seo target

How to determine if a site is high-quality for SEO

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Those of us working on search engine optimisation are always on the look-out for high-quality sites that are relevant to a client’s business and might be useful for guest blogging opportunities, article submissions or (occasionally) simply a directory listing. But just what is the best way to determine whether a site is high-quality or not.


There are plenty of factors that contribute to a site being high-quality – some of them are:


  • Google Page Rank (even though this can be out of date)
  • Page Authority / Domain Authority (from Moz)
  • Number of incoming links
  • Number of outgoing links
  • Total number of links
  • Alexa Traffic Rank
  • Domain Age



And these are all well-worth checking – this can be done manually (if you are a masochist) but is quicker and easier to do with one of the many useful SEO tools out there such as SEO Spyglass. But even checking these will not tell you the whole story.


Statistics are no substitute for actually taking a good look at the site and making a human assessment of it. SEO is, after all, simply a form of marketing and if you were involved in traditional marketing or advertising wouldn’t you want to check out any magazine or other publication that you were thinking of advertising in. Even if you could have an ad, review, recommendation or content included for free you would still want to know that the publication was reputable and would not damage a client’s reputation. For paid ads it would be even more important to know exactly what type of magazine the advert was appearing in. So it shouldn’t be any different on the internet, but somehow internet marketing has evolved so far using a very different approach.


Maybe because SEO is still a relatively new field, some clients (and many of these are large companies) only seem interested in their results and not in the long term effect on their reputation. Maybe, because not all clients understand SEO, they are not interested in the details. But if a website has links from predominantly low-quality directories then this will eventually lead to down-valuing of those links and a consequent fall in rankings. A website may not be actually penalised by the search engines as such but the effect of the down-grading of a majority of links will have an equivalent effect.


So, whether you are doing SEO for your own company or for a client, always check out any site from which you plan to obtain a link and make sure it is high-quality. Don’t rely only on the statistics you can obtain from an SEO tool and definitely don’t use only Page Rank as the deciding factor. Instead review potential sites for the quality of the writing, design, frequency of updates, inter-action with others on social media etc.


Another very quick way of determining site quality is to search for a standard term and then check the validity of the results:


  • In business directories check whether the results of your search are accurate, relevant and don’t contain duplicates


  • In article directories read a few articles in different categories and check whether they are well-written and actually tell you something of value


  • On blogs check out the quality of the writing and also how frequently the blog is updated.


And remember that the harder it is to get a directory listing, article inclusion, or a guest blog posted, the more likely it is that the quality of the site is high and any link obtained will be worth the effort.



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