Linking, linking, linking.  An important part of Search Engine Optimisation is getting high quality, trusted sites to link to your own site – but is there such a thing as the perfect inbound link?

There is no “one size fits all” answer I can give you for the perfect link, but there are certain criteria you can use to assess the possible value of any incoming link.  The more criteria it meets, then the more time and effort is worth devoting to getting “The Perfect Link.”


Here are my top 21 signs that an incoming link is likely to be perfect:

  1. The site that your link is coming from  must be relevant to what your business does or offers – it is essential to be “on topic”
  2. The content that is on the page that the link is coming from should also be contextually relevant to your site
  3. The link goes directly to the most appropriate content on your site, or the right landing page
  4. The site should be trusted and authoritative, as measured by trust scores like Page Rank
  5. The inbound link will have keyword rich, relevant anchor text
  6. It is a text link, not an image or logo link
  7. The link is likely to be moderated, meaning a human needs to approve the link, and it’s not an automated directory or free for all site
  8. You’ve not paid for the link;  it is a gift
  9. The link is not reciprocal
  10. The link to your website will be the first link on that page
  11. Even better if it were the only link on that page, or one of very few outbound links from that page
  12. It should not be in the footer or sidebar – ideally it should be in the body of the text surrounded by relevant keywords
  13. The page that the link is on should be frequently crawled by the major search engines
  14. The site should not link out to any bad neighbourhoods (spammy links)
  15. The IP address that the site is hosted on should not have any spammy sites on it
  16. The site should be well established in age, but not out of date
  17. It should have a lot of trusted inbound links itself
  18. It should send as much relevant traffic to your site as possible
  19. You want the link on a page that is likely to remain there for an indefinite amount of time (for ever would be nice)
  20. The link does not have a NoFollow tag
  21. The link is not redirected using a referral script

If you are a visual learner….

Here’s an infographic representing the 12 signs a link is great created by Yeremi Akpan:

So many characteristics… and that is why there probably no such thing as a perfect link!

However if you can find sites that have three, or four or more of these criteria then what you just might have is your killer link…