Any link that sends you traffic could be seen as a good link, but what are quality links, what are good links and what are crap links, when it comes to improving the actual ranking of your own pages in Google SERPS?
First, you need to be aware that the quality of a link (that effects a ranking improvement for your own site in Google) is dependant on the page and site it is on. Is the site trusted, is the page trusted, is the page in Google’s index at all, how many links point to the actual page your link is on, are people actually going to click this link (that in itself is a good measure of the quality of a link!)?
Most importantly, it’s all about the page the link is on. Just because you get a link on a high PR domain does not automatically make that a good link. It’s the page you need to be interested in.
You should have a mixture of focused anchor text links, unfocused anchor text links and URL citations (www.hobo-web.co.uk etc) in your link profile to ensure long standing rankings (ie a natural link profile).
What follows is my general rule of thumb:
- Your internal links! Not THE most important links, but the best place to start. Get your site in order before you get links. Google loves a good site structure with plenty of text links pointing to each page on your site. I prefer a minimal sitewide navigation and a lot of in content links if you have a lot of useful content, and I consider all the time if Google is only counting the first link on a page. Don’t forget to link to your important pages often – ENSURE your get them into Google’s index in the first place.
- Links on mainstream news sites, and other types of authority sites – or in short, links from Brands – the holy grail in my opinion – promotion, old style. Purely because they are trusted and have a lot of links to them.
- Related industry site (the aim of seo, and excellent quality, but depends on the site, niche and the type of link – can be very useful) – usually, they too have a lot of links.
- Link on a high PR old style aged trusted page – like a university resource page – excellent if you can get the webmaster to link to you
- Links from unrelated sites (depends on the site and the type of link – can be very useful for improving your Google ranking & PR)
- Link on a blog post (good, dependant on the site, but easily deteriorates over time as a post is gobbled up in sometimes very crap site architecture – a link (in the actual post, not the comments) on the Hobo blog however is a decent link, I’ve tested it, and can be as valuable as 2-3 TPR points.
Dofollow Blog Comments (low quality in terms of PR and trust transference, decent anchor text transference if you can get it)- PENALTY MATERIAL in 2012
- Social media site links (opinion, I think these are pretty low quality, but they do get your page out there and of course, it depends on wether it’s a popular piece or not – at any rate, it’s a very temporal effect and it looks like what you end up with is nothing less than a directory style and weighted link from the actual social media site)
Site wide links & blogrolls (generally low quality in terms of anchor text transferrance – used to be good for PR transference but not nearly as effective as it used to be)PENALTY MATERIAL in 2012 Article submission sites – dependant on the quality and syndication exposure of the site in question, can be useful but usually low quality. Syndicating to these sites can have some cool effects, for now.PENALTY MATERIAL in 2012 Directory Links (low quality, perhaps useful when you have a weight of links – depends on the quality of the directory) PENALTY MATERIAL in 2012 Forum Signatures (generally low quality, dependant on page and forum, perhaps dependant on number of links too) PENALTY MATERIAL in 2012
- Link on a useful links page (very low quality)
- Reciprocal link on a links page (very very low quality)
- Nofollowed links (like those on most blog comments – useless (though can be used to generate traffic if you link to a popular blog post or comment on one)
The above is a general rule of thumb I think and of course based on my experience – some people will obviously agree or disagree based on their experiences. As with a lot of seo, identifying good links is a very time consuming task – Google is always moving the goalposts.
Remember too though links need to be complimented by well structured title tags, good content, and a good site architecture.
For me, another rule of thumb is the easier a link is to get, the LESS quality it is and you won’t get a better links than from a REAL site.