Backlinks are the lifeblood of search engine optimisation. Most SEO experts agree that backlinks together with content relevance are the most crucial ranking factors. However, not all backlinks are created equal. When it comes to SEO, it’s the quality of the backlink that matters. As a matter of fact, stuffing your website with low-quality backlinks can work against your progress. So how do you identify and create quality backlinks? More importantly, how do you stay clear of the bad ones? This blog explains how.
Search engines like Google evaluate the quality of backlinks using several parameters. These parameters are not explicitly laid out for all to see, but they can generally be grouped into three classes – relevancy, trust, and authority.
When you input a search query into a search engine, you will expect to first see the most relevant results. This is the main aim of Google and the other search engines. For their audience to grow and keep returning, they have to continually supply their users with the most relevant results. It therefore makes sense for them to consider relevance as a metric of link quality.
Valuable backlinks are those that come from relevant sources. For instance, if you have a health and wellness website, an incoming link generated from a pharmaceutical website will be considered more relevant than a link coming from an online clothing store. However, you should note that it’s not all that simple, there are a lot of other factors that come into play, but hopefully, you get the idea.
Links relevant to the content of a website are likely going to be clicked by the website visitors. Anyone seeking to understand the symptoms of a disease is likely going to be interested in checking out some possible treatments as well. They will therefore click a link coming from a pharmaceutical website. On the other hand, people visiting an online clothing store might not be interested in checking out a backlink from a landscaping site.
Google and other search engines have ways of evaluating the trustworthiness of a website. Good backlinks are those that come from websites that are trusted by search engines. SEO experts suggest that search engines use a group of trusted websites to determine if a particular domain can be trusted. The general idea is that websites that are closely linked to this group of trusted websites can be trusted.
The closeness of a select domain to a trusted website is measured in terms of the number of links standing between the two. Therefore if you want your website to rank higher on Google, you need to have lots of backlinks from highly trusted websites.
Keyword-rich anchor text
While it is a good idea to create keyword-rich anchor text, please avoid overdoing it. Google is equipped with mechanisms that allow it to pick out websites that utilize black hat link-building and SEO tactics. One such mechanism is an update known as Penguin. This update was created in 2012 by Google, and its sole function is to stop websites manipulating their results through links both in terms of quality but also other factors. Having too many links with keywords linking back is unnatural and could result in a penalty or just poor rankings.
Domain authority is a 100-point algorithmic scale that can be measured with Open Site Explorer.
High-quality links come from websites that have high authority. Google puts a lot of weight on such links, and you will most likely notice a boost in organic search traffic the moment a high authority website links to yours.
It makes a lot of sense if you think about it. For instance, would you value a link from a random unknown website or a backlink from BBC? As it turns out, search engines behave the same way. The more authority a website has, the more impact its backlink will have on your site. You should, therefore, strive to get backlinks from high-authority websites.
Do-Follow vs. No-Follow Status
When adding a link to a website, HTML code can be used to place the link as either “do follow” or “no follow.” Do follow link signal search engines to evaluate backlinks and measure their SEO value. On the other hand, no-follow links instruct search engines to ignore backlinks; therefore, such links have little or no SEO value.
Since do-follow links send favourable signals to search engines, they are more valuable for SEO. You should therefore code your links as do-follow. However, a no-follow link might still be able to channel some traffic to your website. A natural link profile has a mix of both so no-follow links should not be discounted.
On-Site Link Location
Websites are split into different sections. The link value is linked somehow to the section of the website where it is placed.
High-value backlinks are usually those that are placed within the main body content of a website. Links placed on the header, footer, or sidebar of the page may not be identified as highly valuable by search engines. You should always keep this in mind when creating backlinks.
The Best Types of Backlinks
Now that we have gone through what makes a high-value backlink, let’s take a look at one of the best backlinks in SEO.
Some of the best SEO backlinks are those that come from editorial mentions. This is when another site refers and links to your site in a high-quality piece of content. The editorial link can be included as:
● Citing a piece of content on your website as the source of information
● Referring a reader to your site for further readings
● Citing your site as the source of an infographic
● Listing your website or article on your website in a link roundup
To wrap up, a high-quality backlink is measured by how its relevancy, authority and how trustworthy it is as well as what text is used to link back as well as some other smaller factors. Just building adhoc links is unlikely to move a website significantly. To rank well a steady stream of high quality links using a mix of anchor text is key. This is generally why SEO Freelancers or agencies are employed to carry out this task as they have a lot of contacts and resources to be able to deliver the volume and authority of links required to rank competitive keywords.