How To Check If A Site Is Worth Getting A Link From

Google has over 200 factors to determine which sites should rank higher than others. As one of the main ranking factors, backlinks are essential to improve a website’s rankings. Gaining backlinks is tough, as it involves convincing a website to share your website with their audience. It’s a hustle to pitch your proposition to these websites, which usually is a guest post, sponsored link or asking if they would link to a resource on your site.

The problem is, not all backlinks are the same. A large and authoritative site in your niche may be more powerful than many general blogs with little or spammy backlinks. It’s important not to waste your time creating content for sites that won’t help you rank, but how do you determine if a site is worth getting a link from? This tutorial will show you how.

What A Site Worth Posting To Looks Like

A website you’d want to get a link from typically has:

  • Traffic to the site
  • Social media audience/following
  • Large number of authoritative DoFollow links pointing to site
  • In your niche

Traffic To Site

Creating a guest post for a website with no traffic is a waste of time, as you won’t attract any visitors to your website after they have read the guest post. But how do you find out how much traffic a website gets?

A popular tool many SEO companies use is SEM Rush. SEM Rush shows you how many visitors a website gets per month. The tool can also help you find profitable keywords which you can rank, if you’re interested in using this tool then you can claim their 30 day free trial here.

How To Find Traffic A Website Has Using SEM Rush

To find out the traffic a website receives is simple when using SEM Rush:

  1. Go to Domain Analytics > Overview on the dashboard
  2. Enter the website URL into the search bar
  3. Click Search
  4. Choose Country
  5. View Results

The higher the organic search traffic the better, as more traffic means more people reading your blog post. A guest post on a website with traffic is similar to being featured in a newspaper, the larger the newspaper the more people will hear about what you have to say.

SEM Rush is not 100% accurate, however it gives you a good insight on how a website performs, an alternative is to use the free Google Keyword Planner tool, however unless you have a large advert spend the results shown are very broad.

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Social Media Audience/Following

Social Media is a good indicator of how popular a website is, especially if it’s a blog. Fans of a website will likely follow their social media profiles such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

A social media following shows that the website has an audience who want to hear more. The website you are targeting would want to share their new posts to their audience on social media, promoting your website at the same time. What’s more is that if you’re in the same niche as the website, their audience are more likely to enjoy your content and start following you too.

Large Number Of Authoritative DoFollow Links Pointing To Site

If you’re goal for a guest post is to receive a backlink in return, then you would want to make sure their website has a number of good quality backlinks. The number of quality backlinks a website has will determine how powerful a link you will get.

How To Analyse Backlinks Using Majestic SEO

Majestic SEO is another tool used by many SEO companies to analyse backlinks of websites. We recommend you perform these checks on Majestic to ensure that the site is worth getting a link from.

Trust Flow/Citation Flow Ratio

To put it simply, a ratio of 1:1 is best, with nothing lower than a ratio of 0.5. Below is an example using the website Smoke Guru. As you can see, the trust flow is at 14 and the citation flow is 8. This works out at just 0.57:1, which is an acceptable ratio but very close to not being worth it.

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Below is an example using the website All-In-One Web Design. This is a website which clearly shows a good ratio, the trust flow is at 16 and the citation flow is 18. This works out at just 0.88:1, which is considered to be a great ratio to have.

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Anchor Text

The anchor text section clearly shows what text the links pointing to a website has. This is an opportunity to take a look and make sure that the website does not have a spammy anchor text profile. Typically, a spammy anchor text profile will have a lot of foreign text, or words which have nothing to do with the niche, such as “casino” or “porn”.

An example of a website with spammy backlinks is  Jump Online, as you can see the site has been a victim of negative SEO, where someone has tried to damage the website by sending spammy and porn related anchor text to the site to hurt the website’s rankings. If your website has suffered from a negative SEO attack, we highly recommend you use a the Google Disavow tool, here is a quick guide in how to use it.

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DoFollow Links From Authority Sites

A DoFollow link is a link which passes on “link juice” to the website it’s linking to, which is essentially a vote or point to the linking site. The alternative is a NoFollow link, which passes no link juice and does not help you rank.

It’s important to make sure that the site you’d like a link from has a a number of DoFollow links from authoritative sites. Authoritative sites are typically well known within their niche and have a large audience and backlink profile as well, they can also be large news websites. If the website you’re targeting has a lot of links from authoritative sites, then it’s a good sign.

How To Spot DoFollow Links

You can find out if the links are DoFollow or NoFollow on Majestic by looking under their link type section. If the link has NoFollow in the box then it’s a NoFollow link, DoFollow links do not have anything in the box as seen below.

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How To Analyse Backlinks Using Ahrefs

Ahrefs is a similar tool to Majestic SEO, however Ahrefs is considered by many to be better as it often shows more backlinks but it’s also more expensive. If you’d like to try it out, they currently have a two week free trial on their website.

Instead of Trust Flow & Citation Flow, Ahrefs has a URL Rating and Domain Rating. The URL Rating is measured on a logarithmic scale, which put simply means that it’s easier to grow your site from 20-30 than grow from 60-70.

When searching for websites to get links from, we recommend you do not target websites with lower than 10 URL Rating and 10 Domain Rating to save time and weed out the poor sites.

Like Majestic, Ahrefs also allows you to look at the anchor text to check for spammy links and show you the referring domains to find any authoritative sites. A plus with Ahrefs is that it shows you the estimated organic traffic, which could be used instead of SEM Rush!

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In Your Niche

It’s important to target websites that are related to your niche, so their audience will enjoy and hopefully link to your content. A guest post on a relevant website will also help you attract leads. Search engines are starting to improve how they determine if a website is relevant or not. So targeting relevant websites would be a great start to future proofing your link building strategy.

By following this advice, you will save a lot of hard work and time creating high quality content for poor quality sites. It’s important to remember that a guest post is not just a strategy to receive a backlink, but an opportunity to reach an audience that you have not reached before, where you can attract new followers and leads.

Bio: Jamie Bell operates Keep SEO Simple, an SEO Agency in Glasgow. He has worked with a range of companies providing SEO services. In his free time, Jamie enjoys working on his other businesses.

Matthew Marley

Matthew Marley is a Social Media & Search Specialist from Glasgow Scotland with a passion for the web and emerging technologies.

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