The importance of usability and trust in link-building

One of the biggest dangers when prospecting for potential backlinks is to follow a purely metric-driven approach. There are too many sites that confuse users. Some sites contain so many ads that it is difficult to discern an ad from an actual internal (or external) link. Others contain broken links, broken images, and even dummy text. The danger is when you associate your site with a site that the user clearly cannot trust.

The first thing is to look at every link acquisition from the user. Would you click on the link if you were the client? We don’t look for backlinks in isolation. We want the link equity for search, but we also want visitors for potential sales. How do we identify sites that we can expect users to trust?

First, go through the standard process of checking and analyzing metrics. Look for your usual red flags and only proceed if you would do so normally.

Next, look at the content. There is a big difference when content is written by a native English speaker. Bad writing is everywhere, even on big sites, but that doesn’t mean we need to get links from these sites.

Look through the ads you see on the site. What you want is good site design that puts focus on the content. The advertising should not be intrusive and should not look like the content or vice versa.


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