In search engine optimization (SEO), companies and websites attempt to attract more search engine traffic by increasing their pages’ ability to rank within search engine results pages (SERPs). To accomplish this, webmasters must invest in high-quality onsite content, technical onsite optimization, and offsite optimization—which includes building links pointing back to their website.
Google’s ranking algorithm ranks high-authority content higher than low-authority content. You can increase the authority of your content by building links to it; the more links you have, and the more valuable those links are, the higher your authority will climb.
There’s a catch, of course. Google wants to avoid exploitation, so its algorithm has gotten sophisticated enough to discern the difference between “good” links and “bad” links. If you’re caught spamming links, engaging in link schemes, or otherwise trying to cheat the system, you could end up with a Google penalty. Accordingly, only websites that build links naturally, and those that create “high quality” links will succeed in SEO.
The question is, how can you tell which links are “high quality?”
Using a Backlink Checker
One of the most important tools in your SEO arsenal is going to be an SEO backlink checker. With a backlink checker, you’ll be able to generate a list of every backlink pointing to your site on the internet. You’ll be able to see where these links are hosted, you can evaluate the anchor text and authority of the link, and you can determine the value of each link overall. From there, you can decide to remove certain links, alter others, or add new, better links to your backlink profile.
If you’re practicing link building, you should be auditing your backlink profile on a monthly basis—if not more frequently.
Elements of a High Quality Link
So what is it that makes for a high quality link?
These are some of the hallmarks:
1. A high authority publisher
Generally speaking, the higher the authority of the publisher, the higher the authority passed by the link will be. Big-name publishers only accept the best content, so their links are judged to be much more valuable. Getting published on high-authority sites can be tricky, but it’s worth the extra effort.
2. A relevant publisher
In many cases, your link will be more valuable if it’s published on a publisher that’s relevant to your industry. For example, it’s much better for a marketing website to earn a link from a marketing news site than from a niche publication about sport fishing. However, general publishers can work well too.
3. Housing in great content
Good links are built within high-quality content. The better the article, the more valuable the link is going to be, for multiple reasons. Not only will search engines consider the link to be valuable, your readers will as well.
4. Relevant content
The topic of the article should be relevant to the link in some way; the link should seem like it “belongs” in the body content. This also means you must carefully select the page of your website to which you’re linking; if you choose one at random, it’s not going to be a good fit.
5. Natural anchor text
The anchor text of your link is the text in which the link is “housed.” In the early days of SEO, practitioners would stuff the anchor text full of keywords and phrases, but these days, such a practice can attract a penalty. Instead, it’s better to use natural, relevant anchor text to make the link blend in with the rest of the article.
6. Value to the article
Your link should also provide some degree of value to the article, and to the readers trying to enjoy it. That could mean providing facts and statistics, serving as additional reading, or directing readers to other resources. The article should in some way be better with the link included.
7. Inclusion with other links
This shouldn’t be the only link in the article. If you want the link to seem natural, it should be included with multiple other links to high-authority sources.
8. Originality and diversity
inally, your link should be original, and should be part of a diverse network of other links. You shouldn’t build links on the same sites over and over, and you shouldn’t keep linking to the same pages. Try to include a mix of different links, and work with a wide range of different publishers.
If your links all carry these elements, they should only help your site rank higher in search engines. It takes time to develop an effective backlink profile, so remain patient as you round out your SEO campaign—and make sure you’re using a backlink checker on a regular basis, so you can gauge the impact and quality of your efforts.