What is a good link?

As many people with knowledge about SEO know today, not all backlinks are created equal. So, what makes on backlink better than another? A general rule of thumb is that a good link is a link that is useful for the reader. For example, if you’re reading this and want to know how to grow your backlink profile, check out these 7 tactics for link building by Ahrefs. Great, Ahrefs just received a relevant backlink by providing an excellent article that is relevant to the audience on my SEO website.

Now, as you also know, if we’re just talking about giving popularity to a site (to “give juice”), we have to pay attention to a few things.

If DataFirst SEO is looking for good websites to build links from, we review some of these points (non-exhaustive list):

  • Is the site active?
  • Is the content quality?
  • Does the domain have many referring domains?
  • Does the page I want to link to get a good percentage of the site’s internal Pagerank?
  • Is the theme of the page making the link related to the linked page?
  • Is the link contextualized with a properly chosen anchor?
  • Are current indicators such as the Trust flow, the Quotation flow, the keywords positioned, the natural traffic, etc. … are green?
  • Does the site overall have an on-site and off-site qualitative part?
  • And more…

I know that all these questions can be a drag to review. Now, I am quite meticulous, but you will see in the next point that it is better to have a comfortable margin of error in the case of an anomaly.

Natural versus Artificial Backlinks

I distinguish two types of backlinks: natural backlinks and artificial backlinks.

An artificial backlink is a backlink done intentionally, whether it’s buying links, an exchange, or anything else, intentional = artificial.

A natural backlink, meanwhile, is a backlink that you have not planned. It is by the fact of “naturally sourcing” that someone is created (do not talk about SPAM by bots and other exceptions that can be dangerous.).

To test if a backlink is legitimate in a link profile, we can quite look at the construction of this link. Observing the anchor, the site, the content, the logical sense between the two web pages can already identify networks of spammy sites and artificial backlinks. It’s what Google has been doing for years with several other criteria, it uses decision trees to put a backlink in the spam / not spam box.

Now, if we are a little smarter, we can track backlinks in time. We can look for example the number of backlinks created per month, the number of backlinks per domain, the number of anchors repeated … but there is something that I absolutely do not mean, it is the product that generated the so-called backlinks in the context of fighting spam.

Deserve your link!

When a person makes a backlink artificially, the backlink is made whatever the activity of the site generally. Whether you make content, whether you have traffic to your target site or not, you have your backlink.

Conversely, when a person detects the creation of a natural backlink by a third party (as a reminder, it is a backlink that one does not control), this one was generally created because the publisher of the site in question found interesting content, wanted to quote us as an interesting resource, a reference …

How do Search Engines Understand the Difference?

For a search engine like Google or any other antispam algorithm, try to correlate an activity rate of one or more pages on a website and the creation of one or more backlinks a few days or weeks after this activity, is logical, consistent, and can help prove the natural side of the thing. This is transformed into events such as logs.

On the contrary, if your site has no activity, is not active, and regularly you get backlinks from authoritative sites while you do nothing to harvest, there is a problem. Why would you get links if you do not do anything?

The legitimacy of the link, your “excuse”, your justification, is not admissible by an antispam filter in this case. It can then classify a set of events as spam or suspicious. From there, if you accumulate them, it can put you a pressure shot.

Of course, an isolated event will always be less serious than several events one after the other all year. False positives are also things that can be imagined but are already present in the antispam filters.

The hardest thing for a machine is not to get tangled with the brushes, but if you correlate topics, themes, links, anchors, and other things to infer the sequence of events, it’s like injecting global data in a decision tree type of algorithm.


Making backlinks has always been the nerve of the SEO war as I said in the introduction. If you want to make backlinks, you have to pay attention to all that is around the creation of these backlinks, like the anchor, the site, its environment, the theme, etc. but it will be necessary to be suspicious on the mechanisms of learning and crossing data as they develop.

Today or in the future, search engines will come across lots of data to learn what a natural backlink is and what an artificial backlink is.

If you do not do any work on your site and it is not at all active, that it does not have the legitimacy to receive the link because there is nothing to be sourced, it could be your problem tomorrow. Ask yourself the following question: why would this site link me?

A primary solution would be to create activity on and off the site to create this so-called “justification”, but you now know my philosophy, I will always advise advancing a project rather than thinking stupidly to this SEO checklist that 80% of pros continue to follow. With just a lever like content marketing, you can use micro-campaigns to promote your brand, catch natural backlinks, make traffic, make the commitment and segment to the best according to your objectives and your targets.