What makes a link relevant? What is OK? What is not OK?

We get a lot of questions about what it means to have relevant links here, so in today’s article we’re going to go over how you should think about link relevancy.

Let’s get into it!

The Biggest Misconception: Direct Relevancy

The biggest misconception is that every link you get MUST be from a domain in your exact niche market or industry.

For instance, if you are a “pet store” you should only get links from “pet stores.”

In theory, this would be the highest relevance possible right?

The problem is that it’s very unlikely you’re going to convince all your competitors to link to you. In fact, this would be downright unnatural.

So where could you get good links from?

Target Market Relevancy

One of the best places to start thinking about where you could get links are places where your target market hangs out online.

For instance, let’s say you have a real estate company and you sell houses in St. Petersburg FL.

Who is the target audience? People that are living in or want to move to St. Petersburg FL.

So where would those people be online?

Well, they might be checking out:

  • Local schools in the area for their kids to go to
  • Local news stations or websites
  • Local groups like baseball teams, exercise groups,
  • Best places to live like zillow
  • Best restaurants like yelp
  • Local event websites
  • Retiree forums (people trying to retire and figure out where to live)
  • Question websites (like quora)
  • Senior care portals that show all retirement homes

None of these sites are from “Real Estate Companies” however they would be great places to get links – because that’s exactly where your target market hanging out.

You can get links from these types of sites by reaching out to them and writing guest posts that mention your brand.

Context Relevancy

In trying to determine if a link is relevant or not, you need to understand the context of the link more than anything else.

If you got a link to your real estate site from let’s say, New York Times (a DA94 site), would that be bad?

The New York Times isn’t niche relevant as a whole; they write about business, lifestyle, health, relationships, news, New York etc.

But if there was an article that was “10 Best Places To Live in 2018” and you got a link, that would still be a great link right? Hell yeah!

This type of context relevancy happens all the time, and is the most common. These links are still great, and pass juice!

Irrelevant Links: Will They Hurt You?

Google is really big on making sure your link profile is perfect. So they obviously would never put irrelevant links on their blog, right?

Let’s look at some examples straight from the horse’s mouth:

Google’s SEO blog links to a restaurant

Do you think it’s OK for a blog about SEO to link to a restaurant?

On this webmaster central blog post, Google links to Emeril Lagasse’s restaurant website.

In itself, it wouldn’t make sense to link an SEO blog to a restaurant, but in the context of the article’s topic it makes sense.

Google’s SEO blog links to a confetti website

OR how about the time when they linked to a confetti website?

In the context of the article, they were talking about how the confetti website needed to add more relevant keywords. So although the 2 don’t match, by looking at the context of the article it still makes sense.

Matt Cutts links to Viagra

Matt Cutts, former head of Google webspam, has a personal blog about “Gadgets, Google, and SEO” – however he links to penis pills on on his blog with the anchor text “buy viagra online.”

You might be shocked to see him linking there. That’s blasphemous! Super irrelevant and downright harmful right?

In this context, he was talking about the legitimacy of the product availability, as well as how SEOs often used it as an example of an illegitimate or spammy search query.

So even the former head of Google webspam links to something that would be considered “completely irrelevant” without the context. When we look more closely at the article, we can understand how this link still makes sense.

What’s important to understand here is that the context of the link is more important than having domain to domain relevancy.


Getting in-content links are important to improving your SEO, but don’t worry too much about getting perfectly relevant links. Think more along the lines of “does this link make sense in this context?” – If so, you’re good to go!