Not All Links Are Equal: Who’s Pointing To Your Site?

Any firm that’s invested effort in search engine optimization (SEO) knows the importance of getting related websites to link to your site. A link from an outside source to your firm’s site is like a vote of confidence, and most sites that rank well on Google have hundreds of inbound links from reputable sources. Does this mean you should hope anyone would link to you? Not quite. Some links may do more than harm than good and could even lead to your firm’s removal from search results!

Relevant VS. Irrelevant Link

One thing you’ll always want to watch is what type of sites you’re getting inbound links from. For example, a Social Security disability attorney may hope that many organizations that serve people with autism links to her site. This link would make sense, as people in the autism community would likely need help applying for disability benefits. What wouldn’t make sense, however, is a bunch of links from organic food companies. There’s no connection between organic produce and Social Security legal assistance, so Google would flag these connections as suspicious.

Site Authority

Another factor that matters when receiving links is how authoritative a website is. Most SEOs use Domain Authority (DA) to gauge website reputation. DA ranks websites from 1-100 based on how helpful the content is for its users, how well known the brand is, how many links the domain has from other resources, etc. The higher a website’s domain authority, the more a link will actually help you rank well in SERPs. For example, a PI firm may receive 10 links from website with a DA of 1 and not see any change in search ranking at all. On the other hand, if the same firm received just one link from a reputable auto manufacturer with a DA of 60, the entire website may rank slightly higher on Google.

Spammy Links

The last thing you want is spam pointing to you. This is much worse than irrelevant links—nobody wants to be associated with a spammy and virus-ridden website. The good news is Google is pretty good at telling when a spammy link wasn’t in your control. For example, once your website has over 100 pages of content it’ll be nearly impossible to stop low-quality websites from linking to you. What’ll be important is making sure you don’t try to manually build these connections yourself through link building.

How Do I Even Track My Links?

You can do this for free on Google Search Console, or on many third-party SEO software (at a cost). If you have access to Google Search Console, you can even ask Google to ignore spammy links or inbound links that are hurting your rankings. You should be very careful if you ever do this, as if you remove the wrong link your site’s traffic may drop dramatically. It’s really only a last resort if the domain’s webmaster is ignoring your requests.

Are your site’s inbound links feeling overwhelming? Don’t worry too much about them. Even if you have some spammy links, Google likely knows it’s not your fault. So long as you follow SEO best practices when you upload content and reach out to organizations for an inbound link, your firm should be fine.