Your Go-To Backlink Site Quality Checklist

Link building! Where do we start. As a multi-award-winning digital marketing agency that provides link building as part of their SEO services as well as solo campaigns, it’s safe to say that we’ve tried and tested numerous different industry ‘hacks’, ‘tricks’, and tips to help us develop what we now class as our leading back link quality checklist. With a rising number of businesses wanting to improve their backlink quality, we reached out to the agencies Head Of Outreach, James, to uncover more about the process him and his team follow when it comes to link building for our clients.


Table Of Contents

  • Website Relevancy
  • Metrics To Consider
  • Website Traffic
  • Ahrefs Domain Rating (DR)
  • Majestic Trust Flow (TF)
  • Link Research Tool Trust
  • Watch Out For Site Manipulation
  • Keyword Volume & Variety
  • How To Identify Link Farms & PBNS



1. Website Relevancy

Starting from the very beginning, the first factor the team consider is relevancy meaning that the website in question must be relevant to our client’s website or have at least one relevant page in the website. For example, a finance article could be published on either a finance-related website or a news website that features a section specific to the finance industry.


2. Metrics To Consider

Here at Absolute Digital Media, we utilise a wide range of leading industry tools and metrics to determine the quality of a website. Semrush and Ahrefs traffic, Domain Rating (DR), Trust Flow (TF) and Link Research Tools Trust Domain are just some of the few we rely on to help us identify high-quality websites.

The reason we utilise such a range of tools is because some websites, such as link farms, manipulate their metrics making them appear higher than they really are. Using these tools enables us to effectively fish out those that do, ensuring we deliver on our promise.


3. Website Traffic

Up next, we review the traffic of said website to understand its current performance. It’s important to ensure the traffic of the website is stable and not experiencing a decline.

For example, in the screenshot below, we can see that the traffic is experiencing an upwards trend meaning that it would be suitable to use.


website traffic


The following screenshot, however, is in decline. As a rule of thumb, we would advise not publishing an article on this website until it has fully recovered.


website traffic


Ahrefs Domain Rating (DR)

Importantly, we use a minimum DR of 40+ for all our link placements. This is because many of the websites that showcase a DR of 40 or above are genuine, providing a solid source of authority to our client’s websites.


ahrefs domain rating


4. Majestic Trust Flow (TF)

Within our link building campaigns, we aim for a minimum 15 Trust Flow per website. Said website must also rank for the relevant industry to benefit our clients’ own websites performance. Reviewing the trust flow of any website helps us to understand whether it has a trustworthy backlink profile – just like the name suggests. A site with a trust flow above 15 and ranks for the relevant industry showcases that most of the links on the website are high-quality, helping to provide further authority to our client’s website.


majestic trust flow



5. Link Research Tool Trust

The Link Research Tool Trust is another handy tool that can be used to identify whether a website is a trustworthy enough source for your link.


link research tool trust


6. Watch Out For Site Manipulation

Although site manipulation is rare, it’s not unheard of. We’ve included an example of a website below that has been manipulated so you can make better informed decisions when it comes to your own or a client’s link building campaign.

This website (that shall not be named) has a site page dedicated to celebrities’ net worth however the website itself is not related to anything celebrity focused. This leads to high-ranking keywords and search volumes, enhancing the sites metrics on tools such as Ahrefs.

Top tip: It’s also possible to identify whether a website has been manipulated by the number of backlinks it has required over a short period of times. Sites that earn hundreds of thousands of backlinks within a short amount of time are likely to be link farms.


site manipulation


mike tyson net worth


site manipulation


7. Keyword Volume & Variety

We double check the keywords of every website we post on to ensure no suspicious activity is being carried out. For example, a website may have high ranking keywords such as ‘net worth’ as highlight in the above screenshot. However, you may also identify keywords that are completely irrelevant to the site in question. This often means that they are sharing content from across multiple industries, which could also be a nod towards the site being a link farm. To help prevent this, we also review whether the keywords of said website are increasing or experienced a recent rise of keywords within the top ten.


keyword volume and variety


8. How To Identify Link Farms & PBNS

Even though we’ve mentioned link farms a few times in this post, it’s important to know what they are and how to identify one. Essentially, a link farm is a website that has been set up purely for providing backlinks. Whilst not all link farms look the same, they will carry the same goal. Luckily, they can be relatively easy to detect. Simply follow the checks we’ve listed above.

A further way to identify a link farm if you are still unsure is by looking at the homepage. If said website features headings for pages in each industry and a littered with the consistent posting of articles, this could be a red flag. Most of these websites will also feature all the categories and an archive on a side bar. You must avoid these at all costs as they will not be beneficial to your website as a result of the volume of links they are publishing each day.

PBNs also known as ‘private blogging networks’ can also be easily detected as they often feature the same format and are linked to one another. One way to check this is to identify whether there is an ‘our partners’ section on the website whereby the websites are also owned by them.


When it comes to link building, link farms and PBNs are relatively easy to detect once you understand what elements of the website to look out for. However, securing high quality backlinks for your website requires a lot of time, patience and the utilisation of industry-leading tools to ensure you are positioning your website in the best possible way.

For more information or to chat about a link building opportunity, get in touch with a member of our friendly expert team today on 0800 088 6000.

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