No two backlinks are made equal.

What are backlinks and what qualifies them as good or bad for SEO?

With keywords and Niche Topics covered, your next step is to make sure you understand backlinks.

Backlinks are links from other websites that lead to yours. Google has made thousands of changes to its algorithm, but backlinks remain one of its most important ranking signals. Each backlink essentially serves as a vote for your website and content, which improves a site’s rankings on a search engine.

That said, some votes are worth more than others. There is a difference in quality between backlinks and how well they boost your SEO. In fact, one high-quality backlink can do more than 10,000 low-quality backlinks.

So how do you differentiate the two?  It turns out high-quality backlinks share the same four characteristics:

 

  1. Trusted

Would you rather have the support of Harvard or a Community College? We hold nothing against Community Colleges, but as credibility varies between institutions, so does credibility between backlinks. If your backlinks come from trusted, reputable websites, search engines take notice and your SEO gets boosted even more.

 

  1. Inclusive

In general, you want your links to have anchor text that includes your target keyword. Anchor Text is the visible, clickable text in a hyperlink, such as this that links to our homepage. Including your keyword in your anchor text makes your backlinks more powerful. That said, you don’t want your anchor text to be oversaturated with keywords. Google’s Penguin algorithm filters out websites that build an excessive amount of links with exact match anchor text.

 

  1. Related

Google wants your links to come from websites that fit your content’s niche. This is important if you think about it. Google’s success is built on relevance. What good would a search engine be if it couldn’t find what its users were searching for? If you’re publishing an article about digital marketing, be sure to link articles about digital marketing, not candles, kayaks, or gargoyles.

 

  1. Singular

One vote is more than enough. The more a website links to yours, the more diluted it gets. Let’s say you get a backlink from Forbes. That’s amazing! Forbes is trusted and reputable. That’s a huge win. But let’s say Forbes links to you again and again and then 3 or 4 more times. The votes those links are casting become less and less powerful. 

As a side note, there is one more characteristic to consider, but it’s typically less of an issue.

Make sure your links are “dofollow” links. Search engines ignore links with the “nofollow” tag so they don’t count towards boosting SEO. Most links are “dofollow” links, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Avoid linking profile links, paid ads, blog comments and press releases as they tend to have the “nofollow” tag.

Backlinks aren’t easy to acquire, but if you don’t follow the proper procedures, you can almost guarantee you won’t get any if you don’t include them in your SEO strategy.

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