Measuring Link Quality: What You Need to Know

We’ve had the importance of link building drummed into us for the past decade, but how do we know a good link from a bad one? Find out how you can measure link quality, to improve your SEO performance.

Link building is a fundamental part of your SEO strategy. It counts as a significant rank signal by Google, in determining which sites are worthy of being ranked the highest. But quality outweighs quantity here. It’s better to have one or two high quality links than a high volume of low quality ones.

Once upon a time, volume was the focus, but this led to people gaming the system and manipulating things by buying links from third party link sources and link farms.

Good quality and bad quality links

Knowing a good quality link from a bad one is often about common sense. Good links come from higher quality sites like press sites, industry guides, brokers and articles on business sites. Bad links are more associated with low quality sites that are spammy, poorly ranked and contain a lot of pop ups or ads. It also counts for those that are tied up in poor quality link networks.

But it’s not always easy to tell good from bad. If there appears to be a fine line, ask yourself what sort of traffic might come from the sites on your radar and how likely that traffic is to convert.

Semantic Relevance

Think if link building in much the same way as keyword optimisation or PPC ads. The keywords you pick need to have high relevance to your subject to encourage the highest amount of clicks. Traffic from clicks is important of course, but it’s user intent that is key. You want the traffic to convert.

Originator link network

One way to assess the quality of a link, is to look at the originator’s site’s link network. What sort of inbound links do they have? How valuable are their referring sites who are sending traffic? If it has a load of inbound links from poor quality, spammy sites, they probably won’t do any good for you.


PageRank is a Google measurement, to determine where to rank pages in search engine results pages (SERPs). Before you consider a link from a website’s page, look at how it ranks. Ideally you want links from sites that rank high on Google. Links from highly ranked pages help to pass on link juice to your site.

Auditing existing links

Before you grow your backlinks, look at what inbound links you currently have and apply the above steps, to each referring site. If sites appear to be unnatural, you can disavow them through the Google Search Console. Ensure the good ones are followable by ensuring the originator hasn’t placed a nofollow tag on them, or they will useless to you. A nofollow tag tells Google not to count the link.

Finally, don’t be scared to manually build your link network by handpicking the right sites and asking them for a link. Sometimes a simple ask can work wonders.

If you need some on your SEO? Whitefish Marketing can help. Based in Folkestone Kent, we are masters of the social arena and how to use this to the advantage of your business, offering a range of online marketing services from SEOPPCwebsite development and social media management. Call us on 01303 720 288.

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