Backlinks, also known as inbound or incoming links, are one-way links that take you from one website to another. If any other website has linked you as a source, your website has earned a backlink.
Backlinks are one of Google algorithm’s top three crucial ranking factors. But there is a condition; these backlinks must come from a highly authoritative, credible and well-trusted website to boost your website’s ranking.
Backlinks can simply be viewed as votes from other websites, rendering your domain credible and trustworthy. The more votes from different expert sources you gather, the higher you perform on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
The key here is to consider the quality of these backlinks over quantity. The more valuable and trusted the website is, the more authority and credibility it will pass on to your domain.
However, today many black hat link-building tactics are used to illegally improve your website’s ranking. While they may temporarily perform well for your page, your website will eventually lose visibility, search ranking and organic traffic.
Since backlinks are important contributors to your website’s SEO, here are the things you should most value when it comes to building quality backlinks.
Characteristics of Valuable Backlinks
We have already established the value of one quality backlink over a hundred low-quality backlinks for your website’s ranking.
Here is what you should look for in a quality backlink:
Must Come from a Reputable and Authoritative Websites
A term called “Domain Authority” is widely used to predict a website’s performance on Search engine result pages. It is a search engine ranking score that depicts how well a website ranks in SERPs.
A website with high domain authority (scores above 60) is considered highly authoritative, credible and useful. Securing backlinks from such websites can boost your page’s ranking instantly and allow it to be more visible on Google searches.
These links are not always the easiest to obtain. They require consistent effort, quality and useful content and smart link-building strategies, but if you manage to earn these backlinks, your website will start receiving enormous organic traffic.
Must Come from a Relevant Site
Google is not only looking for authority but also relevancy.
This means that when you earn a backlink, Google evaluates both websites to see if they are relevant in terms of niche or topic. A website about travel agencies can not source another website about cuisines, and if it does earn a backlink through some black hat trick, that backlink will hold no value.
When one website sources another website that is working in the same field, it is considered a vote of confidence and credibility. It’s like one website telling its audience (and Google) that this linked website is producing valuable and accurate content in my area that I recommend you to read.
Anchor Text Should Contain your Keywords
The text that appears in the form of the link that the audience reads and clicks on is called the anchor text.
There is a positive correlation between the keywords used in anchor text and higher rankings.
However, these keywords must appear naturally within the text and not be overdone. Google Penguin can filter out keyword-rich anchor text as a black hat link-building strategy.
Links Must Come from a Domain That Has Not Linked You Before
Multiple backlinks from the same website have diminishing returns.
For a backlink to be considered valuable, it must come from a new website with high domain authority. Securing multiple backlinks from the same website is not a smart move.
Aim for 2, or 3 quality backlinks, instead of 100 backlinks from the same website or poor-performing websites.
Must be a “DoFollow” Link
Most links are either “Follow” or “NoFollow” links.
A “Do-follow” link typically tells Google to pass the trust and authority to the site being linked.
Most links are “Follow” links unless an attribute is added to change the purpose of the backlink, and they are the most practical backlinks when it comes to boosting your visibility and ranking.
A “NoFollow” backlink uses the attribute rel=” no follow” to inform the search engines that authority should not be passed to the page being linked.
What Kind of Backlinks Should You Avoid?
Here are a few things you should always be aware of while building your backlink earning strategy.
Paid links can undermine the authority, credibility and usefulness of your website because you have paid someone to mention you on their page. It did not come naturally.
Google does not encourage buying and selling backlinks, and it can negatively impact your website’s ranking.
Press Release Links
Not all PR release links are useless, but Google disregards most PR release links that add no value and are only for the sake of adding a link.
You should always avoid creating keyword-rich news releases to link them back to your website. It appears spammy, and most readers find it infuriating.
Links from Sites That Are Unrelated to Yours
Backlinks from websites that are not related to your industry will not only confuse your readers but might also confuse Google for the kind of keywords you rank for.
This will ultimately affect the rating for your primary keywords because Google will now link many unrelated keywords from irrelevant websites with your domain.
Often these backlinks also appear as spam and may offend the readers.
Low-Quality Discussion Forums or Blog Comments Links
Many website owners who are desperate to get backlinks start to spam low-quality discussion forums or blog comments with unnecessary links.
It’s important to realize that going overboard with discussion forums or blog comments links will not get them the result they are hoping for. Google, with its continuous advancements, can pinpoint where a backlink does not appear naturally.
Link building is an important part of your marketing strategy and boosting organic traffic. The significance of link-building lies in how natural, authentic, relevant and unique a backlink is.
A high-quality, valuable backlink dictates to Google that your content is authentic, relevant and suited to your target audience.