What Is a High Quality Backlink in Google’s Eye?
Want more visitors to your website?
Despite what you may read in some places about social media now outperforming search engines as the number one referral of visitors to sites, there is still a tremendous value for niche site owners in perfected Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
After all, for niche site builders, we solely depend on SEO!
Whether your website covers incredibly detailed and helpful information, or brings an interesting angle on a common subject that’s way higher quality than anyone else, also managed to follow all the On-Page SEO tricks, your traffic count won’t jump if you don’t have high quality backlinks pointing to your site and the particular pages you want to rank.
Yes, you need backlinks (a lot of high quality backlinks!) to rank on the top of Google.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Is Backlink?
- 2 Why Backlinks Matter?
- 3 What Is High Quality Backlink?
- 4 How To Measure High Quality Backlinks?
- 4.1 Links From Authority Site
- 4.2 Links From Relevant Site
- 4.3 Links From Relevant Contents
- 4.4 Relevant With Reference
- 4.5 Links From Content Body
- 4.6 Hard to Acquire Links
- 4.7 Content Quality of The Link Source Page
- 4.8 Relevant Outbound Links
- 4.9 Links With Proper Anchor Text
- 4.10 IP Address Variations
- 4.11 Referral Traffic Matters
- 5 Looking for Quality Backlinks?
Like many other internet marketers, I started learning about backlinks when I first started learning about making money online, and to be more specific SEO.
The idea of “backlinks” is as old as search engines themselves, and working with backlinks is one of the most fundamental practices of good search engine ranking.
That being said, backlinks can be a bit tricky to wrap your head around.
So in this piece, I’ll approach backlinks from the beginning, and share tips to start utilizing backlinks in your SEO campaign, even if you never have implemented before.
A “backlink,” also commonly referred as an “inbound link,” is any link received from a web page from another web page.
Backlinks can be in image captions, pages, posts, or any other places of a web page: as long as another site links to yours, that’s a backlink.
Check the image above, I have pointed a backlink to a Forbes.com page from this post.
In addition to providing valuable information and resources to readers, backlinks also serve a huge role in SEO.
These days, “backlinking” is almost entirely talked about as an SEO weapon.
In fact, it is!
And the reason why “backlink” and SEO have become so intertwined is pretty straightforward.
For search engines like Google, the number and quality of backlinks any web page has to play a huge determining factor in where Google will rank that page in search engine results.
Simply put, the more backlinks you have, and the better quality your backlinks are, the more trusted Google will consider your contents. And with that, stamp of authority comes as higher SEO ranking, and more traffic for your site.
Check the image below to see a data driven answer on why backlink is important.
Since the “quality” of your backlinks is just as important, as or more important than how many backlinks you have in total, it’s important to tease out what a quality backlink really looks like.
If backlinks have seemed simple until now, I apologize: everything is about to get a whole lot more complicated once we start discussing what makes a backlink “high quality.”
In general, good backlinks come from good, topically relevant, established sites, and link to your site in an appropriate and optimal way.
Using backlinks as ranking factor helps Google delivering high quality results. Matt Cutts, Google’s SEO face officially confirmed, excluding backlink relevancy resulted in “much worse” search quality.
What does this mean?
You will always need backlinks to rank on the top of Google.
There’re some numeric metrics and straightforward, quantitative, datadriven factors that can help you determine the quality of backlinks.
Here’s a look at what makes a backlink “good” or “poor” quality.
Links From Authority Site
With so many sites out there about so many different topics, it might seem like securing high quality links from relevant pages should not be that difficult. But when evaluating the “quality” of a backlink, Google checks to see the overall authority of the domain that is linking to yours.
High-quality backlinks come from domains with lots of traffic, lots of engagements, and lots of authority in their field, and these are exactly the kinds of websites where it can be hard to land a backlink.
If site relevancy was the only factor in determining backlink quality, SEO would be a whole lot easier, but as it stands, backlinks from high quality domains will do a whole lot more for your site and are (naturally) a whole lot harder to secure.
How to determine if a site is authoritative?
Well image describes all.
You can depend on Moz’s Domain Authority to understand the weight of a particular domain. I consider a website with good authority when it has DA 30+.
Links From Relevant Site
The number one factor that will determine whether Google and other search engines determine that a backlink to your site is high quality is the relevancy of the site linking to yours.
If a site in the same niche links to yours, Google will see that other authorities consider you to be an authority.
Of course, it can be hard to get links from other sites in your exact niche, since their site owners may see you as a competitor. And if you write in a very specific niche, you may be the only real authority on your subject out there.
But whenever possible, if your backlinks come from relevant sites that have content closely related to yours, search engines will consider them to be high quality.
In fact, a Google employee confirmed, Relevance is the new PR!
Links From Relevant Contents
Even if an entire site isn’t relevant to yours, search engines will give you credit as an authority in your field if individual pages with similar content focus link to yours.
For example, a news site with dozens of categories links to you from a specific news/article that the subject is topically relevant to your niche, will also be counted as a high-quality link.
Google will be able to determine if the content immediately surrounding the place where your link is placed is relevant to your field, even if it’s not an exact match to your specialized niche.
Through blog outreach and guest post opportunities, you can easily build backlinks from highly relevant pages, as these types of links are of the highest quality and do the most for your SEO rating.
For my niche site link building contents, I use iWriter to get high quality contents written for me.
Relevant With Reference
High quality backlinks not only should be relevant to your site, but also link to relevant areas of your site. Link relevancy is determined by both the content of the page from where the link is given and the content of the linking page.
When the information that a site sends visitors to is relevant to the information they are writing about, those backlinks are considered high quality.
For example, someone writes an article about “fishing boat”, the targeted readers will also be interested to know about “fishing tools”, someone’s “fishing story” or “fishing guideline”. If you ‘fishing guideline’ post receives a backlink from the above discussed “fishing boat” content, this will be considered a relevant link.
In Moz’s Ranking Factor experiment, Link Relevancy stood out among the rest.
Links From Content Body
While any link from another site to yours will help boost your SEO rankings, you will see the greatest increase in traffic from links that are placed within the content body itself and are surrounded by contextually relevant information.
Again, this all comes down to relevance, and Google will place a lot more relevance to links inside of content than in other web nodes like pictures or video.
Getting quality contextual backlink is hard, but you can still make it happen using ‘Moving Man Method’, just like Chris did.
Links from other places content body, like Footer, or widget doesn’t add much value at it used to be in the past.
Hard to Acquire Links
If it’s easy for you to land a backlink (like using blog comment method), that probably means that that backlink won’t do too much for your site.
Plain and simple.
Good backlinks are hard to acquire: if they are easy, they probably aren’t on high quality domains. If you feel that backlinks are TOO hard to acquire, you aren’t alone, but remember that if they are easy, they won’t count for much.
If you build links only on sources where getting backlink is easy, your competitors to follow the same strategy and you will end up stuck on the same page of Google.
Content Quality of The Link Source Page
I know that it can feel odd to trust Google to determine the quality of content that you post, but the truth is that search engines have a variety of tools at their disposal that can give them a fairly good idea of how strong or weak a content is.
High quality content is well researched, detailed, free of grammar and spelling mistake, and constructed with fundamental principles of writing in mind.
Overall, backlinks from content that is high quality will be worth a lot more to your SEO ranking, and help your site more.
So, what makes a content high quality in Google’s eye?
Well, Google officially described them in details here.
Relevant Outbound Links
Google encourage webmasters to link out to relevant resources, as this shows webmaster have done researches before writing the content and giving other site owners’ reference.
It’s proved that, Relevant Outbound Links matter to Google.
But if your link is the ONLY contextually and content relevant link in a piece, Google might think the link is somehow generated by you, to manipulate Google ranking.
That’s because Google will also look at other outbound links in a piece of content as well, and see if they are all relevant. High quality, well researched content will typically link to multiple relevant pieces of info, so your backlinks will be of the highest quality when they are surrounded by other relevant backlinks.
Links With Proper Anchor Text
Anchor text is something of a touchy subject in the SEO world, as Google has changed the way they view anchor text multiple times in order to combat spammy low quality sites.
I never recommend to use any specific anchor text to be more than 10% of total anchor text.
Whenever acquiring a link from a site, make sure to get it with proper anchor text your site is being referred as.
As a whole link building and anchor text strategy, you should use a multiple variation of brand anchor text, domain anchor text, generic anchor text, naked url anchor textand long tail anchor textto make it look natural to Google’s eye.
IP Address Variations
Turns out that linking to your own sites extensively won’t produce high quality backlinks!
Google wants to see that your backlinks come from different IP addresses, and won’t give as much weight to multiple backlinks from the same IP address.
Why is that?
Well, Google assume that sites hosted in same IP address are more likely to be from same people. Linking from one site to another site from the same owner doesn’t add value to Google ranking, so links from same IP address hosted sites to a specific site doesn’t add any value to search ranking either.
It’s always better focusing on building links that hosted on different IP addresses. Most SEO enthusiasts agreed on this point.
Referral Traffic Matters
Referral traffic matters in Google organic ranking.
If a backlink isn’t driving any referral traffic to your site, Google isn’t likely to consider that link to be of any quality.
From a views and conversion standpoint it won’t be very valuable to you, but from an SEO standpoint backlinks that aren’t ever followed by real web users won’t help you much.
As long as your links are placed in high quality site, relevant content, this shouldn’t be too much an issue though.
Start with all of the metrics above.
When looking for a site to request a link from, start with sites that are very relevant to you, and look for a relevant page on a high quality domain.
Which metrics you must follow while building links? Leave your opinion commenting below 🙂