What Qualifies a Backlink as a High Quality Backlink?

Last updated: July 26, 2016

Obtaining backlinks means links from other websites to your website.

It is a tried and tested method to improve rankings for your site.

There are a few caveats, as backlinks are not all the same.

Some backlinks will not enhance your rankings and if you get it wrong, they may have a negative impact.

I always recommend that you only get high quality backlinks.

What determines backlinks that are high quality is an arguable point.

It is generally accepted that good quality backlinks will have several features.

The more of these points that satisfied by a backlink the nearer it is to a good backlink.

To get a perfect link profile with the best backlinks only is not possible in the real world.

Just because a backlink does not tick all the boxes it does not mean its low quality.

Getting a backlink to your business’s website that is good can be hard.

If you can meet a few of the requirements it can still be an asset to you.

From a relevant source

The primary goal of search engines is relevance, the quality of a backlink is part of the algorithm used.

Google checks backlinks, this is why they are so important in determining a sites rank in the results.

The relevance ascribed by search engines to a backlink is dependent on several points:-

  1. The relevance of the site
  2. The relevance of the page
  3. The relevance of the content immediately surrounding the link

Drives traffic

The ability of backlinks to drive visitors to your site from another page that is relevant is useful.

Backlinks are important in the Googles algorithm for determining rankings of your website.

People still use links to navigate by clicking on the text to navigate to your site. So high quality pages on sites that get a lot of traffic can increase visitors.

From a reputable trusted source

It makes sense that you are more likely to get a high quality backlink from a high quality website.

A high quality website is trustworthy.

Base seed sites like the “BBC or “Wikipedia” represent domains that are high quality.

Established high quality content providers do not give away links without merit.

By determining how many steps (links) your site is away from trusted “seed” sites is useful.

The more trust will inferred to your site, the higher the quality the links to it are considered.

In-content links

Relevant links to the topic of your site are of greater value.

Backlinks in the body of an article or paragraph are better than links in the footer or side bar of the page.

Links that appear nearer to the top of the page or content and embedded in the main body of the page look natural.

And can suggest that the author of the page included them in the article.


Reciprocal links are classed as those where you link to a site and in return, they link back to you. This easily abused link metric has largely been devalued by search engines. There will not necessarily be a penalty applied to this type of link but it will not benefit you as much as backlinks from the highest quality sites, so try to get links from websites you are not linking to.

Anchor link text

Another factor that influences the relevance, importance and quality of the backlink is if the text that is clickable is contextual to the topic of your website and is relevant to the keywords you are trying to improve you rankings for. If you gain a lot of links with an “exact match” anchor, text this can indicate to search engines that something unnatural is occurring. By varying the anchor, text and using generic clickable terms such that semantically related to your topic as the link text.

Proximity to backlinks to important websites

Getting backlinks to your businesses website from a page that has links to authority sites on the same topic and in close proximity suggests that your site is relevant and it suggests to search engines that your site is also high quality. Getting links from low quality sites is does not automatically work in the opposite fashion, but these types of links could possibly have a negative influence on ranking.
From a page with PageRank

A backlink from a page with PageRank is a simple way to determine the importance of the backlink. A page with higher PR can give a basic indication of quality. Google does not display the PageRank to end users so it’s not possible to reliably determine a web-pages PageRank, and in the fast moving world of the internet having up to date information that is not months out of date is important.

From a different IP addresses to already gained backlinks

Getting higher rankings for you website can be helped by obtaining links from unique IP or domain names (different websites) It is to your advantage to obtain links from multiple domains rather than lots of links from one website. Obtain links to your businesses website from high quality websites that you do not already have links from.

Less backlinks on the page

The amount of links on a page will have an impact on the value and importance of that backlink, the amount of trust is divided among all the links on the page, so fewer links means the trust is divided between fewer recipients and is not diluted by too many links. So pages with less outgoing links can provide stronger links, especially when considering the other factors mentioned on this page.

Difficulty in acquisition

If you can get the backlink easy then it is probably not as valuable as a difficult to obtain link, If you review your competitors backlink profile and then set out to replicate it you will out SEO your competitor if you mimic and then improve upon their strategy.

Not purchased

Purchased links may have a positive impact on your rankings but they do inherently carry a risk so they cannot truly be classified as high quality backlinks.