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There are many different kind of link acquisition tactics that you can integrate into your overall SEO strategy at any given time. Some of them are easy and some of them are hard. In my experience, the hardest links to obtain always provide the most value in terms of pushing rankings and also driving qualified traffic to your website.

In my post today, I want to talk about the six characteristics of an authoritative link. When you need to build links that pack the most authority, I highly recommend you run through each of these characteristics before you spend time pursuing the opportunity.

1. Does The Website Provide Value?

When evaluating a website that you’d like to secure a link from, it is important to make sure that the website actually provides value to their visitors. Getting a link from a made for Adsense or a thin affiliate site isn’t going to provide you with much value at the end of the day. Yes, it is still a link, but that link could end up hurting you down the road as the search engines adjust their alogrithms, so it’s probably best to steer clear.

2. Does The Website Have Quality Inbound Links?

I don’t know that there’s really much to stay here as the heading is pretty straightforward. Before pursuing a link from a site that you feel is authoritative, it is best if you take a peek into their backlink portfolio. They may have great domain authority, but is it from paid links or other linking schemes? The last thing you want to do is secure a link from a site that will be leveled by the next algo update.

3. Does The Website Have Quality Outbound Links?

In addition to looking into the website’s inbound links, you should be looking at their outbound links. If the website links to other external websites, are they related to their website? Or do they point to sites in spammy verticals like pills, porn, or casinos? You should also be weary of outbound links to very low quality sites. If you don’t do your homework and you get a link along side some of these shady links, the search engines could associate your site with theirs, thus bringing a potential penalty.

4. Is The Website Healthy?

The next thing you need to look at is the health of the website. When was the last time it was crawled? When was the last piece of content published? Do they have an active blog? Is there site completely indexed in the major search engines? Do they have page rank? How about mozrank? These are just some of the things that you should analyze to determine site health.

5. Does The Website Get Traffic?

This is probably my favorite characteristic, mostly because I aim to acquire links that not only help me rank better in the search engines, but that drive qualified traffic that can bring leads and sales as well. Since you don’t have access to their analytics, your best chances of determining whether the site gets traffic is by looking at Google Ad Planner and Compete data.

6. Do People Engage With The Website’s Content?

Lastly, do real humans engage with the sites content? Are they getting comments on their blog posts? More than one? 🙂 What do their social shares look like? What networks get the most shares? If real people are engaging with their content, there is a high probability that the site is quality, the content is quality, and the link will be quality as well.

I can promise you this, if you run through these six characteristics before attempting to acquire a link you feel might be authoritative, that the link you secure will be way more valuable than building a ton of low quality links.

Are there any other characteristics of obtaining authoritative links that you feel I’ve left out? If so, please share in the comments section below.