How to choose a link donor: basic parameters and recommendations

What are donor sites in SEO and why are they needed?

Donor sites are web resources that transmit to sites-acceptors (that is, those receiving) a link mass: they post links to pages of other web resources.

Donor sites allow you to post links to acceptor sites on your site, so that the latter increase the link mass, which is very important for SEO. The larger and better the link mass, the higher its trust (the level of trust of search engines) and the likelihood of being in the top of the results for relevant queries.

Link building and principles of its construction

Natural external link building work is called link building (from the English. link – link, building – construction). This is one of the components of external SEO promotion.

In order for link building to help really increase the trust of the site, and not get banned from the search engine, you should use the following principles:

  1. Continuity: Regular measures are more credible than intermittent measures.

  2. Diversity: external links can and should be obtained in different ways, not only from donor sites.

  3. Benefits for people: select links and donors so that it is useful to users and interests them first of all, not search bots.

Selection criteria: how to choose a donor?

Finding a suitable donor site to place a link will take a lot of time, because many seemingly suitable sites are eliminated in the next stages of verification.

Let’s analyze the parameters that the donor site must meet.


The subject of the referring web resource must correspond to the subject of the recipient. And the more “points of contact”, the better.

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Of course, 100% hit is not guaranteed here. Therefore, if there is no direct connection, you need to work where there is at least an indirect one.

  • Direct communication is when the donor and acceptor sites belong to companies of the same field of activity: for example, they grow and sell fruits.
  • An indirect connection is when a few more points need to be drawn between the subject of the transmitting web resource and the subject of the recipient. For example, if we grow and sell fruits, it means that sites whose organizations work where fruits are needed will indirectly suit us as donors. For example, confectionery, catering, production of jams and confitures.

Why should you not neglect this indicator? Each site has its own target audience, which brings traffic and conversion. A user who reads an article about bicycle parts will find it strange to see a link to a fruit supplier’s website, he will not follow it and buy nothing. In addition, search bots also know how to analyze relevance to topics and are unlikely to be praised for doing so.


Donor traffic is just as important as its subject matter. Site traffic is one of the few measurable yet indicative parameters that influence donor selection.

It is necessary to analyze not only general traffic, but also search traffic: if clicks from search are one of the main traffic generation channels, this suggests that most likely there are no bans and sanctions on the site.

How to check the traffic of the donor site? Using the free tools SimilarWeb or PR-CY. Here you will get approximate figures, but they will be enough to estimate traffic.

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Site traffic sources according to SimilarWeb


ICS is a site quality index used by Yandex. Website donors are checked using the already mentioned PR-CY service:

ICS website quality index PR-CY

It is logical that the higher the ICS web site, the more Yandex bots will trust it and the more effective links will be from it.

Google used to have a similar parameter – Page Rank, but back in 2016 it was zeroed for all sites, so it won’t help in evaluating a web resource.

Search engine bans

Web resources covered by a copper ban of search engines or included in the register of prohibited ones are definitely not the best choice. If a link from such a resource leads to your site, then it can also fall under the filter.

Information about the sanctions applied to the site according to PR-CY data

Information about the sanctions applied to the site, according to PR-CY


Content is one of the most important ranking factors, therefore, for donor sites, you need to evaluate its characteristics. What to look at:

  1. Uniqueness. Despite heated debates about the viability of this criterion, experience shows that copied materials do not go to the top. And to find out if the articles are not someone else’s on the site, you can only when assessing the uniqueness. You can check it using ContentWatch.

  2. Regular updates. The site does not have to publish 100 articles a day, but one a week is a sufficient frequency. Users trust little sites where materials are rarely published.

  3. Content structure. Articles should be formatted and divided into paragraphs, have headings H1-H6 and not contain a list of keywords.

These are basic parameters: if, in addition to this, the site has an active community that leaves comments, as well as media content (infographics, videos), then this is a good bonus.

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Domain age

This criterion helps us to make sure that the site is already indexed by search engines. If a site has a payment delay for a domain or web resource less than a year, it is worth postponing it for the future.


It’s good when the site does not have aggressive banner ads that interfere with viewing the content. But in general, advertising is not something that should not be at all: it can be useful if the site owner accepts only those offers that are suitable for the target audience of his site.

Therefore, if there is an advertisement on a web resource, evaluate its content:

  1. It does not apply to prohibited content.

  2. These are offers of related products or services that may be of interest to users of this web resource.

In other cases, it is better to refuse to post your links on this site.

In conclusion, we note that all of these parameters work in combination. That is, if the site is suitable only for one of the seven points, then it is still not your donor. Moreover, if a web resource is suitable in all parameters, except for the topic and attendance, it is also better to leave it: topic and traffic are the most important selection criteria, and when choosing a site, the priority should be put on them.

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