Relevancy ranking factors
A search engine will analyse the following page elements to determine the relevancy of a link. These refer to both the website passing the link and the website receiving the link:
Domain to domain
What is the linking site about? Is it comparable to your site? At the most basic level, links are determined to be most relevant among sites that share similar content.
If the linking website is a website about plumbing, and the receiving website is a website about plumbing, this will be regarded a relevant link, receiving brownie points from the search engines for relevancy.
Domain to page
Does the theme of your website relate to the page to which you’re linking? If it’s completely irrelevant, odds are it won’t make contextual sense on the page, and could be considered manipulative.
It makes no sense, for example, to link from your plumbing website to a jobs website. At the same time, a domain considered irrelevant might feature a page containing information relevant to you. If, say, a link passes from your plumbing site to a page on a recruitment site that contains job listings in plumbing, it can be interpreted as relevant.
Page to page
Are you both talking about the same thing? Even if your domains seem a poor match, if another site has produced similar content on a given page, it may be considered relevant to your own page.
If the link-passing page focuses on electric boilers, and it is linking to a page on your site that is focused on electric boilers, this is considered a relevant link. Even if the overall linking website is about plumbing, but the linking page is about piping and the linked to page is about boilers, this is considered to be less relevant.
Link to page
Is the link on your page relevant to the content around it? Does it make contextual sense, or is it shoehorned in? This counts too for ‘links’ pages, in which webmasters will place a list of links to external websites, sometimes called ‘recommended businesses’ or other variants.
If, on your plumbing website, you offer details of suppliers, associated businesses or even competitors, Google consider these links to be highly irrelevant, and find that they tend to be either paid for or reciprocal. Either way, they carry very little link juice and can be considered as spammy activity.
Ultimately, the link should be relevant in relation to the text around it as awkward or irrelevant links can be identified and penalised by Google’s Penguin algorithm, or their 2022 AI SpamBrain update.
Your SEO agency can advise on the best internal linking practices, too. This is part of effective website navigation and content siloing, which helps clarify your main website themes.