You heard me saying numerous times that you can find new link building opportunities by spying competitors. But are all the backlinks of your competitors good?


Just because they are ranking higher than you in Google, it doesn’t necessarily mean that all their backlinks are good.

The truth is that only some of their links are worth replicating.

For any website, including your competitors, it’s impossible to have only good and quality backlinks.

Therefore, once you’ve found an opportunity to get a new link, you first have to analyze if the link from that website will be good for your SEO.

You can’t afford to build bad links that you’ll later have to disavow. After all, what’s the point of wasting your time and risk getting a penalty?!

Enough with the introduction, let’s jump into the actionable tips that will help you understand how valuable a website is and if a link from it will help you achieve better rankings in Google.

Analyze the Quality of a Website

There are billions of websites out there, so no matter in what niche you are, you can find websites that are willing to link to you. Hence why, you can be picky and only choose the ones that are good and will have a positive impact on your SEO.

Below, you’ll find the most important metrics to check to determine if a website is good or bad.

1. Check if the Website is Indexed by Google.

If you are building backlinks for SEO, it’s important that all your links come from websites that are not penalized by search engines.

One way to determine if a website was severely penalized is to check if it’s indexed in Google.
A quick way to test this is to use the following search query in Google: . Replace “” with the URL of the site you are checking.

SEOPtimer Indexing

Here’s an example of a website penalized and removed from Google’s search results:

De-indexed Site

2. Check if the Website is Ranking for its Own Name

In some cases, you can find if a Google algorithm update has penalized website or if it has a low authority, by searching the name of the domain in Google.

If the site is not ranking in the first position for its own name, there’s a risk that website is not very reputable in Google’s eyes.

If the site is nowhere on the first page, without a doubt, a link from that website will not have any good impact on your SEO.

Let me show you some examples. Here’s the result Google returns for “Thrive Internet Marketing Agency”.

Thrive Internet Marketing

In some cases, it’s best to run the search without the space between the words.

Here’s an example of a site that’s not ranking for its name. The website is

Site Not Ranking for Branded Term.

The website is nowhere to be found on the first page, indicating that it doesn’t have much authority.

If you check the metrics for this site, you’ll also notice that all of them indicate that the site is not very good.

The fact that the website is not ranking for its own name and has poor SEO metrics, doesn’t necessarily mean that it was penalized.

However, it certainly tells that it would be bad to have a link from such a website.

3. Check How Often the Site Publishes New Content

If the website you are testing has passed the above two steps, you are on the right track, and you might have found a good site to get a link.

However, there are a few other things you should check before taking a decision.

Because there are so many websites on the internet, it sometimes happens that their webmasters will abandon some of them.

You can check the blog of the website you are checking and see how frequently they are publishing new content. Whether if they post one time per week or every two weeks, that’s a good sign.

SEOptimer Blog Publishing Frequency


SEOptimer Blog Publishing Frequency

SEOptimer for example publishes multiple blogs a month.

An active blog posting schedule like SEOptimer's is a sign that the site invests in it's SEO and Content Marketing making them a good option for a backlink.

On the other hand, if the website has not published anything new for more than six months, the site is probably abandoned, so it’s not worth your time.

4. Analyze How Readers Engage With Their Posts

If you are going to build a link by guest blogging, you should also be interested how active is the audience of the site you are checking.

Some of their readers might leave a comment on their website while some are only interacting with social media.

Either way, an active audience can be a signal that the website is good, and might even send some referring traffic to you.

5. Is the Website Related to Yours?

If you want to get a backlink from a website, the content of that site has to be related to yours.

6. Check the SEO Metrics

Domain Strength

Most of the time, you can start to analyze the quality of a website, by checking the SEO metrics.

These are some of the most important metrics to check:

  • Domain Strength - A website with a Domain Strength above 20 is often good and can help you with SEO.
  • Backlink status - Look at how the site you are checking is linking to third party websites. Some sites will only link with nofollow, making the link  less useful for SEO purposes.

If after analyzing all the above, the website has passed your rigorous checks, it means that you’ve found a good website, and you can try to get a backlink from it.

Now it’s time to analyze your existing backlinks with SEOptimer and then find new link building opportunities by spying your competitors.