When running the link-building campaign, the main advantage is to take advantage of SEO juice from link sites and gain popularity in SERP. There are thousands of opportunities to get a link, but resources are often limited. Therefore, the following list of signals may be useful in prioritizing awareness targets.

Site Topic: Relevance of the Subject

The first thing to consider is the current relevance of the potential website. If the website deals with a completely different topic, it will probably have no value for search engines.

One way to determine the adequacy between the subject of the website and the website is Majestic’s Topical Trust Flow. The higher the TF, the greater the relevance of the website and the more useful the link will be.

However, the best way is probably to read the website itself, which is generally longer but credible.



The following questions could help determine the current correspondence:

  • Is the website linked to other authoritative sites in your niche?
  • If so, this means that the website knows the market and can be considered a reliable source of information.
  • Do other influencers contribute to the blog or site?
  • If this is the case, make sure that each piece of content goes through editorial verification before publication.
  • Do the positions have a lot of actions and other forms of engagement?
  • Among other measures, engagement is an excellent indicator of the website’s popularity in the particular niche.
  • How often is the blog updated (if there is one)?
  • Most often the best, because search engines prefer fresh and updated content.

Without the current relevance, a link will have no value at best. Sometimes the poor quality link can have a negative impact on your REFERencing efforts by resulting in a penalty.

It is also important to note that relevance needs to be analyzed at the page and domain level. As for the level of the page, the content must always be very relevant to give a high contextual meaning to the page.

Rankings And Requests

Ranking the site on TOP positions is also a very useful way to look through the eyes of the search engine. The first 3 positions will indicate the topic that search engines consider to be the main part of the page. If their main keywords are similar to yours, it may be a positive news indicator that you want to associate.

Quality of backlinks

The website’s backlink quality check deserves analysis. This can be done with tools such as SEMrush, Ahrefs, Moz de Majestic. Once you have a list of backlinks, answering the following questions will help determine the quality of the site’s backlink profile.

  • Are links to the website relevant to the same topic?
  • The obvious answer should be ‘yes’.
  • Are they high quality and not spam sites?
  • Spam sites are usually casino sites, adult content or sites where users can post content without additional editorial process.
  • Do they point to the same country speaking the language?
  • The language must naturally correspond to the language of the company’s website.


Domains Vs Backlink Ratio

If the website is already linked to your site, it’s important to decide if it’s worth getting some extra links. Google focuses preferably on the number of reference domains rather than the total number of backlinks. However, having more quality backlinks from some of the best domains is better than having multiple times more links from many less good quality domains.

It is generally thought that a high-quality backlink can be worth 100, 1,000 or even 10,000 times the lower quality backlink. Therefore, the repetitive links of a domain are only relevant if the site is of the highest quality in your niche.

Otherwise, the objective should be to have the most equal ratio possible when comparing unique areas against total links, although it is clear that there will always be many more links than domains.

Distribution of cTLD

The decomposition of the website’s cTLDs can be a good indicator of backlink quality. For example, if a domain has “.co.uk” cTLD and its content in English, it should also contain the majority of backlinks of “.co.uk”. If most backlinks point to different countries where people don’t speak the language of the website, this may seem a bit suspicious and deserves to be explored.

The image below shows the distribution of a website “.com” written in English, which contains most backlinks from non-English speaking countries with different cTLD.

IP Address Network

With tools such as Spyonweb, you can view the website’s IP network. If there are many spam sites in the network, Google can evaluate it as a group and possibly handicap the site.

But generally, if the IP network doesn’t slow down the loading speed, there should be no problem.

Technical problem

  • Hacked

It is also worth checking whether the site has been hacked by spammers who intend to sell unrelated products on the site. For example, hackers can add untargeted anti-spam pages targeting keywords such as “casino” or adult-related content for which the site might begin to rank.

To find out if there is a problem, you can type site: [sitename.com] [keyword spammy] in Google.

If the site has been hacked, Google will display the message “This site can be hacked” in SERP under the site’s URL. If this is the case, stay away from this site for now. Generally, webmasters correct these problems quickly.

  • Duplicates

No one wants to be associated with a site that simply copies another’s content. This can be quickly verified by typing in google some of the site’s content in quotes like this:

“2-3 sentences from a blog post”

If there are areas other than the one targeted in SERP, it is necessary to study in more detail why there is duplicate content. If these pages have the interdomain canonical tag implemented, everything should be fine, as they give all value to the original content source.


  • cache

Checking the site cache is important to find possible black hat techniques, e.g. cloaking (showing different content to the user and exploration robots). If the pages are not cached correctly, Google cannot read what is there and cannot fully analyze the page.

You can check it by typing “hide:” in front of the page like this:

Cover: exampledomain.com

If the page is not cached at all, you will see the following message and you should keep a close eye on the site to resolve the issues.


Traffic: Traffic Trends

Increasing traffic over time is an important asset of a website. A traffic-free website is like a well-designed building (high statistics, no technical problems, etc.) without any visitors and therefore useless. Traffic evolution is closely related to penalties that are dealt with in more detail in the next section.

  • Penalties

Having a penalty can hurt organic traffic and you may not want to be connected to a penalized website. Usually, a penalty can occur after one of the major updates, such as Panda or Penguin. Google updates its algorithm several times a day, but these are mostly minor updates.

To search for penalties, you can use tools such as SEMrush or Ahrefs.

In the two examples below, the sites were affected by the Panda 4.0 update in 2014. However, the first site has managed to recover its traffic and has since a constant upward trend.


Statistics and metrics

  • Age of the estate

Although the age of the domain is not a direct ranking factor, it may indicate the establishment of the site on the web. The older the domain, the greater the potential for brand recognition and referencing link it can generate. Areas with an online presence of more than 2 years should normally be interesting.
Domain authority

The domain authority’s measurements were invented by Moz and its original purpose was to replace PageRank which is no longer updated. It is important to consider ADs as relative measures, as the numbers can differ considerably from market to market. Therefore, it is recommended to compare websites only in one or more countries. For example, banking websites in the UK will have a different DA than those that focus on dog food in Sweden, although they both rank first among the main keywords.

In general, domain authority above 30 is considered sufficient quality. To check these statistics, you can use the Mozbar Chrome extension.
Confidence flow and quote flow

These metrics were invented by Majestic and are linked to the backlink profile of the site. In general, Trust Flow is an indicator of the quality of backlinks and Citation Flow represents the frequency with which the site is quoted on the web. The best practice is that the TF is equal to or even superior to that of the CF. This means that the majority of purple dots, as can be seen in the image below, should be above the middle line.

If the CF is much higher, e.g. four or five times, it may indicate a large number of poor quality backlinks that are probably worthless.

The Backlink profile consists of high-quality links


To get the most out of the awareness campaign, it is recommended to focus primarily on high-quality, up-to-date websites. While this list serves this purpose, it should be seen as a guide rather than a set of step-by-step actions. For example, if a metric is not sufficient at 100 but the rest of the list is among the best results, the website generally does not deserve to be condemned because of this measure alone. It is always best to make sure that getting a link from a site is justified in relation to the entire SEO strategy.

There is an endless conversation about what is most important, whether it is the subject or the statistics, so feel free to share your thoughts.

Based on the excellent SearchEngineWatch.

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