Knowing how to determine which websites are authoritative and which websites are not is one of the most essential parts of link building. By checking the six metrics outlined in this chapter, you will know for certain whether or not the sites linking to you are authoritative or not.

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White Hat Sites


These metrics help us to see websites how Google sees them. If a website has relevant organic keywords, organic traffic, and good content, even if the design is poor, Google will like it. Metrics like Domain Authority (DA) and (Domain Rating) are a good indicator of what a good website is, but they don’t tell the full story. If you want to know whether a website is authoritative or not, check each of the below metrics. If you’re planning on hiring out a link building agency, make sure that they qualify their sites before posting links to them.


Google bots crawl the web to index all of the websites on the internet. However, there are many websites on the internet but never get crawled by Google and will not show up in Google search results. There are a couple of reasons why a site could be live on the internet and not be seen by Google, but the main reason is a tag called “NoIndex.” This is an HTML code placed in the head of the website that tells Google not to crawl the page. If you have a link coming from a page that is NoIndexed, the link will do absolutely nothing for your website because Google will not be able to see the link at all.

Secondly, it is important to make sure that the site linking to you is indexed by Google and indexed regularly. The larger a website is and the more monthly visitors it has, the more regularly Google will be indexing that site. If you post an article on a site that is indexed regularly with a link pointing back to your website your rankings will start to improve sooner than if you were to post an article to a site that is not indexed regularly.


You want backlinks that will pass authority. We will focus on the difference between a normal link (we will refer to this as a “DoFollow link”) and a NoFollow link. A link is categorized by the HTML code on the backend. The code rel=“nofollow” tells Google that no authority should be passed onto this link.

Most websites will receive more NoFollow links organically than DoFollow links which is why if you are putting time and money into building links back to your website, you want DoFollow links.

The easiest way to know if a website lets Google follow the links that they post is to get the NoFollow plugin. This extension will show you a red dotted box around every link that has a NoFollow tag. Before you start building links from a website, make sure the links will be DoFollow.


Every website that is indexed by Google and has content should be ranking for keywords organically. To find an authoritative website you have to first make sure they are ranking for organic keywords and second make sure those keywords are relevant. Here is an example of how to do that; If you are looking at a business website, check to make sure their organic keywords are within the business niche. If you see keywords for things like gambling, porn, or even keywords in a different niche like home and family, the website is most likely not an authoritative one. Google prioritizes relevance over almost anything so if a site’s organic keywords aren’t relevant, Google will not see that site as authoritative.


Organic traffic is another important metric to check for. If a site has high monthly organic traffic (500 or more for example) that means Google likes the site. This also shows that people like the website because they are going to it regularly to read the content. If a site has little or no organic traffic, it is a good indicator that Google doesn’t like that website.


Private Blog Networks or PBNs came around as a way to cheat Google’s system. A PBN is a group of websites that were all created solely for link building. Google has heavy regulations around PBNs and is quick to penalize anyone receiving links from PBNs. One way to know if a website is a PBN is if you see multiple sites that are designed almost identically. Besides that, checking for organic keywords and organic traffic should rule out all PBNs.


Like we mentioned in chapter 2, make sure that you’re not paying websites to get your link live. If you need a refresher on this chapter jump back to chapter 2 to review it.