4 Metrics People Use for Weighing a Link Prospect That Don’t Mean a Thing

Habits are hard to break, and when it comes to Search Engine Optimization, it becomes even harder to give up a practice or theory that you’ve been using for years.

This is especially true in case of part-timers. They will read the SEO experts discouraging a particular tactic, they will see the search engine representatives disapproving some myth, and they will see an update taking down websites involved in a particular practice, but it usually takes a penalty to make them pull out their head from the sand.

In fact, some seasoned professionals are also guilty of doing the same, mainly because they don’t want to fix if it is not broken.

The problem is… if you continue to walk on thin ice, you are taking a huge risk with your website. Therefore, it is important to keep reviewing your strategies and tactics from time to time, to make sure that you are not heading towards damages beyond repair.

Let’s read about the four common mistakes people make when evaluating a link prospect or a link building tactic.

  1. PR:
    The first one is of course the deal old Page Rank. Page Rank has been the holy grail of link building for almost a decade (and it continues to be one of the most commonly used metrics). Many will vouch for the importance of Page Rank, and I am not about to declare that Page Rank doesn’t mean a thing, still you shouldn’t choose your link targets solely on the basis of Page Rank.

    Remember you have got no way to see the current Page Rank for a website. In order to discourage the obsession with Page Rank, Google has stopped updating the tool bar on consistent basis, so at any given point of time, you might be looking at PR which is not true.
    You might snub an opportunity because it shows a PR 1, but you never know if the site actually holds a PR 3 or more (which will be reflected in the next update). In addition to that, a couple of good inbound links will result in a PR 3 for the site homepage, but that is far from being a link worth investing a lot of time or efforts.

  2. Quantity:
    People usually prefer a link building tactic that offers quantity instead of quality. That’s precisely the reason why we have so many people still going for directory submissions, article marketing, blog commenting, and the likes.
    They won’t really embrace a more useful method like guest posting just because the notion of writing an entire post for the sake of one single link doesn’t bode well with the mind frame, which has resulted from years of “directory submissions”.

    link prospect
    Photo Credit: James Harrison Jr.
  3. Difficulty Level:
    Even those who decide to give quality based link building methods a try, still look for relatively easy and straightforward options.
    Let’s take the example of guest blogging, when targeting blogs for guest posting, they will go for blogs with relaxed editorial guidelines. Remember that a link which is easy to get will be obtained by a majority of your competitors, but the SERPs will be decided upon those links which are not easily achievable.
  4. Norm:
    This one is a result of herd mentality. Some SEO guys will simply discard a link prospect or a link building method just because it is not a widespread method, even more so if it is not employed by some of their highly ranked competitors.
    They will wait for a method to get prevalent with a detailed step by step guide being laid out. Needless to say, having this approach is not going to take you anywhere.
Saba Mushtaq is a contributing writer for SEO Chicago, IL. If you are looking for SEO or PPC services, you can visit her website to find more information.

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5 thoughts on “4 Metrics People Use for Weighing a Link Prospect That Don’t Mean a Thing

  1. Tommy Landry says:

    Thanks for the insightful article.

    These are great points, but they raise an immediate question in my mind – what are the tactics that you recommend we DO use to evaluate potential backlinks?

    Even with over a decade of experience in SEO, I still use PageRank as a benchmark, because it gives me something to go on. Basically, I avoid anything with a PR of <3, and the odds are a 5 or 6 PR won't drop off a cliff before the next toolbar update.

    And this raises one more question – what to do about existing backlinks if a site falls off after you go live? In a Post-Penguin world, these are not inconsequential issues.


  2. Arthur says:

    So, it’s not that these things don’t mean a thing, it’s more like they are not everything 🙂

    Quantity is interesting. While I find the idea of getting large number of links fast artificially wrong on every level, Mat Cutts says that PR (it still has some value) flows from EACH link, even if there are multiple on the page.

    Plus, you need a diversity of links. Lots of people say that some websites are punished for having only 1 type of links.

    Again, I don’t advise getting lots of links. It’s just something to keep in mind.

  3. Saba Mushtaq says:

    @ Tommy

    As I said

    “I am not about to declare that Page Rank doesn’t mean a thing, still you shouldn’t choose your link targets solely on the basis of Page Rank”.

    I was actually pointing at the obsession with the Page Rank. Take the example of evaluating a guest blogging opportunity … A newly launched blog which is directly relevant to your niche might not be having a Page Rank whatsoever, but it is still a prospect worth going for, if you can see that the blogger is dedicated to make it big. In fact that might be the best time to get a couple of guest posts on that blog.

    @ Arthur

    I agree, but diversity in the links can come only with a diverse approach towards link building, instead of sticking to those “classic” link building myths and methods. Also, the definition for “lots of links” will vary from one expert to another and from one website to the next one. But it’s better to move towards the top rankings in a slow but steady manner, instead of gambling with a lot of links and getting a penalty.

  4. Tommy Landry says:

    Thanks for the thoughtful response. You actually changed my mind about how I evaluate brand new blogs.

    What is your opinion / belief about whether Google sandboxes new blogs until they prove they have staying power? I’ve seen blogs flounder for 6 months then start taking off out of nowhere. If this is a common practice by Google, I’d want to wait a few months to get featured on any new blogs.

    Penguin has many of us operating more risk averse than ever, so this is an important issue!

  5. David says:

    This is simple and powerful tips. Now a days people are keep on submitting directories and articles to show the quantity not a quality links. I always believe that one quality links will help website to improve rank well in search engine not quantity.

    Blog commenting is one of the good link building strategy!

    Please share with us if you have any idea how to find quality directories.

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