Backlinks are one of the most important ranking factors for search engines. The more backlinks a website receives from other high authority websites, the more trust search engines place in that site. However, not all backlinks are created equal. Some backlinks carry much more weight and value than others when it comes to influencing search engine rankings. These are known as “high quality backlinks.”
What Makes a Backlink High Quality?
There are several key factors that determine the quality of a backlink:
1. Authority and Trust of the Linking Domain
Backlinks from websites that are themselves highly authoritative, trusted, and have a history of linking to quality content carry the most weight. Search engines recognize that links from reputable sources indicate that the page being linked to must also contain valuable information. Links from spammy, untrusted, or low-quality domains do little to boost rankings.
2. Relevancy of Anchor Text
The anchor text, or visible clickable text of the backlink, should be relevant to the topic of the page being linked to. Links using exact match or closely related keywords in the anchor text are valued more by search engines. Generic links using non-descriptive text like “click here” or the domain name provide less contextual relevance.
3. Natural Link Placement
Backlinks embedded naturally within the flow of editorial content like articles, blog posts, and comments sections tend to be higher quality than those placed in unnatural locations like link directories, guest posts, or link wheels. Search engines can easily detect artificial or unnatural linking patterns.
4. Age of the Linking Domain
In general, older domains that have been actively publishing high quality content for many years have more authority than newly created sites. Links from websites with long histories of naturally acquired backlinks are more influential.
5. Trust Flow and Citation Flow
Two metrics known as Trust Flow and Citation Flow, as measured by Moz, can help determine the authority and power of a linking page or domain. The higher the Trust Flow and Citation Flow scores, the more influential the backlink will be.
6. Do Follow vs No Follow Links
A do follow link passes link juice and ranking signals through to the linked page, while a no-follow link does not. Do follow links are more beneficial for search engine optimization purposes.
7. Anchor Text Diversity
Having a variety of keyword-rich anchor text in backlinks, rather than relying on one dominant anchor, makes the links appear more natural to search engines.
8. Internal Linking Structure of Linking Page
Pages that link out to many other relevant external sources, as opposed to only a select few, tend to have more authority. The linking page should have a natural internal linking structure to demonstrate topic authority.
9. Social Signals and User Behavior Metrics
Links that come from pages that also receive many social shares, links, bookmarks and engagements may carry more weight. The more users interact with the linking page and trust its recommendations.
10. Backlink Profile Analysis
Using tools can provide insight into the overall linking profile of a domain. Sites with naturally acquired, diverse links from many relevant sources spread over time have more influence than domains relying on unnatural tactics.
High quality backlinks share certain characteristics – they come from authoritative, trusted domains with a history of valuable and relevant content contributions. The links are embedded naturally within topical pages and pass ranking signals through do follow anchor text. Search engines can easily identify artificial or unnatural linking patterns versus links earned organically over time from relevant sources.