Evaluating link quality within a link building campaign is critical, because you must ensure you’re building worthwhile links that help you reach your campaign goals.
Every link you build should be a link that you would be proud to show your friends and family, colleagues, and even Google. Building links you would be proud of means building quality links. But what constitutes a “quality link”?
Ever since the introduction of Google’s Penguin algorithm link building has shifted to quality over quantity. Here are some barometers you can use to measure link quality during a campaign:
- SEO value
- Marketing value
Always scrutinize your links in these four areas to ensure you are building links that will contribute to a successful campaign.
Relevancy offers a great starting point when evaluating link quality.
If the relevancy isn’t there, you know you have an issue right off the bat. Links form online connections between two websites, and without some sort of relevancy these connections wouldn’t make sense.
There are four main types of relevancy to consider, and some are more crucial than others. In order of importance, they are as follows:
- Link to page – the contextual relevance of the link on the page
- Page to page – the relevance between the page on your website and the page linking
- Domain to page – relevance between your site and the page linking
- Domain to domain – relevance between your site (as a whole) and their site (as a whole)
Now all of these levels of relevance don’t have to line up perfectly every time, but the overall relevance still needs to be there. If you have any doubt, try to explain the relevance out loud to another person. If you’re struggling the relevance likely isn’t there.
For a more in-depth explanation of relevancy in link building, check out Cory Collins’ article here.
Another important consideration when determining link quality is the SEO value of the link.
Links remain at the core of Google’s search algorithm and backlinks continue to be a prominent ranking factor within their search results. So typically the primary goal of a link building campaign is to improve search visibility.
While it may seem obvious to consider SEO value, it’s easy to overlook certain SEO factors when analyzing your links. Specifically, you should ask yourself these questions:
- How will this link improve my visibility and rankings?
- How will this link fit within my backlink portfolio (link type, anchor text, do-follow vs. no-follow, etc.)?
- How will this link drive referral traffic to my site?
It is important to always consider the SEO implications of every link you build.
Also examine the usefulness of your links to real humans.
Every time you build a link you should be thinking about how it would be useful to someone viewing that site. If your link isn’t adding value to a site, your link doesn’t belong there.
As mentioned before, links have tremendous SEO value. However, even if links had zero SEO value they would still be useful in a number of different ways, and you need to consider how your link will provide value to the people who actually click it.
Some different ways links can be useful include:
Google stresses putting users first and places a high priority on user experience. Considering the usefulness of your links to those who see them is an important part of measuring link quality.
Along with measuring SEO value, you should also look at potential marketing value outside of SEO when assessing link quality.
One of the main ways links can provide value outside of SEO is through branding. Link building is essentially promotion, and the links you build can lead to increased brand exposure and awareness.
Scrutinize your links from a brand building mindset – think about how they will expose your brand to a new audience. Consider how your links will improve brand trust and constructively build your brand’s reputation.
Links can provide value far beyond SEO, and you should account for this when determining the quality of the links you build.
Not all links are created equal, and it’s important to assess the worth of your links as you work through a link building campaign. In order to determine the quality of your links, consider these four key measurements:
- SEO value
- Marketing value