One significant factor in raising your ranking in search engines is getting other websites to connect to your website. But it’s quality over quantity that matters when it comes to establishing links. So, how do you know it’s a bad link?  

Ranking well in Google is complex

Organic ranking is a fast-changing scenery as Google constantly updates their algorithm, the set of standards regulating how internet sites are ranked, and the logic by which Google indexes the highest quality websites in the search engine result pages (SERP).

There are certain determinants that define how well a website will rank. The reaction time (load speed) and quality of your website. The reliability and accuracy of content,  your website’s age span and influence, mobile performance and UX design, are all trust signals which contribute to the rich soup that makes the algorithm.

Search Engine Journal

But one important SEO signal has remained constant through all the progressions of Google’s algorithm; the need for quality inbound links. A quality inbound link is simply a link from a highly trusted website, linking back to your website. These links are usually driven by an anchor text. The latest research from the Search Engine Journal reveals that high-ranking sites under competitive phrases are up to ten times more likely to get websites linking to their sites; however, this does mean that it becomes much harder to control which sites link to your web pages.

Some links are good, and some links may be really bad.

Google examines your website’s inbound links, and if it notices you have a page full of broken links, it might inflict a Google Penalty that can impact negatively on your ranks. 

What you need to do is develop a strategy that enables high quality and trusted links to flow naturally to your website and implement internal links to allow that link juice to flow through your site.

To answer the question, what makes a link bad, consider the following;

“Do I trust the website linking to my website?”

Quite clearly you need to use your common sense to conclude how reliable and dependable the website appears. Does the content feel helpful and genuinely relevant? Does it seem like the author or owner is keeping it up to date? Does it engage and connect to appropriate and trusted sources? 

Bear in mind that certain credible, top-quality websites may not have stunningly eye-catching design but it may still be very important, trustworthy, and potentially useful to your link building efforts. 

Here’s a list of 9 tips to recognize a bad link when managing links: 

  1. Is this website appropriate to my business line? If the site is relevant to your business segment – whether it’s a niche blog or maybe even a huge platform with a section for your field – then it’s highly probable to be a valuable link. If there’s no relation at all, the connection will eventually look like spam (and not just appear like spam, it probably is!). Google won’t score it. Ask yourself, “will this link generate traffic to my website” or “DOES this connection already bring me visitors”- if it does (or will) then you’re on the right path.   
  2. Is the website loaded with apparently meaningless key phrases – Are there links on the side that are too suspicious and risky such as “Cheap SEO Services,” “Internet Gambling,” “Purchase Viagra Online” or links to a variety of different, meaningless forms of content on the internet? This is an obvious signal that this is a terrible link that will bring you no good.
  3. Is it populated with un-curated content – is there a person assigned in editorial control who ensures the article’s quality, or can anyone upload a blog post to the page and attach some references to the content?
  4. Is it a directory filled with links? Actually, it is not the number of links that is the indication of risk. It is whether the directory provides some level of  interest for the consumers.
  5. Is the platform attempting to sell you a link? Google explicitly notes that it contravenes its rules to buy inbound links to boost the rankings. So if the website is attempting to sell links, then avoid dealing with it.
  6. Is it a dead site? – Is the website receiving feedback or human engagement that indicates that the information is beneficial or essential to people?
  7. Does the website look well managed and maintained? Is it constantly updated, does it look clean and reliable?
  8. Does the website actually work, or are there unfinished sections? If critical pages such as the contact page, or a section from their main page, are down, then this is an indicator that the system is not constantly updated and that the site is of high risk.
  9. Have you seen the site before? One clear indicator of a low-quality platform is when information from other articles is extracted from another source. Scraping is the manual or automated method of extracting data and pieces of information from other internet sites, usually for the intention of generating ad money on the website.

It is always a useful exercise to contact the site and try and reach the site owner/site admin. If you can not reach them and you have any thoughts that the site may be low quality, then simply move on and find another.

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