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11 Criteria for Choosing a Website to Target for Link Building

Search engines use links to websites as online recommendations. The more recommendations a website has, the more authority it should have. Link building & authority building are SEO tactics that can be time consuming and frustrating as it takes time to see any results. You may wonder which sites you should be spending time getting links from, and you may ask yourself how many links should you have or should be building regularly.

You should strive for anywhere between 5 and 20 natural links EACH Month. If you are able to get 20 a month to greatly relevant sites, you are doing an amazing job.

So, what types of websites should you be getting those links from?

Here are 11 criteria on how to target the right website for your link building effort:

  1. Is the website talking about your product or service?
    • You want to choose a website that closely relates to your product or service. A good indication is if it uses the same keywords you are using on our own website.
  2. How closely is a website related to your business?
    • See the relevancy chart below; the closer you can get to your product the better, but even if it’s only somewhat related and you have an opportunity to get a link, DO IT!

      authority building for car dealerships

  3. Is the content written by a real person?
    • Quality content is important, and more of it is better. But watch out for websites that churn out articles or information for the sole purpose of inserting as many keywords as possible.
  4. Is the site an association, group, supplier, or forum?
    • Find a website appropriate to your business. For example, if you own a car dealership, consider offering your specialized expertise to an automotive forum. Also watch for websites that mention your product or service in a positive light, as they may be more receptive to your link-building efforts.
  5.  Does the website have contact information and a brick-and-mortar address?
    • These are good indicators that a website is a legitimate operation and not something that could dissolve overnight.
  6. Does the website have recent blog posts?
    • A website with an active blog is a boon. Look for sites that have had AT LEAST one post within the last year.
  7. Avoid websites that reek of spam.
    • Watch out for content that has more keywords than content or more ads than content. A skillful spam site can be difficult to spot. If you are even questioning it, it’s probably a bad idea to obtain a link from such a site.
  8. Is it properly laid out?
    • Look at a website’s overall layout – does it look professionally done?
  9. Is the navigation user-friendly?
    • A properly designed website will command more authority when it comes to your link-building effort.
  10.  Are there misspellings or out-of-the-ordinary text boxes?
    • These can be signs of a spam site and sub-par content. While a typo here and there may not be a big deal, watch out for websites where the author has yet to grasp basics of the English language.
  11.  Is it not one of the 3 Ps? Pills, Porn & Poker.
    • While these sites may receive a ton of traffic, quality is sometimes more important than quantity. AVOID the 3 Ps.
  12.  Did you look at your competitor’s links? Have you tried to get similar links?
    • Look to your competitors for inspiration. Analyze their backlinks using tools such as Open Site Explorer, look at the most successful links and keywords that they have used on their own sites.


By far, the most important factor in your link building effort is getting high-quality links from websites that are closely related to yours. While some argue that social media links are the wave of the future, for right now traditional link-building techniques are here to stay. While social media can be a method to outreach your link building effort, it should not be the only focus of your campaign.

It’s also important to remember that link building is a slow process that can potentially bring back some big rewards, and a successful link building strategy is an ongoing process that will take time to show results. Don’t expect to see results immediately, have patience and keep working at your campaign for the best chance of success.


Samantha Goettel and Michael Fisher

Written by Samantha Goettel

Organic Search (SEO) Director

Samantha started off in the traditional Marketing industry by obtaining her Marketing Diploma & a Bachelor of Management Degree in Lethbridge, Alberta. During her University years she attended l'Université Libre de Brussels, Solvay School of Business in Brussels, Belgium in French for a University Exchange Program. 9 months later she was already off to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to work for an international oil & gas company in their marketing department. After her many travelling adventures, Samantha moved to Edmonton to work as a Marketing Coordinator for a Canadian Franchise. She quickly learned that the future of Marketing was on the internet. She switched from a career in traditional Marketing to a career in Online Marketing, Organic Search & SEO in 2010 & has never looked back. In 2013 she studied Web Design & Development at Grant Macewan University. She also loves to backpack adventure travel and is a big foodie who loves to cook.

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