When you’re evaluating a website for SEO, or if you’re looking at a website as a potential link partner, or from the view of a merchant on an affiliate network, you need to try to work out how successful that website. From an affiliate network’s point of view there’s not point wasting time with a website if it has no traffic. Equally, you don’t want to be building links on websites that have no power.
Yet, it’s not as easy as it first appears to gauge the success of a website.
Sure, you have the usual tells such as Google PageRank, domain age, number of backlinks indexed by Google and, if you want to waste five minutes, its Alexa ranking. But all of these could be deceiving.
For example, just because a website has a low Google PR, or even no PR at all, it doesn’t mean it’s not hugely successful. Google has been known to throw around PR penalties to website guilty of certain infractions on its rules, such as link selling. This means you could dismiss a website that has no PR, when it in fact is one of the most powerful websites out there.
Searching for backlinks in Google can be equally misleading as Google shows only a fraction of the links it really has indexed. Yahoo’s Site Explorer shows more, but that takes a while to update and often shows links that are no longer in existence.
So, short of actually viewing the Google Analytics for a website, how can you tell if it really is successful online and just playing possum with its PR?
Here are some tips you could try:
- Google the website name, with the TLD. This will show you websites that have mentioned it, and have most likely linked to it. Google may be coy with its backlinks, but it’s an open book with rankings.
- Google post titles used on the blog – if they show up on the first page of Google, the website is being indexed and ranked well.
- Google keywords that the website is optimising for – this will tell you how successful the website is for SEO, and is after all what backlinks are all about anyway – rankings.
The golden rule is that you shouldn’t assume that a website is low ranking with low traffic levels just because it appears to have no Google PR or backlinks.