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Link Building Strategy: Good Backlinks Vs Bad Backlinks

There is much discussion when it comes to link building strategy. Many SEO experts have their own opinions as to how integral a link building strategy really is to the ideal SEO strategy, as well as what sort of attributes a link would need for it to be considered a good backlink. Ultimately there is no one way or one set formula to use when assessing the quality of a backlink. Unfortunately, not every link was created equal. However, there are a few things to look out for. At the end of the day the quality of a link always really hinges on two main factors, Authority and Relevance.

what makes a good link?

But before we even get stuck into all this just remember one thing. For any link to even be in the running to be considered, it has to have been indexed. If any links haven’t been indexed or worse your website is deindexed, well then that is a problem that needs to be resolved immediately. Keep in mind though, that if your website or any new page is less than 6 months old then that may be the case why it has not been indexed yet, so there is no need to panic just yet if this is the case.

So, the one main thing to note here is that any link that hasn’t been indexed is by default a bad link.

There is a lot more to this and it does get a tad more complex, but theoretically any link that has been indexed should pass some sort of link juice. And this link juice is what you are looking to build.

Cheeky Little Tip #1: If you want to check whether a link is indexed or not, just put the link url into Google. Does it come up first? Or like relatively first?

Okay, so now that you know that all link needs to be indexed and you know the simplest way to check if a link has been indexed, we can go ahead and get into a little bit more detail.

This is now where Authority and Relevance come in to play.


Now to start with let’s look at Authority. Authority comes in a few different forms. It depends whether you are looing at AHREFs Domain Rating (DR) or the number or referring domains. I tend to just go with DR. Your websites Authority is based on a few factors but by far the biggest one is the number of links it has linking back to it.

Probably the best method for calculating Authority is by looking at :

  1. The number of backlinks to website (DR)
  2.  The number of backlinks to the specific page (UR)

One of the more common questions that you often hear is:

“If a link does not have a particularly high DR, would it be considered a bad link?”

This isn’t always going to be the case, because you could have a considerable number of links going to a specific page only, which would increase the UR score.

This is where PBN’s come in. One of the main reasons for this is because of PBN’s! What’s a PBN? Well it stands for private blog network. I thought they were bad? Well they are, but not all of them. But a lot of them. To be fair the majority of them are just these spammy websites with poor content that’s probably been duplicated, and they all send links to each other. It used to work very well for gaming Google SEO back in the day. But Google got wise to it and now they have cracked down on all that carry on. But is there any use for a PBN? Well you can find less spammy looking ones and they can be used for a few things.

Naturally a lot of links pointing to a specific page, perhaps even an internal page, would signal to Google that this link is of some importance. This is what will build a pages UR score. If you then link that page to your website, it now passes that link juice to you. This is where PBN’s come in. You can get a high amount of cost-effective links and point them to a guest post that is linking to you. This increases that links UR and in turn passes that on to your website. This is why you can’t rely solely on DR when it comes to determining the quality of a link, a website with a strong UR will pass link juice also

This doesn’t mean that you should ignore DR or that it’s not important. DR is still one of the most important metrics, this is because it gives the quickest insight into a website’s authority. But the main thing to note here is that by building several links to a page with high DR, you will increase its UR making it an even stronger link.

Let’s look at the example below:

Imagine a page with a DR 0 and a UR 0. Well it’s pretty obvious to everyone that you aren’t going to want that.

Or, how about a page with a DR 5 and a UR 5. Whilst this one is a bit better, you probably aren’t going to notice much of an impact from that either.

Now let’s just say that you had a page with a DR 60 and a UR 10. There is room to build on this pretty easily. By adding a few Tier 2 links to that page you could increase the UR to 20 maybe even 30. In doing so the overall link is now much stronger.

This would result in a lot more link juice being passed on than it would have been. Niche edits can also be a great way to boost the power of a guest post.

The other factor that we mentioned earlier was Relevance. Relevance can be seen in two forms: Domain and Page Relevance. This basically involves looking at the keywords pointing to a domain or website and the meaning behind them. This will signal how relevant they are.

It would be quite rare to come across domain level links that have high relevance. This can typically only be done within certain niched. However, it is still possible to find a page that is relevant to what you are linking to. This will pass even more link juice on to you.

Cheeky Little Tip #2: Other than these two relevance based factors there really isn’t too much else to be worrying yourself with.

I’m also generally not too concerned about the quantity of content on the page itself either. Ideally, I’d want to see a contextual link on the page and I always like to ensure the page’s content is relevant. But its most important to me that the page is relevant to my site. Also, you want to make sure that the link is “dofollow” and is also indexed, I think that goes without saying.

So, in short, the key take away is that you want to get as many links with as high a DR as possible and then you want to power them up by pointing links to that link. And if you are feeling like being cost effective you can use Tier 2 a PBN links in this way relatively risk free. Ultimately this is going to give you the results that you need. Big site DR and big page UR. It’s worth noting that messing with PBN’s is considered black hat but if you are selective and careful to consider relevance when selecting these Tier 2 links it is probably more grey hat. The link building strategy is to use a mixture of everything and to try and maintain a realistic looking link profile. A sketchy looking link profile is ultimately going to be the main signal to Google that you are trying to play the system. So just always remember to ensure that there is relevance between the source and the target. For instance, you shouldn’t have a link about flowers, linking to your pet site. There is no relevance. Unless maybe it was to do with pet allergies or something but that’s an exception to the rule really. The odd one or two of these wont effect anything, especially if you have been maintaining a realistic link profile.

The sum up – 4 things you need to keep in mind when hunting for those good quality links:

  • The link must be indexed.
  • You need to get a dofollow.
  • The link should have a good authority, DR30+.
  • The link needs to be relevant from source to target.

Don’t worry if this all seems complicated. It can be at first, but once you get it, you get it. Hopefully by analysing your own site and taking a look at the links you have, you will begin to learn what types of links are good and which are bad. And if you just don’t have the time for all of that carry on, you could always just give us a call. We would be happy to help you put the perfect link building strategy in place.


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