We’ve told you before about what you need to look for in a perfect link – but what about the other side of the story? How can you tell if a link is poor quality or a site isn’t worth targeting without using any special SEO tools? Ask yourself the following questions to sense-check whether that link will really help your SEO.
Is this Website Relevant to Mine?
Forget about link building and SEO for a minute: imagine that you’re doing some traditional offline marketing.
Let’s say you’ve written a press release – what would you do with it? Would you send it to every journalist you could find – whoever they work for and wherever they’re based? Or would you send it to journalists working for niche publications in your field and relevant specialists writing for local and maybe national papers?
I hope you’d choose option two for the simple reason that you will be targeting the right readers if you target the right journalists. And you can apply this principle to link building too. If a website is related to yours – whether it’s a niche blog or a huge site with an area for your field – then it is worth seeking out a link. If there is no connection whatsoever the link is likely to look like spam and Google won’t rate it.
Would I Use This Website?
This might be a tough one for you, especially if you don’t get the point of blogging, but you need to think about how trustworthy the site feels. Does it look like someone is keeping it up to date? Does the information in it feel useful and genuinely valuable? Does it link out to sensible and logical places or can you see links to “Online Gambling”, “Cheap SEO Services” and “Buy Viagra Online”?
If you think it’s a great site with lots of worthwhile information on it and you could imagine coming back to use the site again, see if you can get that link. If your gut tells you to hit the back button as fast as you can, don’t waste your time.
Have I Seen This Before?
Does going onto the website give you a strong sense of déja vu – even though you know for a fact you’ve never clicked onto it before? Maybe you think you’ve read the articles before, you’ve seen the exact same links on another site or it’s yet another web page full of pay per click adverts.
It’s inevitable that you’ll come up against similar ideas and content frequently if you’re hunting the net for sites in your niche. But if you can’t find anything unique about the website, it’s a good idea to move along. They may be scraping content, it could be a spammy micro-site or splog, or a website set up purely to make money from advertising.
Even if the website is above board, but just highly unoriginal, you’ll be best off searching for a link on a high quality site then trying to build links with it.
It’s difficult to decide what links are worth your time and will help your SEO, but just don’t forget your common sense. If you think something’s fishy about a site, chances are Google agrees with you. Focus your SEO efforts on getting links that you think are worthwhile instead of on quick and easy wins and you’ll do much better.