TF, CF, TTF, UR, DA, RD, PR, Juice Flow…. Either you are in the process of passing the QASEO certification and you have a fairly clear idea of what we are talking about, or you are looking for a way to assess the quality of your links in order to maximize the performance of your net linking strategy. All these indicators are established by specific Net linking tools and make it possible to rationalize and classify sites in relation to each other. But what do these figures really reflect? What is the value of a link? What link will this sacrosanct “authority” have in the eyes of Google that we all dream of?
The Criteria of a Link for SEO
We like to use the term authority to refer to the credit that Google gives to a site; but what are the criteria that could contribute to this?
Google sees links to a site as a form of validation, a vote from a trusted third party. In fact, a link from a site that is authoritative and provides relevant information will logically have more weight than a link from a non-reputable site. Therefore, this same link will indicate to Google that the site to which it points is potentially also an authority site.
If a site recognized as an expert in musical instruments makes a link to the site of a small artisanal luthier, we can assume that it guarantees the level of quality provided; Google starts from this assumption of implicit trust to determine the reputation of a site and its level of authority.
Authority is a relatively objective criterion; however, it is not everything… If we take the example of the luthier, he may well be recognized as an excellent craftsman by authority sites, if he is within several hundred kilometers from my location, there is little chance that I will be able to try his instruments and decide on a purchase. Opinions from other luthiers in his region or even from local musicians will in this case be more relevant and additional clues that will allow Google to refine his vote.
The Grail: Authority and Relevance
A “good” link should therefore logically have a balance between authority and relevance. Consequently, the possibility of finding Net linking spots combining these 2 qualities is all the weaker.
- I could easily find a music site that will let me broker a link to my maker;
- I could also without too much difficulty find a local site that supplies the luthier with precious woods and buy a link from him;
- But from there to find a local site, talking about violin making and recognized by the profession becomes much more complicated…
If we add to this the recommendation of Google:
“Only natural links benefit the indexing and positioning of your site”
We can prepare to wait many months before harvesting our first quality links!
What options do we have left in this case to get some links that will benefit my site in one way or another?
I will try to paint a general portrait of link typologies by classifying them according to their relevance and authority. However, it must be kept in mind that each case is unique and requires weighing each criterion.
What Does a Low-Quality Link Look Like?
A low-quality link in the eyes of Google can be:
- Lack of authority: its content is poor and it therefore receives only a few links;
- Irrelevant: therefore, does not reflect the expertise of your site;
- Badly or not themed: it is placed on a site that offers a multitude of disparate headings;
- Potentially harmful due to borderline SEO techniques;
- Easy to get ;
In the end, does not benefit your site or very little.
In this category we can cite:
Very easy to identify, they have no other function than to list hundreds of sites with 3 lines of presentation text and without any added value.
The “Comments” Links
Main means of net linking a few years ago, links in blog comments or in forums were quickly identified as irrelevant, too easily manipulated from an SEO perspective, and are therefore largely ignored by Google.
Social Media Links
Often decked out with a No follow, links from social media require little effort to obtain but also have very little interest from an SEO point of view. Nevertheless, the No follow is not a binding directive for Google which can choose to ignore it. This type of link therefore has the merit of sending a signal but which remains too easily manipulated to have a strong impact in SEO with the help professional SEO experts. On the other hand, do not neglect the social engagement that is part of the ecosystem of a site.
What Does an Average Quality Link Look Like?
It is always good to get them but their performance is variable, sometimes disappointing… They generate a healthy backlink profile but do not justify spending too much. They must represent the base of your backlinks profile: a good balance between quantity and quality.
We can cite in this category:
These small blogs generally have low coverage, are positioned on long-tail queries, but have the merit of being very well themed. They therefore make it possible to establish the semantic relevance of a link within an article, but also to show a form of recognition within your industry.
Related Business Sites
What better prescriber than a business partner? Your raw material supplier is not directly a competitor, is not exactly in the same theme as yours but for all that, it is in a related sector which can justify a link to your site.
Influencers / Blogger Partnerships
Often sold at very high prices, these links ultimately have little SEO weight; on the other hand, they have a “boost” effect similar to press articles. They are therefore relevant to quickly generate some traffic and in the best case can give you some SEO juice.
Local News Sites
It is much easier to get a link there than on national news sites and has a real role to play in Local SEO Services logic. Their semantic relevance will be low due to the variety of topics covered on the site.
National News Sites
Quite complicated to obtain because publishers know the value of links and often offer them for a high price. They will undoubtedly help you to gain visibility with a short traffic effect but will not help you to establish your relevance on a particular subject.
What Does a High-Quality Link Look Like?
Links with real SEO weight are difficult to obtain… Or expensive… Often both!
But sometimes, you can find nuggets by being smarter than your neighbor or by putting your foot in the crack of the door.
Reference Blogs on a Given Sector
It’s the kind of blog that your loved ones have never heard of but all your colleagues know. They can offer fairly average authority metrics but will on the other hand be perfectly thematic.
Renowned Brands in Your Sector
Whether they are your customers, your suppliers, your partners, they are your first trusted third parties. Even appearing on an “Our Partners” page can give you the authority and relevance you lack.
Your Group’s Sites
There is no reason not to make a link from one site of your group to another, even if the theme differs: you are your own trusted third party, so why do without it?
You have to find a common catchphrase, a reason for them to link to you, but if you manage to do this, association sites generally naturally benefit from a strong authority. Natural links to these sites are common and their authority scores are generally particularly high.
The simple fact of being listed in a “partners” page or a “they talk about us” page can give you a boost.
What About Paid Links?
The principle of SEO-oriented link buying platforms has been greatly democratized in recent years. However, we all know that the principle of buying links for the sole purpose of improving the ranking of a site goes against Google’s guidelines:
Any link intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and in violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This includes all operations aimed at manipulating the links directing to your site or the links contained in your site and redirecting to other pages.
In the best case, the link will not be identified as having been paid for and you will not be penalized. However, if Google detects that you have acquired links from websites that sell links, the web page they point to could be penalized. Choose well.
However, the purchase of a link is in no way different from a banner or an affiliate system and Google therefore proposes to declare its paid links with a reel=”sponsored” attribute. This attribute indicates to Google that it can follow it but without including it in its calculation of Page Rank…. (“Buy from the link… Do it…”)
It’s quite reassuring to want to rank potential links according to a score, but in reality, is it also binary?
- Will only links with a TF higher than mine allow me to progress? Should I limit myself to sites in the same theme as my site?
- Do I necessarily have to have more links than my competitor to overtake him?
We can only make correlations and accumulate experience feedback to try to answer these questions. Net linking like SEO is not an exact science, and even when you feel like you are working at constant scope on 2 sites, you will see performance differences.