If you know anything about search engine optimization, you know that link building is an essential part of the process. Links help determine value in the eyes of the search engines since they indicate trust. If a website has lots of relevant inbound links coming from quality websites, it will be viewed more favorably (and ranked better) than a site that doesn’t have many inbound links. Of course, the number of inbound links isn’t as important as the type of inbound links since all links aren’t created equal. Link building takes time, so you might as well spend that time wisely and build links that will actually be worth it. So, how do you determine link value?
The first way to determine how valuable a link will be is to use free online tools to research the website that you intend to get a link from. Websites like Compete, Website Grader, and Network Solutions WhoIs will give you an inside look at the website and provide you with information about generated traffic and domain background. If a website receives low traffic, low grades, is hosted in a foreign country, and hasn’t aged more than a year the link won’t hold much value. On the other hand, if the website checks out via all of these sites, that is a link worth going after.
Another way to determine link value is to analyze target audience behavior online. What sites are target customers or clients visiting? Link building isn’t just for the search engines. It’s also for improving online visibility and generating traffic back to your website. Conduct research and analyze the backlinks of competitors in order to find websites that target audience members visit frequently.
A link from a high authority site that generates traffic from target audience members is great, but what’s even better is if there is some kind of potential added value in the link. For example, are you able to establish some kind of relationship with the website owner? Can they provide you with additional link building opportunities down the road like guest blog posts or can the relationship even lead to opportunities beyond linking, like a business partnership or referral? It’s important to think beyond the technical aspect of linking.
Perhaps the easiest way to determine link value is simply to use common sense. Take a look at the website. Does it provide any value? Is it easy to navigate and does it provide a good user experience? Or, does it have multiple spelling and grammar errors and is it loaded with ads? If it doesn’t look like a website that you’d like to spend time visiting, it’s likely that the search engine spiders and prospective target audience members have the same bad impression of the site and the link doesn’t hold much (if any) value.