We all know that links are an important part of SEO, but what determines if a link is good or not. Let’s look at 7 characteristics of a quality link.
A good backlink needs to be relevant to the content they link to. For one thing, it is more likely that a visitor will click on a relevant link.
For example, if you have an architecture website, then it makes sense that you might have incoming links from websites in a related field such as lumber companies, construction businesses, etc.
Search engines consider a number of different factors to determine whether or not a website is relevant to your specific niche.
The trustworthiness of a website is another important characteristic of high-quality backlinks.
Anybody can publish content on the internet these days. Unfortunately, it isn’t all trustworthy, particularly when you are looking for opportunities to acquire high-quality backlinks.
A few examples of trustworthy websites include prominent news sites like the BBC and CNN but just about any site that has a long standing reputation, a steady amount of traffic and engagement will have some form of authority online.
So why does Google trust a website to begin with?
Before you attempt to use backlinks to improve your ranking, keep in mind that links are primarily designed to provide another website with traffic. The links are provided to give readers more information. That is why Google considers good backlinks that drive traffic to be high-quality backlinks.
That is also why links that are embedded in the middle of content are often considered more valuable compared to those in the footer. Users do not click on links in the footer very often.
In general, it is a good idea to check the authority of a website before obtaining a link. Fortunately, there are many tools available online that measure a website’s authority.
One of the more popular metrics tools for this is Moz’s Domain Authority. It calculates a pages authority score on a 1 to 100 scale. You can take things even deeper with Moz Page Authority to check the authority of individual pages on a website.
In addition to what Domain Authority says, the age of a domain can also be checked. In general, the longer a domain is around, the more authoritative it tends to become. You can use tools like the one here. to get an idea of when a domain was acquired and, therefore, have a good estimate of its age.
Having unique backlinks is also important. However, acquiring unique links is easier said than done. If ten backlinks point back to your website, ideally you want to have them coming from ten unique websites.
In addition to obtaining links from various websites, another thing that you need to consider is how many links are contained in the content. When there are 20 or more links in a referring page’s content and your website is just one of those in the mix, then the value of that link will be diluted and the authority passed to you might not be as valuable as if that page were linking to only a few websites.
Exchanging links with other websites was once a common practice. It followed the principle, if you scratch my back, I will scratch yours. However, when it comes to backlinks, this practice can do more harm than good. It is even possible for Google to view it as a link scheme that violates its Webmaster Guidelines. That means the links were not obtained naturally and are subject to abuse.
So does this mean you should not exchange links with other website owners? Exchanging links is a grey area. The safest thing to do is to minimize exchanging links as much as possible. You also only want to trade links with websites that are related to your niche to ensure the link appears to be natural and organic.
You should also ask yourself if the link helps to improve the content’s quality. If it makes logical sense that your content would link to or be linked from the content in question, then it’s probably ok, but if not, you might want to steer clear of reciprocal links.
Social Media Signals
Social Media is undoubtedly a big part of the web today and as a result, it’s one of the factors that Google considers in their overall mix of signals. Google views social media as being an effective supplement and filter for determining how relevant content is to a specific niche or industry. Social signals like shares, retweets, and likes all help to validate a piece of content and are thought to help boost their relevance in search.
Google looks closely at how users of social media share content and engage online. In Google’s eyes, a link can go a long way if it came from content that went viral on a popular social media platform such as Reddit, Twitter, or Facebook.
How To Obtain the Most Powerful and Effective Backlinks for Your Website
There are two major ways to approach link building:
#1 – Create great content (to earn editorial backlinks)
Creating the most valuable and best content within your niche is undoubtedly the best way to obtain high-quality backlinks. When done correctly, this results in authority websites within your niche naturally linking to your website on their own, without you having to intervene.
Editorial backlinks are a type of backlink that is “earned” based on your actual content.
While It’s great to have editorial backlinks, it can be pretty challenging to acquire them. Most websites admins recognize that quality, original content is very valuable but more times than not, content alone won’t result in a high influx of backlinks. This is where having manual link outreach campaigns can help.
#2 – Set up link building campaigns
The best way to obtain backlinks for a website is to run large-scale link building campaigns. Building links manually involves contacting various websites that belong to your niche and asking for backlinks.
The following tips are some of the various link building techniques that you can use:
Get your website listed in a roundup blog post.
Whatever service or product you provide, there are likely plenty of blogs in your niche that develop roundup posts. Perhaps you have seen these, they are usually blog posts that gather a compilation of expert opinions around a single topic or questions. Typically they refer back to the profiles or websites of those mentioned in the article, sending relevant links and traffic to all of the websites on the list. Look for websites that do roundups and do your best to get listed in them as they are a great way to acquire added exposure, traffic, and links.
this is one of the most effective, albeit slow link building techniques. You simply contact some of the leading authority and relevant websites that are part of your niche and pitch ideas for posts on their blogs.
In exchange for providing them with high-quality content, your author bio will contain a backlink to your website. Make sure that meaningful anchor text is used in the link pointing to your site. The anchor text is used by the search engine when evaluating your backlinks.
Target websites that provide your competitors with backlinks.
You can use tools such as Monitor Backlinks to identify the websites that are providing your competitors with backlinks. Websites that link to your competitors can also link to you. So look at your competitors’ websites and then contact all of the websites that are providing quality backlinks.
Niel Patel has a Free Backlink Checker that can be used to spy on your competitors and see their top backlinks. You can see the tool in action here.
Use the Skyscraper Technique.
What this method involves is checking the competition out in the SERP rankings and then writing a much better and longer piece of content on the same topic to overtake them. When done correctly, this not only helps to get more prominent exposure in the Google search results, but can also lead to more organic links. Read more about this strategy in our post titled. Level Up Your Content
The link building strategies above can help you get off to a good start.
However, just keep in mind that when you are implementing any of the above techniques you need to keep link quality in mind. Remember to evaluate each potential link opportunity by using the metrics we talked about earlier.
Now that you have some ideas on what characteristics make up a high-quality backlink. It’s time to get started and work towards building an effective and healthy backlink profile.