Bethan | 24 Aug 2021
Backlinks are links from a page on one website that lead to another website. Google looks favourably on these when deciding organic search engine rankings due to them being considered a “vote of confidence” in the information on the page the link is pointing to, and in the quality of the website. The more high-quality backlinks there are to a specific page, generally, the better that page will perform in organic search rankings. However, it is important to note that the important word here is quality rather than quantity. A large number of backlinks from websites with low authority will not have the same impact as a small number of backlinks from websites with high authority (an official website such as .gov.uk or .org is likely to be a high-authority website, for example). When looking at backlinks, you might want to think of there being three different levels of link value: low-quality, medium-quality and high-quality. Low-quality backlinks are often considered webspam by Google, as they are often achieved in a’ fake’ way, through bulk-buying of links for example. Medium-quality backlinks are considered to be of more value and are much easier to obtain than high-quality backlinks. This is because the very high-quality websites usually have higher editorial standards. However, a mix of medium and high-quality links will greatly benefit your website in search rankings, so it is well worth aiming for.
What Are The Core Elements of High-Quality Backlinks?
Whilst this can be subjective, generally, it is accepted that there are three core elements to a high-quality backlink: They should be ‘natural’ Backlinks should be chosen by the website owner because they provide value to their readers, rather than because the link was paid for in order to try to manipulate Google’s search rankings. By “earning” the backlink by being of value to other websites’ readers, your backlinks will look natural and valuable to Google. If Google believes a backlink to be unnatural or spammy, they may at first ignore it, but if a website appears to have too many spammy backlinks, they may punish the site by demoting it in the search engine results. They should be reputable For a backlink to be considered reputable it should ideally be:
- A link from a trusted source – to determine if a website is trustworthy, search engines look at a wide range of different criteria. One of the key factors is how many other high-quality websites link to it, for example. Another factor would be HTTPS – a website with an SSL certificate will be more trusted than one without.
- A link without a nofollow attribute – a ‘rel=”nofollow”’ HTML tag applied to a link is an instruction to search engines not to value that link, meaning that it will be unlikely to improve your organic search rankings.
- A link that sends traffic – having a link in a prominent position on a webpage that is visited frequently makes it high quality as, regardless of search rankings, the link will bring your website a continual stream of targeted visitors.
They should be relevant There would be little point in gaining a link from a company selling sewing equipment if your website is about holidays in France – the two don’t really seem relevant to one another. If, on the other hand, you were to gain a link from a hotel in France to a page about places to visit in France, then the link would be from a relevant source. 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, when deciding whether a link is relevant. It is also important that the anchor text of the backlink should be relevant to the information on your page, as this will inform the reader what the page is about and search engines use this as a relevance signal. So, using the example above, you would want the anchor text to read “ideas for places to visit in France” rather than just “places to visit” or “visiting France” as this does not provide as much information to the reader or search engine. You would not want all the links pointing to your page to have the same anchor text, however, as this would appear spammy to Google.
Making sure you get relevant, reputable, and natural backlinks is not an easy task and can be confusing, so why not entrust your SEO to the experts? Ask us today about how we can help your website rank better.
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