As everyone knows, backlinks are the crux of all SEO campaigns – they determine how high your site will rank in search results.
Having said that, it’s important to know that not every backlink pointing to your site has the same value.
Some are more valuable than others which is why you need to be pro-active in identifying what type of backlink you have got so as to strategise better on improving them.
- 1 What are good backlinks?
- 1.1 Many people in the SEO world want to know if a link is good or bad. The answer depends on many factors such as:
- 1.2 What Can You Do To Identify Bad Backlinks ?
- 2 How do I improve my backlinks?
Good backlinks are those which give considerable Google ranking power to your website.
It has been explained before by several experts that there are three types of links: Nofollow, DoFollow and Noindex.
When a link is tagged with “nofollow”, search spiders won’t follow it to your website.
A noindex link, on the other hand, doesn’t influence your site’s ranking in search engine results but serves as a signal to Google that it shouldn’t index the page.
Finally, there is the dofollow links which are attributed with high value by search spide as they give them power to follow them till your site.
These types of links are extremely important for high-ranking sites so you need to find more of these whil e trying to improve your current backl inks.
Good backlinks can be found in different forms. One common type is when you get mentioned or linked somewhere else on the web either through an online directory or social bookmarking site like reddit or digg.
You may also find good backlinks when you get featured on a high-ranking blog.
Whatever the case, if you see your website’s link somewhere else, it is definitely a good backlink to have.
1) Quality of the site pointing to you
How related is it? Is it a well established reputable site, or just a spammy blog that someone created an hour ago?
2) The anchor text
If they are not implementing any skyscraper technique and using keywords in their anchor texts instead of “click here”, then this would be a very suspicious link.
3) Page rank/Trust/Domain age
A lot of new sites have high page ranks because there has been no time for them drop so these can often be good, however this is just the beginning.
style="text-align: left">4) The Context
If you are talking about an article and one person agrees to link to it with a “High Quality” keyword rich anchor text while the other person just adds a link at the end of their post with no relevant anchor text…well…you get what I mean.
5) Link Relevancy
What happens if someone links to an article on your site using hundreds of different words in place of “click here”? Is that good or bad?
Here are some examples:
1) A blog recommends an infographic but uses the domain name “/” instead of your domain name when linking back to you, would that be spam? No, because they use the official site URL.
2) A forum recommends you but uses the URL “seoguide.blogspot.com” instead of your actual site URL, would that be spam?
Yes, because they didn’t even bother to use your official domain name which makes it look like they are being sneaky.
3) An article links to you with the anchor text “click here” or just a generic text link, would that be bad?
Yes, because this is not how people generally link to articles so it tends to raise some flags.
4) If an authority blog links to you without any other sites linking to them first then should that be good or bad?
Well…it can be both. It can be bad if that blog creates low quality content and does not have a lot of authority, but if they are a reputable site with a high page rank then that is good.
5) If the same blog links to you from hundreds of different posts using different anchor texts it would be bad, right?
Yes, because this seems like an over optimization attempt and Google might penalize you for that.
Most people say don’t worry too much about links because they do not affect rankings that much anyway.
Yes I know that links will never hurt your rankings in most cases, however why take the risk when it comes to backlinks?
Read below for some tips on how to identify bad backlinks.
1) Use the free version of Majestic SEO to check the number of backlinks pointing to your site.
Most spammers will have 100’s or 1000’s of 1 link spam sites pointing to their main site which will make it hard for you to rank well.
2) Check all the spammy looking domains and see if they appear in Google Sandbox.
3) Check if any of those domains are on any blacklists such as: Ahrefs Blacklist, Pagerank Blacklist and SAPE List.
4) Use a chrome extension called “NoFollow Disconnect” this plugin will show you all the no followed links pointing to your main website, so you can find out if someone is adding a lot of spammy one-way do-follow links.
5) Check for any low quality guestbooks, blog comments and forum posts pointing to your website.
Simply search for some of your main keywords in Google and click on “Links to this site” or “Related Links”, then use those websites as a reference for checking if a link is bad or not.
6) If you have a lot of backlinks from the same IP address that might be suspicious so this might be a good time to change your DNS server settings .
7) Use Majestic SEO again but now sort by Trust flow, most spammy sites will have a trust flow around 0-10 which means they are all newbies pretty much with very low authority so avoid those at all costs!
8) Use a backlink checker such as Open Site Explorer and filter by “Linking Root Domains” this will show you all the websites that link to you with more than one root domain.
Most people these days tend to use blog networks, forums and social bookmarks which is why it’s important to check each individual website doing the linking.
9) Check for any links pointing to your site on websites with a high page rank (PR), if you do see links like this then make sure they are pointing to your main domain and not some spammy looking sub-domain like: shop.mysite.com or blog.mysite.com .
10) Check for any keyword rich text that doesn’t match up to your main site’s content.
This is a sign of over optimization and usually shows up as “keyword at the start of the sentence”.
11) Check for links coming from any sites that are either selling links or that have no place in Google rankings such as: link farm directories, article directories, blog networks etc.
12) Look for links coming from websites with similar IP to yours , this can be done by finding all the IPs pointing to your site using Open Site Explorer then just do a reverse lookup on that list of IP addresses against Google whois.
This will give you some clues on if they are bad links or not, however it would be wise to contact each website owner yourself just in case their SEO company bought out there whole website.
13) Some spammy sites have lots of fake backlinks for the sole purpose of gaining Google juice, so if you see that some big sites are linking to your site then simply check them against an up-to-date link index such as Ahrefs .
14) If your website is on a subdomain or subfolder then obviously don’t have any backlink coming from the root/main domain including subfolders (/shop/stores/mystorename).
15) Try checking some of those backlinks on Majestic SEO’s broken link finder.
This way it will tell you if they actually exist which means they are real websites and not just some parked with no content.
16) Check the anchor text pointing to your site, if it’s spammy or low quality then it might be a sign that those sites have been hacked.
17) Check for links coming from websites with a very high keyword density, this is usually another sign of link spam.
I would personally avoid those websites and contact the webmaster directly to sort it out.
18) Lastly, check your links on Open Site Explorer and filter by “Referring Domains” this will give you all the sites pointing to you but also show other pages on their website which you can use as a reference if any one of them have bad backlinks pointing to your main site.
19) Avoid bad links altogether by using free online tools, some are better than others but this is what I’ve found to be the best so far.
If you have any suggestions please leave a comment below and we’ll add it to the list:
Improving backlinks is easier said than done as it takes a lot of patience and creativity to come up with something which will catch the attention of other webmasters.
One of the most common ways is through guest blogging on authority sites within your niche.
As long as they are nofollow, good quality blog posts are guaranteed to attract more visitors and search engines spiders alike.
Just be sure that you don’t overdo these things as Google may penalise you for this action if done too frequently or indiscriminately.
You must also keep in mind that you must only focus on getting good backlinks, you must also ensure that the backlinks pointing to your site are relevant.
Dofollow links provide website traffic and give search engine spiders the power to follow these links directly into your site.
It is important that you have plenty of good quality dofollow backlinks because not only will they help increase your search rankings, but they can generate tons of targeted visitors on an ongoing basis which can bring in more sales for your business.
The key is finding good sources for dofollow backlinks while also mak ing sure that you don’t overdo this .
Try sticking with one or two really great sources, then focus on getting links from relevant sites that are related to your market.
Nofollow links will not give any SEO benefits but they are still extremely useful as they send traffic to your site or blog.
Internal dofollow backlinks are an excellent example of these types of links as they increase user engagement.
Ecommerce merchants can benefit greatly by implementing social media sharing buttons within their web pages because this encourages users to share the site with their friends and family members which can also result in more sales for you .
The downside is that paid ads should be placed only on relevant websites using keywords relevant to your website otherwise Google may penalise you for not following their guidelines.
More than anything, it is important to realise that you can never have too many quality backlinks.
Although there are no limits for this type of link building , you must bear in mind that links from spammy or irrelevant sites will most likely damage your page rather than help increase your rankings.
The wisest thing to do is to continue with the best and finest dofollow and nofollow backlinks and build them slowly and steadily while making sure that you don’t overdo these things or Google may penalise you .
And remember that search engines look first at PageRank so it’s important to assign PageRank only on relevant backlinks before moving onto less relevant sites.
So guys that’s about all I can think of at the moment in terms of how to identify good backlinks, obviously there are tons more ways but these are definitely the most common ones that will help you determine if your backlinks are organic or spammy! Good luck!