbound links, it will hardly pass in link juice to your website.

As per Google, if a page has “n” authority & it has four outgoing links, then each link will get authority of “n/4”. Imagine a page has 100+ links, what authority that page will pass to the outbound links?

Check the below screenshot of a page has some unnatural outgoing links. If you get a link from this page, 99% chance, it won’t help your website.


5. The referring domain is performing well in the search engine.

Forget all domain authority by Moz, Domain rating by ahrefs & trust flow by majestic: if a website is performing well in search engine, i.e., ranking on many keywords and has good search engine traffic then the site is best to get the link.


The much no keywords for which a domain is ranking is, the much better that site is.

To check this, we need semrush,

Analyze the referring domain in semrush’s organic search overview tool

Here is searchenginejournal’s number of organic keywords ranking over the past two years.

You can see the number of keywords ranking for searchenginejournal is continuously increasing. If you navigate to the traffic tab, you can see the organic traffic is growing too.

6. You are getting traffic from your backlink.

Not everyone clicks external links on a page unless it’s not too appealing. It’s a bonus if you get traffic from your referring page. Also, who knows google can track these factors as ranking signal. But how? We should not forget Google’s Chrome browser has the highest market share. With Chrome, Google can track accurate user experience of a user.

You can see your website’s referral traffic on website’s Google analytics referral traffic section.

That’s nice! I am getting 5-6 referral traffic to one of my blog on an average.

7. Referring page has relevant to your niche.

Relevance is one of the essential factors during the valuation of a link. If you have a page about nail art & you got a link from Lamborghini review page, it not going to help you much. But if you got a link from a page that describes manicure, that will help you better.

The recent update on March 7 was about relevance, though it was about on page relevance it showed the importance of relevancy for google algorithm. So try getting relevant links for long-term benefit.

8. Referring page shouldn’t be thin.

A thin page is the pages with a significant amount of content or low-quality content. Most of this pages are auto-generated and never give value to the reader. According to Google, a thin content has this following pattern.

  • Auto-generated content
  • Thin affiliate pages
  • Low-quality guest posts
  • Doorway pages

One example of the thin page is “forum profile page.” We often see these forum profiles have the option to add your website links, but it’s okey? Nope, these pages don’t have any content & have a terrible user experience. Links from these pages are never going to benefit your website.

See this,

Above screenshot is of a profile where link builder has inserted his link in the signature section. The profile is from a game forum & user website is about payday loans. This is a bad page; the page has nothing in relevancy or content.

9. The Referring domain is a brand.

Fortunate if you got a link from a big brand like TechCrunch, INC, etc. You don’t need to care about follow or nofollow. Whenever you get links from these publications, you become a brand. People start knowing your website.

Also, other blogs/ websites will not hesitate to give you a link as you already got the green signal by Big Brands.

If you look at LSIGraph’s home page

They want us to know that they are a valuable website, big brands in their industry loving them. So other websites won’t hesitate to link them.

Secondly, these websites receive millions of traffic every month. So you can receive referral traffic too.

Bonus, if you got a follow link. These big brands have tremendous authority, a single link from these domains can positively affect your rankings.

11. Referring page is indexed.

If your referring pages have noindex tag, then that page never going to index in Google. Backlinks from these pages are useless.

How to know a page has a noindex tag?

Check the source code of that particular page. In Chrome, Right click > View Page Source

Find (Ctrl+F) noindex, if there is noindex tag, its waste. If you don’t find any, it’s okay.

Also, if the page is blocked in robots.txt, then it’s not a valuable link.

For example, Some blogs block their community section for the search engine. If you got a link from a post: https://example.com/community/blog-post/, it’s not helpful for ranking.

13. Dofollow Link / Nofollow Link

There are two kinds of link, follow or nofollow. A link which doesn’t influence search engine rankings is nofollow. Nofollow links are just for traffic.

How to determine which is follow or nofollow link?

E.g. <a href=”http://www.freelancer.com/” rel=”nofollow”>Freelancer</a> .

These links have a rel=nofollow tag. That means search engine will not follow them and pass link juice to the linked page. Google confirmed that this kind of links has very little weight for influencing search rankings.

This tag was introduced by Matt Cutts & Jason Shellen in 2005 to stop paid links, spams, etc.

Whereas, a follow link can affect your search rankings. Google bot follows them and passes link juice to the linked page.

E.g. <a href=”http://www.freelancer.com/”>Freelancer</a> .

Though follow links good for rankings, it’s advisable to have mix link profile. Be practical, not 100% or your referring pages will give you follow the link.

So nofollow is good but follow links are best for rankings.

14. Referring domains have authority.

This is the most influential factor in ranking. If you get a link from high authority website it can skyrocket your rankings(assuming the referring page is relevant to your website niche).

But how to know the domain authority?

You can check domain authority of a website in MOZ’s open site explorer.

Note: Domain authority is not an official Google’s metric. The metric is invented by Moz which is similar to Google’s old Page Rank.

Also, if you are getting a link from a page having google page authority then also it’s beneficial. Ahrefs experiment says individual page authority has a bigger impact than whole domain authority.

16. Referring domain is penalized.

Getting a link from a penalized domain is bad & worthless. Google deindexes penalized domain, so backlinks from these domains are a waste also toxic.

Use this method below to check whether a site is penalized or not.

Search “site:domain name” in Google.

Also, you can check on Ismywebsitepenalized.com

So, safe.

17. Link from Country-specific TLDs.

According to Backlinko’s 200 ranking factors, If you are getting a link from a country-specific domain TLDs, it will help your site to rank better in that country.

For example,

If you are targeting your site in India, getting links from .in domains will help you to rank better in India.

18. Higher Link passes More Weight

Moz has a clear picture of how link placements affect the value of a link. Not all links in a webpage have equal value. According to the study, links placed in the higher section on a webpage pass more value than placed in the lower section.

So if you are getting a link from the 1st paragraph of referring page, that’s a great link!


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