How to Tell If a Link Is Good or Bad

Not all backlinks are created equal. You will want to review backlink quality either when looking to build new links or when doing a backlink audit of already existing backlinks.

How To Check Manually

You can do this manually by looking at the website that you’d like to build a link on. Do they have any of the following issues?

  • There are many ads on the site
  • There are multiple pop-ups that are irritating
  • The site contains information on gambling
  • The site contains pornographic material
  • The site looks like it may have been hacked

Here’s an example of a site that has a poor user experience because it has way too many ads showing at one time.


If you see any of these issues, I’d avoid that site. You can also use tools to help you decide if you should pursue building a link on a specific site or not.

How To Check Using a Tool


There are many tools you can use to get a general idea if a link is good or bad. One of these tools is called SEMRush.

Since the quality of backlinks plays an important role in SEO, you’ll want to use SEMRush’s Trust Score to understand which link prospects will be more or less beneficial to acquire. Keep in mind the Trust Score is not 100% accurate. It’s just a score and only to be used as a guide.

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Step 1 – Open an account at SEMRush
Step 2 – Click on “Domain Analytics”, then “Backlinks”
Step 3 – Enter the website address (such as a competitors website)
Step 4 – Click “Search”
Step 5 – View the “Trust Score” column

After you hit “Search”, at the bottom of the screen you’ll see a list of backlinks that are pointing the website address that you entered.

The Trust Score measures the trustworthiness of a webpage or domain on a scale of 1 to 100. If the Trust Score is high, that is a good thing. It could mean that backlink is a good one to pursue. If the Trust Score is low it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a bad link but it could be an indicator that the link is not worth much or possibly spammy.



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