By Kaitie Frank
14 Feb 2024

Link Blind Date: How to Evaluate the Quality of Potential Link Partners

Link Building

Link building is a crucial aspect of SEO that requires careful consideration and a discerning eye. Not all links are created equal, and choosing the right link partners is like going on a blind date — you need to vet them carefully to ensure a long-term and mutually beneficial relationship. 

It's important to note that quality is always more important than quantity when it comes to link building. A single high-quality link from a reputable website can be worth more than hundreds of low-quality links from spammy websites that could potentially harm your website's ranking. 

Assessing the quality and relevance of websites for link building can be daunting, but some criteria can help you make informed decisions. By carefully vetting your link partners, you can build a strong network of high-quality links that can boost your website's ranking and visibility in the long run.

The Blind Date Dilemma: Why Vetting Matters in Link Building

Link building is a human process that requires a strong relationship between you and the website you’re trying to collaborate with. And, just like the dating world, not every blind link date results in a perfect match. Hastily committing to a link without proper vetting can have undesirable consequences, affecting your website's reputation and SEO performance. These consequences include:

  • A drop in rankings;
  • Less organic traffic to your site;
  • A poor user experience;
  • A manual penalty for spammy practices;
  • A deindexing of your site for prolonged spammy practices. 

It's crucial to take the time to evaluate potential link partners to ensure a harmonious and mutually beneficial relationship. Not only should you think about the quality of the link, but you should also think about the relevance. Accepting a high-quality link from a website that has nothing to do with your target audience or industry will only serve to confuse your audience. 

Criteria for Assessing Link Quality and Relevance

  1. Relevance to Your Niche:

Links from websites relevant to your industry hold greater significance in search engine algorithms. A link coming from a relevant website strengthens the context and authority of your content. It helps search engines understand that your website is a trusted resource in your industry. 

For example, if you are building links for a gym specializing in women’s health and fitness, you want to look for sites related to women’s fitness or adjacent topics, like nutrition. 

  1. Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA):

Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA) are indicators of a website's credibility and influence in the online space. A higher DA and PA indicate that a website is trustworthy, has a good reputation, and is an authoritative source of information. You can use tools like Moz or Ahrefs to check the potential link partner's DA and PA before you agree to any partnership. Aim for links from websites with equal or higher authority than your own.

However, it’s important to note that DA and PA are third-party metrics and do not affect how Google assesses websites. You should only use DA and PA to indicate a website’s merit, not as the last word. Just because a website has a good PA and DA does not mean it’s the right choice for your link building efforts. 

  1. Content Quality:

High-quality content reflects positively on both the linking and linked-to websites. Review the potential partner's content. Look for well-researched, engaging, and informative material. Ensure it aligns with the standards you set for your own content. If the quality of the content is not up to par, it can negatively affect your website's reputation. 

  1. Linking History and Reputation:

Links from reputable sources contribute to your website's credibility. It is essential to investigate the potential partner's linking history. Check for any association with spammy or low-quality websites, which can adversely impact your SEO. A website with a poor linking history can make your website appear less trustworthy to search engines. 

  1. Traffic and Engagement:

Links from websites with substantial traffic can drive more visitors to your site. Consider sites with active engagement and a relevant audience. A website with high traffic but low engagement may not be an ideal partner because it may not drive enough visitors to your website. Additionally, traffic numbers can be manipulated, so evaluating the website in question and using common sense to determine whether the site is a good fit for your link building strategy is important.

  1. Social Media Presence:

A strong social media presence can help you understand a site’s reputation. Examine the potential link partner's social media channels and evaluate their social media presence. While social media signals do not affect with search rankings, they can indicate a site’s popularity and influence. You can also gauge the type of content that resonates the most with that website’s audience by looking at likes and shares. 

The Vetting Process: From Blind Date to Long-Term Relationship

Once you’ve vetted your potential sites, it’s time to take the link building relationship to the next level.  

  1. The Meet-Cute:

When initiating contact with a potential link partner, it's important to approach them with a genuine and personalized outreach. Start by introducing yourself and your website, and then express your interest in collaborating with them. Ask them questions about their content strategy, audience, and previous collaborations to better understand what they are looking for and how you can work together.

  1. The First Date:

When collaborating with your potential partner, ensure that the backlinks and content benefit both parties. Clearly define the terms to avoid misunderstandings. This can include the number of links to be exchanged, the type of links, and the timeframe for the collaboration. Make sure that all parties involved are in agreement before moving forward.

  1. Defining the Relationship:

After the first project, determine whether you want to keep collaborating with the website or if you need to move on. Make sure to lay out expectations for the partnership, including how many links you want or if you want to contribute guest posts. Remember that trust is essential for a link building relationship — the site editor needs to trust you to provide quality content and you must trust them to publish it in a timely manner. 

  1. In It For The Long Haul:

Once the collaboration is up and running, it's important to conduct regular audits to ensure the ongoing quality of the links. This can include checking for broken links or low-quality links. Maintain open communication with your partner to address any issues promptly. This will help ensure a successful and long-lasting collaboration.

Building Lasting Connections in the World of SEO

Since a lot of SEO work is done behind a screen, it’s easy to forget that there are people on the other end. Automating your outreach can help you reach more people, but the whole process starts to become robotic and impersonal. Site editors receive a lot of outreach in a day, and it’s important to cut through the clutter when looking for link building relationships. To get the most out of your partnerships, remember to:

  • Build a natural relationship with websites and influencers.
  • Create content that resonates with both audiences.
  • Be personable in your outreach;
  • Show trust throughout your website with reviews, UX, and clean content. 

By investing time and effort into building quality link partnerships, you can establish a strong and enduring online presence that can withstand the ups and downs of SEO. 

Kaitie Frank

Kaitie is a copywriter and content writer for Page One Power who specializes in SEO-optimized content. She has written for various niches and prides herself in knowing random tidbits of information. In addition to putting words to paper, she indulges in physical fitness and telling her cat why he is, in fact, a good boy.