Last Updated on 16th February 2024

Research conducted by BrightLocal over the last couple of years found that online marketers say search engines give quality of citations rather than quantity of citations precedence in search results.

The Expert Citation Survey identifies 70 per cent of participants cited the quality of inbound links was more important to them against just 10 per cent that said quantity.

What the report doesn’t clarify is whether the 10% of content marketers who voted quantity over quality, had tested both options to determine which was more beneficial to them, or whether the answer they gave was based on the premise they have a lot of inbound links to justify their strategy.

Or maybe Google Penguin hasn’t caught up with them yet!

How do search engines measure the quality of a website?

The goal of search engines is to produce the best results possible in a search engine. That means identifying the best websites, brands and products and awarding them higher ranks.

To help them measure a website they use a series of metrics which determines the sites quality. The metrics are industry relevance, local relevance, domain authority, competitors listed, site traffic and design of site.

Each of the metrics are measured as low, medium or high quality. If low quality sites point inbound links back to your site the trust factor reflects badly on you. If you have a lot of low quality inbound links, it looks like you are manipulating search results and will be handed a penalty.

Medium and high-rated sites on the other hand reflect kindly and the citation benefits your page rank. However, you do need to strike a balance.

Balancing the quality of inbound links

One quality citation will probably score lower than 20 websites with mixed authority levels of low and medium, providing the inbound links are legitimate and have not been purchased.

It is possible for low trust authority sites to genuinely hyperlink to your site. It may be they are a fairly fledging sites and have not had time to build their trust and authority scores.

There is no hard and fast rule to inbound links providing they are genuine, but you should be looking to strike a balance of citation across all authority levels.