You’re probably aware that backlinks represent a critical component of digital marketing (and in particular, SEO). If you want to boost your online visibility, drive greater traffic to your website, and generate further leads, you need to develop an effective linking strategy.
The discrepancy in value between high-quality and low-quality backlinks can be hard to perceive but massive in its effect, so it’s vital for you to develop a thorough understanding of what separates the former from the latter.
To be honest, the quality of one’s backlinks can be fairly subjective and open to interpretation. Google certainly hasn’t explained the ins and outs of its algorithms or how influential specific components might be … though the search giant has offered some generic advice.
Nonetheless, experienced marketers and SEO experts have reached a basic consensus on what separates quality backlinks from the ones that underperform.
According to the experts, the following six facets count for the most:
A crucial metric is something known as “domain authority.” Developed by SEO company Moz, domain authority is essentially a search engine ranking score that estimates how well-respected and authoritative a particular website appears to be in the Google rankings.
Scores range from 1 to 100. The higher the score, the healthier the site. “To calculate websites’ domain authority, Moz accounts for over 40 factors, like root domains and total number of inbound links,” marketer Clifford Chi writes.
“Websites with a large amount of high-quality inbound links, like Wikipedia, have the highest domain authority. New websites with little to no inbound links typically have a domain authority of one.”
If you hope to raise your domain authority, one of the primary items that Google likes to see are other highly authoritative websites linking back to yours. It’s on this basis that domain authority should be one of the key factors you concentrate on for lifting the quality of your backlinks.
It’s not terribly difficult to find and incorporate links that plug your site into various blogs, websites, and online resources. Unfortunately, many of them won’t honestly yield much value.
Many online locations are largely designed for link building and little else, which sets a fairly firm limit on their efficacy.
You should avoid blog networks, link wheels, and similar setups.Work only with quality publications that can boast an actual, quantifiable pool of readers who frequent them for the value of their content. Click To Tweet
You may encounter a lot of bloggers and online journalists who will suggest they will allow you to buy or earn a link in an author byline or footer. These aren’t entirely useless, but they don’t provide much value either.
A valuable backlink should be featured in the body of the content itself. You want backlinks to be organic and contextual, not spammy and overly optimized.
In addition to domain authority, website credibility plays a substantial role in the quality of a backlink. A highly credible website is going to be well optimized for security (HTTPS), attract a healthy amount of organic traffic, generate low spam scores, and have a track record for staying out of trouble (in other words, no Google penalties).
Ideally, backlinks should be unique. Repeated use of the same anchor text across an array of websites with the same type of content appears spammy to Google (because, frankly, it is).
In order to ensure your backlink strategy is effective and high returning, take the trouble to create unique links that are contextually relevant to the articles they appear in.Natural, semantic anchor text almost always performs better than overly optimized anchors. Click To Tweet
The relevance of a backlink plays an inherent role in the evaluation of its quality. Search engines are in the business of providing users with relevant results.
If a pool-cleaning firm includes backlinks from blogs in the automotive, nutrition, and manufacturing niches, they won’t be nearly as effective as links to blogs about landscaping and home design spaces.
“A backlink can be relevant on different levels,” SEO Mark explains. “Search engines consider the overall relevance of the linking site, the relevance of the specific page with the link on it, and the relevance of the content directly surrounding the link.”
If a backlink feels unnatural, it probably is no good. If you prioritize relevance, everything else will fall into place.
Far too many marketers get obsessed with quantity to the neglect of quality. But when it comes to backlinks, only quality really matters. You’re better off hosting 100 quality backlinks than 1,000 spammy ones.
In fact, a high volume of low-quality links will inflate your odds of getting penalized by Google. Keep that in mind as you establish or revamp your digital marketing strategy.