If you are starting a link building campaign the first question jumps to your mind is how to evaluate the quality and eventually the impact of each link on your ranking, the right evaluation will help you to decide how much efforts is it worth putting to acquire that link.
Back in the day Google used to provide a metric called PageRank (a metric that reflects your website popularity on the web based on the number of quality links pointing back to it), it was publicly available to everyone and ranges from 0 to 10, obviously 10 refers to a very strong website which makes it high quality link for SEOs.
PageRank used to be available as a green bar in Google's tool bar, Google stopped supporting that feature in 2016 leaving SEOs running in the dark looking for quick ways to evaluate the quality of their links. Many companies found an opportunity in that and started crawling the web to gather link data to sell it as a service.
On a side note, Pagerank is still part of Google's ranking algorithm but it is not available anymore for the public.
PageRank alternatives that came to fill the gap for the hidden Google's Pagerank:
Since Google stopped showing page rank publicly many third party link crawlers started offering their own version of page rank:
- MOZ offers DA (domain authority) and PA (page authority) which become very popular metrics among link traders.
- Majestic's link quality metrics are TF (trust flow) and CF (citation flow)
- Ahrefs link quality metrics are DR (domain rating) and UR (URL rating)
- SEMrush's link quality metrics are Domains Score, Trust Score and Authority Score
But the big question that faced link builders is can I trust those metrics? the metrics above work well for highly trusted websites like cnn.com but they are easy to manipulate by spammer, there are many websites with a DA of 50 but yet they are not even indexed by Google, so what is really the best Pagerank alternative?
The best page rank alternative which is even better that page rank is organic traffic data:
The answer is simply organic traffic and the number of keywords the domain is ranking for in Google, if Google is happy with a website's:
- Link profile
- Technical elements like website speed
They will simply rank it for more keywords and send it more traffic, and thankfully this data is available for any domain using the same tools that are scoring the link profile (SEOmoz, SEMrush and Ahrefs), my favorite tool for that is SEMrush:
The analysis above shows that this domain gets 209 desktop visits/month and ranks for 527 keywords, not really that good but better than a DA 100 domains with 0 traffic.
Interestingly enough link suppliers like TheHoth finally got that point and started offering links based on traffic (I am not encouraging buying links here):
You can see that links with minimum high traffic (1000 visits/month) worth twice as much as domains with minimum DA which is 10.
Link metrics that are not offered by Google are good to use for some competition analysis but when it comes to link acquisition, traffic and number of organic keywords must be the two metrics that should be used to evaluate the value of that link.