How to measure link quality

11/07/2020 12:00 AM by seowebsitestats in Seo


In the previous article we reviewed what, for me, were the most important SEO tools. We also presented the concepts of strength and visibility, and the different metrics that measured these values. With these resources we can already face the topic of this post:

How to measure the value of a link. If you have not read the previous article, I recommend that you start with it, because it is essential to understand the post in which we are.

 

How to measure link quality

 

The first thing I want to make clear is that not all SEOs evaluate a link in the same way. Many SEOs only take into account strength metrics, others however do include visibility values. Sometimes these assessments are related to the type of strategy that is followed, because depending on whether it is of greater or lesser risk (Black, Grey or White Hat), some parameters or others can be searched.

For all this I want to emphasize that what I present here is not the “official” way of valuing a link, but my way of doing it within a White strategy of minimum risk.

 

Strength and visibility

For me, the most important metrics are visibility, at least in a secure, long-term strategy. I start from the principle that if Google sends traffic to a website, it will do so because it respects that website. I consider that visibility is an indicator that the web is healthy, has not been penalized, has user response, etc.

Strength is important, ideally a page has both high metrics, but if I have to prioritize, I prefer visibility.

Force is easier to manipulate than visibility. Since the time of the Page Rank are known techniques to increase your strength artificially, quickly and cheaply. Having strength is good, but it doesn’t always mean that the page has value.

The most extreme case would be that of a website that made a very aggressive link building, has a very high DA but is penalized. A link there could even be toxic, despite having a very high DA. At the other end, when a page gains strength, but does so safely and with positive user response, that strength will eventually become visibility.

In order to organize the ideas, we could define 4 types of pages and the value that would have in them:

 

High visibility and strength: very valuable link.

High visibility and low strength: safe, risk-free, positive value link between low and high.

Low visibility and high strength: link with possible risk. Other factors should be analyzed to estimate whether it is safe. If it were, the link would have moderate value.

Low visibility and strength: same case, same risk. But in the event that it was safe, it would have less value.

This is my way of working. When a page has visibility I assume the link is secure.

When it only has strength, I do not conclude anything, because the 2 possibilities can be given. If it has both high values, I consider it very good, and if you have them low, I discard it.

 

Metrics

As I explained in the post about SEO metrics, I use 4 metrics in a link rating.

semrush report of seo website stats

 

Visibility

Force

For visibility I like to use 2 metrics because they don’t always give similar values. Sistrix measures the most relevant keywords, SemRush also includes the secondary ones (none includes the long tail with the least traffic). A page that has all its child term traffic could have a very low Sistrix and a very high SemRush. For me it is enough that it has one of the 2 high values, because if this is given, it means that the page receives organic traffic of some kind.

Measuring force is somewhat more delicate. The DA formula tries to take into account the provenance and “reliability” of the source but it is not always easy to know if all the force is healthy. From Ahrefs I look at the number of total domains linking to the page, but if I have time I parse more values, such as the number of networks and IPs, or even all of their links.

 

Reference values

Ideally, familiarize yourself with these metrics and have your own references, but if you’re just getting started, the following values may help. The ratings of “high, medium, low” I do considering that we are in the range of portals between 0 and 10,000 daily visits.

SemRush

  • 0-5: very low, possible risk
  • < 100: low
    100-1,000: medium
  • 1,000: high.
    10,000 very high

Sistrix

  • 0.00: very low, possible risk
  • 0.01: very low, possible risk but lower
  • < 0.10: low
  • 0.10-0.50: medium
  • 0.50-1: High
  • 1: very high

DA Checker

  • < 15: Low
  • 15-30: medium
  • 30-40: high
  • 40: very high

Referring domains

  • < 10: few
  • 10-30: medium
  • 30-60: high
  • 60: very high

 

Clarifications

All these reference values should be used with caution, especially those of strength. I propose them only as an initial reference. I’m sure some of the readers use other references (I’d love to discuss them in the comments). In particular, you have to be careful with referring domains, because a high number can only be due to very poor links.

Visibility metrics depend on the theme, so it’s best to use them by comparing portals from the same theme. A 0.10 Sistrix, for example, in some issues of little traffic could become a very high value.

Strength metrics are updated very slowly, usually taking weeks. Seoblue for example is still DA 1 when you already have multiple incoming links.

 

Outgoing links

This is another aspect that I think is not always valued when analyzing the value of a link: the outgoing links that the page already has (can be queried with Ahrefs).

There is one aspect that is easy to understand:

The force that a page distributes is not infinite.

Therefore, at a minimum we know that from a certain number of outgoing links, these cannot transmit their maximum strength. If so, the outgoing force of a page would diverge and end up being infinite. Little else I can state, I do not know the exact formula. I imagine it will not be simple, it will not be linear. I think the force will be distributed more in favor of links located in sections of more strength, but all are elucubrations. What I can say is that the number of outgoing links influences.

It may not matter if a page has 2 or 5 outbound links, but there is a difference between 10 or 5000. And that is why it is a parameter that we also incorporate in our analysis.

 

Strength vs outgoing links

To be able to draw any conclusions about how many outgoing links are too many, you have to take into account the strength of the page.

For example, the Dmoz directory has more than 2 million outbound links (counting only domains), but it has DA 94, so it has enough strength to distribute it to so many millions of pages.

I dare not give the formula that relates strength and outgoing links, but a good practice is to compare incoming and outgoing links. If the salespeople win more, or more precisely, if there are many salespeople but the page has little strength, it will obviously not be able to transmit as much.

 

Outgoing Links by section

Not only is the total number of links in the domain important, so is the number of links in the section where your link is. If your link appears along with 100 more, it doesn’t seem reasonable for all 100 to receive as much strength as if there were only 1. Again, you can not know the exact formula, but it is also a value that we take into account.

Distance to cover and strength of a section

Surely this you already intuit or know, but it must be remembered in this post.

The location of your link matters. Your link will have more strength if it is in a section with strength.

This is natural. A link from the cover or an article or main category, will have more value than one hidden many clicks away from the cover or even not linked.

The clearest example is the platforms that allow you to create your own profile and put your link. They are pages with DA 90-100, but whose profiles has PA 1 or close to 1. It does not matter in such cases the DA, but the PA, that is, the force that reaches that section, which is usually almost zero.

 

Quality without visibility

There are circumstances in which a page has all the respect of Google but has no organic traffic. Imagine a page with strength, with high user response, but without onpage seo and without attacking keywords. That Page would have a lot of value, but Google wouldn’t send you traffic.

An example of such pages are some personal blogs, for example humor. There are several cases of blogs that receive dozens of daily visits, have DA 40, very high user response, but where the blogger is not concerned about SEO or optimizes his entries. They may have a low Sistrix but still a link there will have a lot of value.

A page without visibility due to lack of optimization but that deserves it, is equally valuable for link building.

This is quite subjective and the valuation will depend on the knowledge we have of the page. It is a particular case of the scenario we cited before “force without visibility”. It will be our analysis capacity that determines whether the page has value to link or not. The question we have to ask is ” Do you not have visibility because SEO does not work or because Google does not value you?”.

 

Blogs within portals and blog creation platforms

Both in blog creation platforms such as Blogger or WordPress, as in large portals that allow you to create your own blog, the strength we must measure is not that of the domain but that of our blog.

For example, Blogger has DA 97. It is clear that creating a blog there does not transmit that strength. This is usually evident and more so when blogs are created in subdomains other than the main one, but we also wanted to remember it.

These types of blogs should be valued with some more observation. We can not cheerfully use the DA of the domain, but we will have to analyze how much force it receives, that is, what links it receives from the domain.

I also see positive that the blog is not believed in a different subdomain, but is located within the main subdomain, presumably in a folder. This way Google will not consider it a completely independent page.

 

Final Words

If you want to follow a strategy of minimal risk, in addition to following the indications on link building and choice of anchors, you should carefully evaluate your candidates for links.

It seeks visibility and strength, in that order.

I would love to hear your opinion on how you measure links. This is a very personal issue and not everyone will think the same. I think a debate could be enriching.


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