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PR gone, how to assess links?

     
10:07 am on Sep 18, 2016 (gmt 0)

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PR has gone, but for all webmasters, to make some external links is must,
when someone come to me, and say hi, "I want to exchange link with you", how can I do to assess his website, to evaluate his link?
for sure, if I have a good site, will not link to a bad site.
anyone can give some advises.
Thanks so much.
Grant
8:22 pm on Sept 18, 2016 (gmt 0)

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In general, never link to someone who emails you an unsolicited link exchange request.

Do not engage in a link exchange for the purpose of ranking better.

Now that we have got that out of the way, there's the matter of metrics. Third party metrics are based on a count site's ability to rank well. A high score means that the site has qualities typical of what the SEO community believes are the characteristics of a site that ranks well.

However when search engines rank a site they're not ranking sites by order of how many inbound links a web page has acquired, then ranking the pages in descending order. So right there that means that the inbound link metric is not an accurate predictor of a site's high quality.

In a nutshell, a site's quality is determined by the quality of the inbound links. The quality of those inbound links is determined by the relevance (and circumstances) of the outbound links found on those sites and the relevance of the inbound links.
11:20 pm on Sept 18, 2016 (gmt 0)

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The last three outbound links I did were on Friday, all from the same page. My page was about a particular U.S. state and issues with that state. I talked about water and had a link to a relevant source, I talked about population and linked to a relevant .gov site, I talked about energy and linked to a relevant source. Those are the kind of links you want, but you can't really ask for them, they just happen.

If there is some magic way to quickly determine what Google thinks of a site, I haven't found it. But, I can start to get an idea in some cases by doing a Google search for site:example.com If it shows up, then at least it's indexed. Following that, I'd check ahrefs, moz and majestic to see what their concept of the site is. I'd look really strongly at backlinks if you do that, I also run additional backlink research and look at the sites that link to the subject site.

In some ways, it is like most everything else in life, when you look at the same things on a regular basis you start to get a feel for what is "normal" or right. I'll usually form a beginning opinion just from a list of 20 links or so, that is usually confirmed by scanning a longer list.

tldr; what martinibuster said.
12:51 am on Sept 19, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Over the years my sites have picked up a few pretty good backlinks because I linked out to the other site first. I didn't contact anyone or ask for a reciprocal link. Instead, the other webmaster eventually noticed my link, or traffic from it, and decided to return the favor by linking back to me. Usually this doesn't happen, but it has a few times.

Most likely this won't work with links to high-traffic authoritative sites, but can work with small sites in the same niche as your site.

Overall I suspect that backlinks from sites in the same niche or sector are more valuable than most other types, other factors being equal.
1:23 am on Sept 19, 2016 (gmt 0)

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...that means that the inbound link metric is not an accurate predictor of a site's high quality.


Just want to expand on this point a bit. Inbound links happen for a variety of reasons. Some of the reasons why a site receives a link are not relevant. Another issue concerns the relevance of the sites linking in. A site that relies on viral link strategies for inbound links, like making humorous photos, creating a widget that people can go to find out what Star Wars character they are or other such viral link schemes will result in irrelevant links. The inbound link metric can make a site look authoritative but the reality is that modern search algorithms discount the kinds of links generated by viral link strategies.

This is what I mean when I say that the inbound link (quantity) metric is an unreliable predictor of a site's quality. This will affect the reliability of any third party metric that uses the quantity of inbound links in it's calculation of authority.
1:43 am on Sept 19, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I have not responded to, or acted on a link exchange email for about a decade. Generally, that email alone is a sign of low quality. When I do link out to external pages I visit the page and assess it for myself. Is this page link worthy? Does it contain exactly the information a user would be looking for? Will the page give my user a bad user experience?

If a page meets the criteria for an outbound link I will link to it. Even when toolbar PR was thought of as a factor I didn't take that into account. All I was interested in was the overall quality of the on page content. I am very glad that PR is no longer a factor because it really did become Ego rank IMO.

A good question is when is an outbound link required? For me, I would tend to link out when I had to reference information that was slightly off topic with the rest of the site. The link would still be topical but targeted towards a very specific area. Sometimes you may want to link to an expert page rather than trying to craft the content yourself. It is sometimes better to admit someone else can do it better and link to their content as opposed to creating sub-standard content.

Regarding the link itself... I don't use no-follow. The simple reason being it tells search engines you are prepared to send your users to content that you don't want to be associated with. This is perhaps tinfoil hat territory but it is true. I also view the no-follow tag as a big massive flag that says "I am an SEO"

Mack.
4:36 pm on Sept 19, 2016 (gmt 0)

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When I evaluating other sites, I look at SEO visibility. Basically, how much traffic do they get from Google? There are some great tools out there for assessing this, but I'm probably not allowed to name them. One metric I like to calculate to compare is the ratio of the number organic keywords for which a site ranks vs number of indexed pages. If a page has more ranking organic keywords per page, then it may be a site I might like a link off.
5:51 pm on Sept 19, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I have not responded to, or acted on a link exchange email for about a decade. Generally, that email alone is a sign of low quality.

Exactly. A link is basically a citation. Since when has it become normal to ask for a citation?
6:31 pm on Sept 19, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Build relationships, not links.

In a nutshell, a site's quality is determined by the quality of the inbound links.


True enough as a Google metric, but as a fact, I think it's backwards: The number of quality inbound links is determined by the quality of the site.

That said, promoting your resource (site, page, app, whatever) to likely linkers is important. Relationships don't happen in a vacuum, though some of the best links I've gotten (keeping in mind I'm no martinibuster when it comes to building links) have been when I tried to help someone for no particular reason and next thing I know they've linked to me.
1:04 am on Sept 20, 2016 (gmt 0)

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One way you can judge how prudent your outlinking is, is by how many of your outlinks become broken over time.
3:26 pm on Sept 20, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Good point, it is good practice to monitor your links either by using an automated script or, if you have a manageable number of links manually clicking through. Broken links may cause harm from an SE point of view. It also makes your site look bad from a user experience perspective.

Mack.
4:30 pm on Sept 20, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Thanks mack -- Just to make it clearer, I was trying to say that you can often predict which sites or pages might not survive in the long term, and avoid linking to them for that reason. That can help prevent broken links before they happen. Of course that's just one of the considerations in deciding whether to give a link, and other factors could over-ride it.
11:56 am on Sept 21, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Build relationships, not links.


Nice, romantic idea, and certainly one to follow in the long run. But actually, links still cut it.

If you want to build fantastic content and wait for the links, sorry, relationships, go ahead. You'll no doubt get some. I still find asking speeds up the process.
1:49 pm on Sept 21, 2016 (gmt 0)

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One old SEO adage is that you shouldn't outlink from your home page.

Another old SEO strategy is to try to minimize the "PR juice" that "leaks" from your site when you create external links. There are various ways to do this, but using nofollow tags isn't one of them because it doesn't work.
7:48 pm on Sept 21, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Exactly. A link is basically a citation. Since when has it become normal to ask for a citation?


Since September, 4 1998.
8:04 pm on Sept 21, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Build relationships, not links.


Waiting has nothing to do with building relationships.
5:41 pm on Sept 22, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I wasn't suggesting waiting. As I said

...promoting your resource (site, page, app, whatever) to likely linkers is important Relationships don't happen in a vacuum...


I was suggesting that your link building outreach should be focused on the relationship not on blasting out generic "please link to me" requests that are going to go straight to spam.
7:34 pm on Sept 22, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Utilizing a number of methods to assess quality:

Majestic SEO has Citation and Trust Flow. My first glance at a site is looking at the ratio between Citation(x) and Trust(y). The ideal is to have trust be higher than citation (y>x). This is a beneficial site since the quality of sites pointing at the site in question is relatively higher than the number of backlinks overall. I stay away from any sites that have the following scores (x-y>10; y/x<0.7).

Take a title from one of the articles; Google it, does it rank for that title?

Take a quote from one of the articles; Google it, does it rank for that quote?

What does the site look like? If you good trade places with a Webspam team employee, what would their first reaction be? "Good"? "ew"? "huh"?

Are all articles syndicated from various RSS feeds and/ or guest posts? I regard this as poor web management and stay away from these.

What's their link velocity? in ahrefs, majestic, et cet how many links did they have a month ago, how many do they have today? spikes and abnormal acceleration point to blackhat practices.

PR has been a deprecated value for years, many other tactics remain to assess quality. I understand the angle of the rest of this thread from general backlink practices, but I feel that much of it skirts OPs question about quality assessment.

Hope this helps!
10:40 am on Oct 4, 2016 (gmt 0)

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how can I do to assess his website, to evaluate his link?
for sure, if I have a good site, will not link to a bad site.

A website is there to support a real world business. If you understand the business sector that you are in then you can tell by looking at the site.
5:11 pm on Oct 4, 2016 (gmt 0)

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@elguiri

If you want to build fantastic content and wait for the links, sorry, relationships, go ahead.


Sorry elguiri I missed that comment. I think you and martinibuster are assuming I mean being passive.

We get a lot of links from journalists, for example. None of them come from saying "Hey, we need a link." They all come from establishing a relationship with that person. Of course they know our ultimate goal is to get them to talk about us and link to us. But they have also need to maintain their credibility with their readers. They need to get to know you a bit and decide you're worth talking about and linking to. If a journalist ultimately turns into a fan, they'll link to us when it's a slow news day, they're searching for a story and we have a press release that matches the interests of their readers.

Building relationships takes work and investment. Lots of it. It's not a "publish and pray" strategy. It's more akin to traditional PR (and yes, we engage a PR firm to help with this). Sometimes it means putting together an event for journalists that might cost thousands of dollars and take many, many hours of staff time. And sometimes the outcomes aren't all that good. But sometimes journalists truly love what they see, become fans and will link to us over and over across several years.
 

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