How can you determine whether a site you're trying to gain a link from is valuable? Here are some "warning" signs as to what Google may have or eventually deem as a low-quality site.

  • Lots of ads. If the site is covered with five blocks of AdSense, Kontera text links, or other advertising chunks, you might want to steer away from them.
  • Lack of quality content. If you can get your article approved immediately, chances are this isn't the right article network for your needs. If the article network is approving spun or poorly written content, it will be hard for the algorithm to see your "diamond in the rough." Of course, when a site like, which has one hell of an editorial process, gets dinged, then extreme moderation may not necessarily be a sign of a safe site either (in their case, ads were the more likely issue).
  • Lots of content, low traffic. A blog with a Google PageRank of 6 probably looks like a great place to spam a comment. But if that blog doesn't have good authority in terms of traffic and social sharing, then it may be put on the list of sites to be de-valued in the future. PageRank didn't save some of the sites in the Panda update, considering there are several sites with PageRank 7 and above (including a PR 9).
  • Lack of moderation. Kind of goes with the above, except in this case I mean blog comments and directories. If you see a ton of spammy links on a page, you don't want yours to go next to it. Unless you consider it a spammy link, and then more power to you to join the rest of them.