Link building is an essential part of any successful SEO campaign; there’s no arguing about that. In order to rank for any given keyword, we need backlinks – and lots of them.
However, not all links are created equal.
The reason it’s important to know how valuable your links are is very simple: the higher the quality, the fewer links you need to get ranked.
The following 10 qualities are the ones I always look for in a perfect link.
#1. High PR of the domain
High PR can be equated to more domain authority in the eyes of Google. The more authority a site has, the higher quality the links coming from that domain will be.
My ideal homepage PR is 4+.
Of course, it’s a whole lot better to have a link on an inner page that has high PR of its own.
#2. Keyword-Rich Anchor Text
Google uses anchor text pointing to a page to determine what that page is about.
If I start building links to this post with “Ana Hoffman” as anchor text (like a lot of blog commentators would do), then Google might find that this post is more relevant to that keyword than to such keywords as “link building” or “backlinks“.
It’s best if you try to rank each page of your site for one specific keyword or variations of it, but of course, this is not a must – just works better that way.
Also, try to have at least 70-80% of exact match anchor text. The other 20-30% could be naked URLs, long-tail variations of the keyword, or even a few “click here” links.
#3. Long-term Link
This is the kind of link that won’t be removed in a few days.
Forum links are one such example. You create a new profile, sprinkle it with some links, place some comments on a few threads just to learn a week later that the forum moderators decided to remove all your links.
Here’s a better way to create forum profiles (thanks to Gerald for teaching me this link building trick): create your profiles without any links in them, wait for a week or two for the moderators to check it out, and THEN go back and add your links.
The chances of them sticking are much higher this way.
#4. Page is Indexed by Google
It only makes sense to add your links to pages that Google already knows about, right?
However, there are plenty of times when it’ll be up to you to make sure that the page your links are added to is indexed, like in article marketing for instance.
I strongly suggest that you keep track of all the URLs where your new content is placed and make sure all those pages are indexed by pinging them, linking to them in a few comments – just to name a couple of ways of doing it.
#5. Link Building Consistency
This is where most sites get in trouble.
The webmasters fail to maintain link velocity, i.e. to build links on a regular basis.
So what happens is a few hundred or even thousand of links come in within a span of a couple of days and then… nothing.
Very obvious one way link building pattern that can land you in Google sandbox.
#6. No Bad-Neighborhood Links
I would never add a link to a page that already has links to sites like porn, pharmaceuticals, etc. – you don’t want your site to be associated with bad neighborhood sites in any way.
#7. Active Sites
An active site with fresh content posted frequently, with lots of signs of reader engagement, like comments, social media shares, etc. is much more likely to be crawled often, which means your links will be quickly discovered and indexed.
The following 3 qualities might raise some eyebrows; let’s talk about it in comments if you disagree.
#8. Not Sidebar/Footer Links
It sounds like a great deal to be listed by another site in their blogroll.
However, aside from branding and potential traffic generation, those links might not be worth as much, since it’s not that difficult to obtain them.
#9. Relevancy is Overrated
There’s a lot of talks about getting links from niche-specific sites only.
I haven’t seen any conclusive testing that’s been done on that.
On the other hand, I’ve heard of plenty of link builders who ranked their sites on page 1 with nothing but “irrelevant” links.
#10. Authority Outbound Links
Yet another debatable point.
However, I, among many other SEO’s, believe that it helps to have your links on a page that links out to authority sites relevant to the topic in hand.
Here’s a good example of this train of thought:
And yet another one:
- Link Intelligence: What Goldilocks Can Teach You About Linking Out (Traffic Generation Cafe)
And there you have it.
Boxing gloves on?
Comment to show me that you’re alive!