Backlinks are great because they tell search engines that your content is valuable enough for people to use it as a reference. But are all backlinks the same?
No, they aren’t.
There are high-quality backlinks and low-quality backlinks. High-quality backlinks are favored by search engines because they are relevant, and they come from high-authority sources—websites that have high domain authority or DA.
But how do you identify a high-quality backlink?
Here are the steps to find out:
- Find out where your backlink is coming from
- Investigate the DA or DS of the website
- Check if the backlink is “do follow” or “no follow”
- Look for backlink placement and anchor text
All of these principles apply whether you are trying to decide where to place your backlinks, or if other websites are already linking to you.
Let us discuss each point and show you how they can help you identify a high-quality backlink.
Find Out Where Your Backlink is Coming From
The first step to identifying if a backlink quality is high or not is to identify the source. If you do not have backlinks yet and you are looking for a website to place your links, you must choose websites that are related to your niche.
Google and other search engines will think that it does not make sense to have a backlink to your car website from dog training websites.
Your backlink must come from websites that are related to the same niche as yours.
If you suspect that there are already backlinks to your websites, you need to find out where the backlinks are coming from.
To do this, you need an SEO tool. You can get the paid ones or opt for something free like Ubersuggest. In a tool like this, all you need to do is to type your domain name, hit the “search” button, and the tool will show you how many backlinks your website is receiving.
From there, you can determine which websites are linking back to your pages or blog posts. While tools like this can show you where your links are coming from, I suggest that you prepare a spreadsheet just so you have a list of these sites.
Investigate the DA or DS of the Website
Whether you know the websites linking to you, or if you are still searching for websites where you can place your backlinks, you must look for websites that have high authority.
To know this, you must understand what is called DA and DS.
- DA – Domain Authority
- DS – Domain Score
Domain authority is a scoring factor created by Moz. DA scores are between 0 and 100, with 100 meaning that the website is the most authoritative in that niche. These rankings are based on many factors, and a DA of at least 50 is what you should be looking for. DS is the same, but it is a scoring method created by Neil Patel.
A high-quality backlink is a backlink that comes from a website that has a DA or DS score of at least 50.
How would you know this? To find out a website’s DA, you have to go to Moz and type the website’s name. You can also go to Ubersuggest and do the same.
You need to list down your findings. What you want is to get a backlink from websites that have high DA or DS.
Because if a website has authority, and it links back to you, Google and other search engines think that your blog post must be relevant enough for websites to even bother linking to you. In addition to that, these websites have extremely high traffic.
Since these websites are credible, people who visit these sites would naturally think that your post is also credible if there are anchor texts linking to you.
Check If the Backlink is “Do Follow” or “No Follow”
A “do-follow” link is a link that Google can index. A “no-follow” link is the opposite.
How does this work?
Let us say that your website is ABC.COM, and then you posted a blog that says “How to Care for Turtles”.
Now, another website, XYZ.COM, used the anchor text “learn how to care for turtles” and linked that text to your blog post.
The site administrator can choose whether the anchor text that links to your website is a do-follow or a no-follow.
Here is what happens for each:
- Google will go to XYZ.COM and read that article
- Google will see the anchor text “learn how to care for turtles”
- Google realizes that it is a link
- Google will “click” on that link and find itself on your website
- Google will index your website, and see that XYZ.COM and ABC.COM have a relationship
Google will do all from the do-follow but ignore the link. Google will see the anchor text, realize that it is a link, but do nothing about it.
No indexing and no relationship will be made. The backlink is still going to work if a site visitor clicks that, but for Google, it means nothing.
Naturally, a high-quality backlink is a do-follow link.
Because a do-follow link tells Google that ABC and XYZ have a relationship. It makes Google think that XYZ trusts ABC enough to let search engines follow that link. It is like saying to search engines, “Hey, this is a great source of information! Check it out!”
Look for Backlink Placement and Anchor Text
Another important factor to help you identify a high-quality backlink is the anchor text and its placement.
The anchor text must be relevant to the actual content of the page it is linking to from it. If the anchor text is “learn how to care for turtles”, then the content of that page must be about the same subject matter, not about cars or bicycles.
Why? Because, if the anchor text and the content of the page that the anchor text links to are not the same. Google will think of it as spam.
Yes, Google is very sophisticated. If an anchor text promises how to care for turtles, and yet that page is not about that, users who click that link will immediately leave the page. So what happens?
Google will know that the page “learn how to care for turtles” is useless, and it will rank that page as low as possible.
Backlinks that are placed inside the article also have much more value than those that are placed on a sidebar or the footer. These backlinks are called “in-text” links. Backlinks placed inside the body of the text tells Google that it is relevant to what that article is about.
If backlinks to your website are placed on the sidebar or footer, Google would think that they are advertisements, and would not even use that as a ranking factor for your site.
There you have it—now that you know how to identify a high-quality backlink, use it to your advantage. Choose the sites where you want to place your guest posts, and make sure these conditions are met.
Make sure that when you guest post, the links to your site are do-follow links. You should also be in control of the placement of the anchor text that is used to link to your website.