Common Mistakes SEOs Make During Link Research

In today’s blog, I wanted to talk about how easy it is for beginner SEOs get misled by 3rd party link metrics and ignore the fundamentals of Search Engine Optimization. Keep reading to find out why and how metric-based link research misguide you in your journey of increasing your website’s rankings on Google.

Written by:
Carlos Miskinis

Written by:
Carlos Miskinis

Common Mistakes SEOs Make During Link Research


There’s no question that every single search marketer should have at least a couple SaaS tools in their tool belt that they use to effectively run their SEO campaigns with. From link and competition research software, to link cloaking and tiered web 2.0 property creation programs – they save us hours a day and make us more efficient at what we do. However, by participating in a few search marketing groups I’ve noticed that some people hold the data that’s being spouted by link research software on a pedestal, which causes them to lose the sense of reality and what the search engine really want. Let’s dig into this.


Link Research Tool Data is NOT Google Data

I always try to remind myself and others that Ahrefs, Majestic, Moz or any other link research tool most SEOs use do not match how Google’s core algorithm works. All they can do is try and represent how the search engines judge link quality and relevance. They do this by building and improving their own index and SERP crawl bots, This allowing us to get a better picture on how to tailor our SEO campaigns to reach the most optimal results while spending less money and resources at the same time.

Think Beyond Tool Metrics and Dig Deeper

The criteria in today’s SEO world when it comes to link quality is fairly simple:

“if the Domain Authority, Trust Flow, Citation Flow, Page Authority and URL Rating is above 30…then it must be a good link, right?” Wrong.

Although metrics such as TF & CF can give us a decent understanding of the potential quality of a link source or a backlink, it’s still only a rough picture and a surface estimate that was generated by 3rd party software – not Google, Bing or Yahoo. Despite that, most link vendors and even some experienced SEO veterans still continue to judge backlinks by Page Authority by Moz or Trust Flow by Majestic. This is the reason why I wrote this article – as much as I love all the tools mentioned above we still have to dig deeper to get the full picture if you want your SEO campaigns to perform better!


Practical Things You Can Do To Judge Link Relevance More Efficiently

I want you to whip out one of your favourite link research tools you have. Even the free ones will do for now if you’re on a tight budget. Why? Because the meaning of this exercise is to only engrain 1 important phrase that will not only help you deliver better results for clients, but also make you 2X more efficient at link research compared to SEOs who can’t see past 3rd party metrics.

Link Relevance

Let’s make a few things clear before I explain this. Unlike your favourite link aggregator or research tool, the search engines do not know what DA, PA, TF, CF, DR or UR stand for to get those out of your head for a moment.

Let’s take local SEO as our “field of discussion”. Ask yourself this – how do the search engine algorithms determine whether a business website is worthy of ranking on the top of the 1st page?

Location and Niche relevance. Not Trust Flow.

How does one determine if location and niche relevance is achieved? Since the topic is about backlinks, if all of your inbound links and anchor text are coming from generic websites that are not contextual to the niche or at least the location, you won’t achieve much traction compared to getting links from websites that are related to the 2 factors mentioned above.


Always Aim For What is Natural

Think about how a legitimate website looks like and what backlinks are pointing to it. Compared to all of the “black-hat” SEO websites and forcefully spammed web 2.0 properties that are being penalized after 2 weeks, legitimate websites have:


  1. Steady Link Velocity (unless there’s content virality involved)
  2. Contextual anchor text from websites that have relevant content and link history
  3. Relevant Tier 2 links that are pointing to the web property that’s linking to your website

This is why 3rd party metrics will never give you an accurate estimate on the quality of an inbound link unless you dig deeper and examine the source of your backlinks and determine if they match the 3 criteria displayed above.

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