Backlinks… Wonderful high quality backlinks…
They’re one of the main things that make the SEO world go around.
But, here’s a little surprise for you — did you know that loads of people fail with SEO, even when they build lots of backlinks?
You wanna know why?
….It’s because they don’t build high-quality links.
Yep, you can build a bunch of links. But if they aren’t high-quality, you probably aren’t gonna see much in the way of results. Heck, you might even harm your rankings!
Look, there’s no getting around it; high-quality links are important.
But, how do you know if your backlinks are high-quality? I mean you build a link, and then what? Do you receive a letter in the post telling you you’ve built an amazing link?
Sadly, no such letters exist, which is a shame, because that would be nice. However, there are certain tools/tactics you can use to verify the quality of a link.
In this article, we’re gonna cover these strategies and how this all works. All of these strategies are important, but not everyone uses all of the strategies we’re going to cover here.
In fact, the strategy we cover in section #3 is actually something a lot of people forget about. And it’s a shame because this is actually a really important way to verify the quality of a link.
Anyway, stick around and make sure you watch this entire video. Once you’ve made it to the end, you’ll know how to judge the quality of each and every link that is associated with your site.
Let’s get started!
Tip #1. Domain Rating Tells You a Lot
DR stands for domain rating, and it’s one of the main ‘metrics’ people like to use when judging the quality of a link. Basically, if a link comes from a high DR site, it’s a ‘high-quality link.
Now, this metric basically comes from the SEO tool Ahrefs:
Whenever you plug a site into Ahrefs, you can get its DR.
Now, you can actually do this for free. And you don’t need to be a paid Ahrefs user to get this data.
That’s because if you just Google something like “Ahrefs free website authority checker,” you can access a free tool that’ll tell you the DR of pretty much any site.
- So, for example, this is what happens if I just pop my site into this tool.
47 — that’s not too bad of a score I think — even if I do say so myself!
Anyhow, what’s important to remember here, is that lots of SEO tools have a metric like this, but they might just call it something else.
So, like SEMrush, another popular SEO suite has something called “domain authority.”
All these top SEO suites might have another name for this ‘score’. And there might be slight differences here and there when it comes to the things that affect this number.
But, for the most part, they’re pretty much all talking about the same thing here.
Anyhow, if a website has a high score, there’s a good chance it’ll provide you with a ‘high-quality link.’
What’s interesting as well here, is that if you build lots of high DR links to your site, you can actually improve your own DR.
For example, we built some high DR links to this site. And they went from 3 to 19 in just four months.
The DR increase means that Google now thinks the website is more trustworthy. This then means they get better rankings, and as you can see, this site doubled their traffic.
By the way, if you’d like us to help you achieve similar results. You can book a free consultation call with us at juliangoldie.com.
Anyhow, moving on, DR and its impact on link quality is really just a small part of the story here.
That’s because there are a few other things, such as anchor text. That you also need to look at when judging the quality of a link.
Luckily for you, we’re gonna cover the topic of anchor text. As well as a bunch of other important factors.
Tip #2. Check For Relevance
“Relevance” is also important when judging the quality of a link.
So, all things being equal. A link from a contextually relevant website in your niche is going to be more high-quality… Than a link from a site that has nothing to do with your niche.
Ok, but why are contextually relevant links better than “non–relevant” ones?
Well, this can be a little tricky to explain. And to really understand this, you’ve got to look at things from Google’s point of view.
Right, so imagine there is a website in the ‘boating’ niche.
Suppose this site has a lot of links from other websites in the boating niche.
If you were Google, you’d look at a site like this and then come to the conclusion that it’s an authority in the boating niche.
Because of this, you’d be quite comfortable with ranking this website for keywords related to boating.
On the other hand, if a website in the boating niche has lots of links from websites in completely different industries/niches … It’s gonna look a little odd.
I mean, can Google really trust a website like this?
After all, how can they say that this website is an authority in the boating niche, when NOBODY in the niche is linking to this site?
Like, how would you feel about this site if YOU were Google and you had to rank it?
Would you say that everything checks out — would you be comfortable with ranking this website highly for terms that are associated with the boating niche?
No, right? — I mean you’d probably be a little suspicious, no?
At this point, you’d probably recognize these high authority links from outside the niche, and you’d give them some weight, but you wouldn’t really let them impact rankings that much.
All because the links are just not that relevant.
It’s because of this, that relevance can sometimes beat DR, when it comes to the quality of a backlink.
After all, a highly relevant DR 50 link can often beat a DR 60 link that isn’t relevant.
So, relevance is important — but how do you check the relevance of a link?
Well, there isn’t really a tool that helps you do this with a ton of accuracy, and in most cases, it’s really just something you have to judge for yourself.
But it’s pretty easy to judge, as you can often just tell if a link is relevant by just looking at the site it’s on. If it’s related to your niche — guess what — it’s probably relevant!
Whoever said that SEO is hard!
Tip #3. Check the Link Placement
The placement of a link can also impact the quality of the link. Now, I know this sounds like a little pointless detail, but it’s actually really significant.
In most cases, the highest quality links are ones that fit naturally within the content on a page.
So, if there’s a paragraph, and the link is a natural part of the text in the paragraph — that’s a high-quality link! If you’re wondering, these links are sometimes known as ‘contextual links.’
Here’s an example:
Now, the alternative here is a link that’s just maybe in the footer or part of the author’s bio.
These ‘alternative’ links aren’t completely worthless, and actually, they’re still quite good — especially if the website with the link has a high DR and is relevant.
But, if you’re looking for the BEST kind of link, AKA the most high-quality one, natural, contextual links are the ones you should aim for.
Tip #4. Check out the anchor text
The anchor text of a link can also have a massive impact on the quality of a link.
Anchor text and its impact on SEO is a really big topic.
Now, fortunately for you, I actually have a video on this topic and you can check it out here:
But anyhow, for now, let’s just cover some of the brief things you need to keep in mind here.
Right, so, if you didn’t know, anchor text is just the text people see, when they’re looking at a link.
Here’s a graphic that breaks the whole concept down.
So, as you can see, the bit on the left is the actual URL, and the anchor text is the bit on the right.
The anchor text can be pretty much anything, and the only thing that remains the same is the actual URL of the page.
This backlink profile report from Ahrefs, highlights some common anchor text variations:
Ideally, you want the anchor text to be relevant to your niche. Or at least related to a keyword you’re trying to rank for.
This goes back to the relevance thing we touched upon earlier.
So, remember, Google is always trying to figure out how relevant a site is in relation to a certain search term/phrase.
One way they do this is by looking at the backlinks of a website and going over the anchor text used for these links.
If the backlinks have anchor text that relates to a certain niche/keyword, Google can figure out what a site is about, and this then helps them rank the site properly.
So, with that in mind, a high-quality link would essentially be a link that has anchor text that is relevant to your niche/a keyword that you want to rank for.
But, you need to be careful here, and you can’t just take this idea and run with it.
That’s because Google cracks down on websites that abuse this anchor text system. For example, there’s a certain kind of anchor text known as ‘exact match’ anchor text.
This is basically a link with anchor text that matches an exact keyword you’re trying to rank for.
So, imagine you sell boats, and you want to rank for the term ‘buy boats.’ In this case, an exact match anchor here would be “buy boats.”
Now, this form of anchor text can be very powerful, but having links like this can be very dangerous too.
Well, because Google started to crack down on sites that had lots of exact match anchor text when they released something called the ‘Penguin’ update.
When this update came out, high-traffic sites that had lots of exact match anchor text, basically lost rankings pretty much in an instant.
So, because Google doesn’t like websites that have lots of exact match anchor text, you should mix things up a bit.
Of course, you might now think you have to lower the ‘quality’ of your links, by using ‘worse’ anchor text, and you might not be happy about this.
This is fair, and you might have a point there.
But look, at the end of the day, it’s better to dampen the power of your links a little bit, if it protects you from a penalty.
If you abuse the way anchor text works, you might have nice results for a couple of months, but then BAM, you’re gonna be hit with a penalty and you’ll be back to square one.
By the way, if you have any questions about anchor text, please drop a comment relating to your question, and I’ll try to answer it!
Right, so that’s the end of this video!
You should now hopefully have a decent understanding of how you can judge the quality of a link.
There’s a lot of info to take in here, but once you get your head around everything, this will all become second nature to you. Meaning you’ll just be able to look at a backlink and judge its quality in a matter of seconds.