Backlinks are the lifeblood of your SEO campaign. They’re what will get you higher rankings in Google, and they’re the only true way to measure how successful your website is. But do all backlinks have equal value? What makes a high-quality link?
A high-quality backlink will point to an authoritative website or organization that has recognized expertise in their field and can provide valuable insight into whatever subject matter they cover. This type of link not only increases your ranking on Google but also improves user experience by providing better, relevant content.
When Google’s Search Quality Team evaluates a website they consider many different factors when determining its overall quality and usefulness. But the three main components that make for a high-quality backlink are Relevance, Authority, and the most important being trustworthiness.
A high-quality site can be trusted to provide accurate, useful information. For example, if you’re in health and safety compliance and receive an endorsement from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), then that link is going to carry a lot more weight than if it came from your local town blog or random blogger on WordPress.
In addition to established organizations providing high-quality links, so do industry leaders who have been featured by such organizations. While less common, getting an endorsement from a recognized expert in your field has significant value because again it’s so hard for webmasters to get.
Tying it all together, a quality link appears on an authoritative website or is endorsed by someone who’s viewed as an authority in their area of expertise. This establishes your business as an expert influencer and anyone viewing this link will know that you’re worth taking seriously.
A backlinks authority is measured by the website’s overall Domain Authority score. A high DA means that the site has been around for a while, it’s been active and regularly updated, and is recognized as an expert within its particular niche.
In other words, if you’re linking from a site with high authority then your site will be given credit as well. In fact, Google uses backlink authority as one of its ranking factors since there’s less value in pointing to an unknown website over one with strong offer recognition.
Finally, relevance is all about choosing who you link out to. If you have a blog post about a new product launch but the only links at the end of your article are to other tech-related articles or sites, then your readers likely won’t stick around very long, if at all.
You want to provide relevant links from your site wherever possible since it’s a way of providing additional content for users and signals Google that you’ve created valuable information. In other words, helping people get what they came to your website for in the first place is good for business.
Your goal should always be to create quality backlinks to pages on your site that are truly relevant and can add value to your visitors. For example, instead of linking out just because you have the chance, only link out when it makes sense and provides insight into whatever product or service you’re promoting.
It could be as simple as adding resources below each article so readers who prefer reading an article over watching a video can quickly find additional information to help them.
The quality of a backlink is assessed by Google in a variety of ways, including:
Exact Match Anchor Text
A targeted clickable text in your content will help improve the quality of your backlinks ranking. If you’re looking to rank for “mortgage advice” then your backlinks should contain that exact match anchor text rather than something vague like “Learn more.”
A site’s page authority is another ranking factor Google uses to determine the value/quality of a backlink. This is determined by the age of the site, the number of incoming links, and how high other websites rank for that particular keyword phrase.
Follow vs No Follow Links
Google used to only count no-follow links as not being “relevant” now counts all backlinks as being somewhat relevant. However, they do hold more weight on websites with a higher overall page rank since those sites have been around longer and established themselves as an expert within their particular niche.
High-Quality External Links
A high-quality site is one where visitors are likely to get what they came there for, i.e., educational resources on a particular subject or products people want to buy. One way Google measures this is by looking at how often users end up on a page after following an external link from another page on the site.
High numbers mean that people find the content they’re looking for while low ones suggest that it’s not very relevant or useful in their eyes. Keep this in mind when choosing which sites to link out to.
Having your site or content listed in a sitemap allows search engines to easily crawl and index it rather than have to hunt for it on their own. This is especially handy if you have a blog because then Google will know right away that there’s fresh, relevant content available instead of having to wait until they find it elsewhere down the road.
When evaluating a domain’s authority, Moz provides an estimate of how much link juice a page can send because its backlinks are so strong. The higher this number, the better as far as Google is concerned since such sites are viewed as more trustworthy and authoritative than those with low DA scores which means they likely won’t be sending much meaningful traffic your way.
Can I Build High-Quality Backlinks Myself?
Yes, however, it will take a bit of time and effort on your part. Google is looking for webmasters to provide truly useful content that their readers are interested in which is why getting backlinks from other sites is so important.
Building up authority is all about creating great content that people want to read over the long term. As you publish more articles per month, focus on improving your writing style and making sure you’re tackling widespread problems within your industry.
You’ll notice that you have much more success with getting backlinks when they can benefit others so always try to tie them into how they can help improve the lives of site owners or visitors in some way.
High-quality links are easily attainable as long as you’re willing to put in the effort, have patience and create content that adds value to other people.