Writen by Miki Dehevan and Ray Carboni.

Here’s the story. You already work in Search Marketing and you are aware that this elusive thing called Link Building exists, and not only do your clients now know about it, but you actually have to do it for them. Not an easy, or time efficient feat. You probably know by now that not all link building is created equal and that to get the longterm effects you seek, you have to do the dirty work. Today we are going to talk about what to do when you are already in there, elbows deep in the muck of link building, so grab your rubber gloves ladies, we are going in.

squeaky clean link building

Evaluating Websites For Link Building

This is the first line of defense when considering what websites you should reach out to during the “cherry picking” stage of your link excursion. First you want to check out some of the website information to determine whether or not it’s a good fit for your client or product, and whether or not they have enough authority to be worth your time.

Page Rank – Ah, page rank. Like the mythical Yetti, we know it exists out there but who can tell me the migratory patterns and feeding habits? Page rank is the total authority that Google ascribes to a website based on how useful the provided information is and how many people link to it with relevant information. But searchers beware, the mighty Page Rank can be misleading, so please keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times, and do not use this as your sole basis for choosing a site for link building.  Page Rank can change quickly based on a variety of factors, and you want to be sure that the site as a whole is quality, not just their PR7.

Hide Yo Kids, Hide Yo Wife!

Now, Site PR is a little bit different. If Google ranks an inner-lying page, deep within the dark recesses of the Yetti cave, this is a great sign that the website is authoritative and worthwhile. Feel free to feed it peanuts and that stale bag of candy corn you have left over from Halloween.

 Site Age – This is another indicator that the site you are looking at is worth those precious billable link building hours. The age of a site shows longevity in a field, trustworthiness in relation to a reliable source of quality information, and seniority on a topic. If that blog you are looking at just popped up in the last three months, Google sees that as either a micro-blogger, who creates and runs multiple blogs for the sole purpose of SEO-ing the bejesus out of it, or as someone new to the field and less authoritative on the subject.

If you think that a site is worth your efforts to gain a link but aren’t certain, keep your eye on it and give it time. If it is still around 6 months from now and has done some link building of its own then you can take joy in the knowledge that you were right. And then go home and rub it in your wife’s face. If its no longer an active website, then be glad you didn’t request that link to begin with because you would be doing that work all over again to make up for the loss of link juice when the site went down.

In Yo Face! Now stop telling your mother I am worthless.

 Cache Date – This lets you know the last time Google crawled the website, which happens every time the webmaster adds new content (that is, of course, correctly indexed within their own sitemap and linked to from other pages on their website). Regular-to-frequent updates are a good sign and mean that if the site DOES deign you worthy of their coveted links, Google will crawl it promptly, giving you a faster boost in your own rankings.

 Relevance and Content – This is your numero uno, most important factor to determining whether or not you should reach out to a website to request a link. The subject of a website should closely relate to the subject or industry that your client is within. If your client sells bicycles, no point in targeting websites that promote the benefits of filing for bankruptcy, no matter how indebted their deadbeat “occupied” customers are.

"The 99% buy their bikes at Walmart... I mean we stole them before stealing was cool."

Think of relevance like a tree. Your client’s industry is the trunk, and related industries are the branches. Bicycles may be the main topic, but branching off of that are physical fitness, health, cardiovascular health, fitness apparel, and fitness diet plans. These are all items someone who is interested in purchasing those bikes will also be looking at.

 Sites to Avoid:

Spam may be considered a delicacy by the Hawaiian culture, but musubi aside, spam on the internet is bad bad bad. Sites stuffed with Google Adsense exist simply to make money from showing ads, not by creating quality content. Avoid these sites, as they are often short-lived and quickly identified by the search engines as low-authority sites. These will pass on very little link juice, and since the end goal is to fill up that link cup, choose wisely!

Sites with porn or gambling are certainly entertaining, but will post links to absolutely anything. They are more hurtful to your client’s business than helpful unless your client sells assless chaps or poker tables. Or assless chaps AND poker tables. Despite your personal fashion and recreational tastes, these sites devalue your website’s credibility and should be avoided at all costs.


Wee doggy! Backless AND frontless!

Sites with a ton of outbound links are less than desirable as well. A site has only so much link juice to give. If a page has more than 10 links, Google will frown its giant Big Brother frown and give you less juice. Juuuuice give me juiiiice.

 Good Tip: If you have to think twice about whether or not a site is relevant or morally appropriate, pass it up. Your client may not thank you, but they also would never have to know you considered getting a link from HotGuysInTopHats.com.


Stay tuned for Part Two, coming soon!