One of the most demanding things about SEO is getting quality links that will help you rank higher on search engines.
Not all links are valuable, and it’s not easy to identify what is good and not. In addition, no one wants to spend their precious time on link-building only to find out that they’re doing it wrong.
This post will help you understand the difference between a link that contributes to search engine optimization (SEO) and one that doesn’t.
Let’s look at some characteristics of good links for SEO and some links to avoid! After reading this, you’ll know what kind of backlinks to target.
- What is a good link?
- Characteristics of good links
- 3 Types of Links to Avoid
- Ready to Start Building Links?
What is a good link?
A good link can improve your SEO and drive traffic to your site. It’s helpful to your website’s search rankings, and it doesn’t violate any of the search engine’s guidelines.
Good links are more challenging to obtain because they are from relevant and trustworthy websites. You can only get them if your content is high-quality and valuable enough to link to.
To help you understand good links better, here are some of their characteristics:
Characteristics of good links
Links from credible sites
Credible sites don’t practice link farming and other link-building strategies that Google doesn’t like. They apply white hat SEO techniques and provide high-quality, relevant, and accurate content to their audience.
Getting links from credible sites can have a huge impact on how Google and other search engines perceive your website. Your pages will rank higher if you have quality backlinks (from sites that Google trusts).
At the same time, including links pointing to a credible site can also help with your page SEO.
Links from websites with high domain authority
Most web pages with a good DA (domain authority) are reliable. They are usually established and receive a high level of trust from their users. Obtaining links from these websites can also boost your page rankings.
If you want to check any website’s domain authority for free, use Ubersuggest’s Traffic Overview. It also provides other important data, such as backlinks and organic traffic.
Links that are relevant to the topic or niche
This characteristic isn’t only for backlinks but also other kinds such as internal and external links.
Although the site’s credibility and DA are important, you shouldn’t only focus on those two. Google also emphasizes the importance of link relevance. It’s no use including bad links that lead nowhere or to unrelated sites.
Google and other search engines use links to understand websites better and index them properly. If you link to sites not related to your niche or the topic you’re talking about, it will only confuse Google and help your website.
At the same time, getting backlinks from credible pages not related to the content of your page won’t do any good.
Links from Fresh Content
As a page content gets older, the linking power it has declines.
To provide the best and freshest content on the search results, Google launched the Google Freshness algorithm in 2010.
Links from fresh, new, and updated content will always be greater than older links. It is because search engines value websites that are constantly reforming their content.
Moreover, the more frequently the website updates its content, the more web crawlers can index and update its ranking.
So when outreaching to websites, consider how often they update their content and links. But, also remember to improve yours.
Search engines are also in favor of websites that uses links naturally within their post. To do this, you may use anchor texts.
Let’s determine what anchor texts are:
Anchor texts are titles or short phrases used as links on a page. They are usually blue and underlined. Once you click an anchor text, a new page will open.
When link building, it’s important to use different types of anchor texts, so it looks more natural to Google. However, not all kinds of anchor texts are good to use.
Anchor texts to avoid
Avoid using naked URLs, generic and irrelevant texts as they don’t sound natural and won’t be good for SEO. Naked URL refers to links that use the exact URL of the page—for example, https://neilpatel.com/.
On the other hand, generic or irrelevant anchor texts are common words not connected to the link’s content or website’s niche. Some best examples are this link, read this, click here.
Anchor texts to use
To achieve natural-looking hyperlinks, you may use a combination of diluted, branded, exact match, and relevant anchor texts.
Here are their definition and examples:
- Diluted. Anchor texts that include related and non-related words. Example: ‘what are the must-have gadgets in 2021’ for Esquire’s blog post: The Smartest Gadgets a Man Can Buy in 2021.
- Branded. The exact name of the website or software. Example: ‘Ahrefs’ or ‘Google Keyword Planner.’
- Exact match. Uses a keyword that matches the site’s purpose—for example, using the word “investment” or “finance” to finance blogs like Investopedia.
- Semantic. Words relevant to your target keyword. For example, your target keyword is “organic traffic,” some relevant anchor text you can use are “search volume,” “lead generation,” and “organic search.”
This can happen to your backlinks as well. Ensure that you check the anchor texts used by websites linking to you. Google Search Console is a free platform you can use to assess your backlink profile.
NOTE: Although using keywords for anchor text is okay, you should do it in moderation. The Penguin update of the Google algorithm may flag your links as spam if you keep using the same word as your anchor text.
Links located inside of the content
Your links are stronger if they are inside the post’s content rather than your author bio, footer, or sidebar. These links are known as “contextual links.”‘
Google knows that the possibility of visitors clicking links within the content is higher than the rest of the page, so they put more value to them than those located in other areas.
It’s important to note this when you’re guest blogging. Build a good strategy so you can include a link from your site inside the copy, but ensure that it is relevant to your topic and beneficial to readers.
Links that are from various websites
Although it’s good to score a link from a credible page, it won’t make much difference if you’re getting backlinks only from that particular one. No matter how many they are.
Links from a diverse range of websites are more valuable. It’s because link diversity shows that your website is popular and interesting enough for different types of people to link to it.
3 Types of Links to Avoid
Paid or Unnatural Links
Link building should be done naturally and within the boundaries of Google’s guidelines. Paid links and link schemes, usually from unrelated sites, might cause you penalties from search engines resulting in a drop in rankings or de-indexed pages.
Links from spam sites are considered toxic and may harm your page ranking. Even worse, Google can also penalize your website whether you’re consciously involved or not.
Spammy links are also considered low-quality links and often come from websites with duplicate content, poor structure, and low domain score.
Links to and from Link Farms
Link farming is another SEO strategy that Google hates. Link farms are websites created to increase the ranking of a particular site by linking it to and from pages available inside the link farms. It’s manipulation, and engaging in this practice only does more harm than good.
Most websites in link farm often contain irrelevant links, and although it may work for a short period, it won’t be long until web crawlers discover this black hat technique.
Your site may get penalized by Google and removed from their search engine results pages (SERPs).
Ready to Start Building Links?
Now that you know how to identify good and bad links, it’s time to create a better link-building strategy!
First things first, though— don’t forget to build quality content on your website! Once you have high-quality, valuable, and relevant posts, start looking for credible websites with good domain scores and incoming links. Build links only within relevant pages so you won’t waste your efforts.
Make the Most Out of Link Building Using the Best Tools!
Search for link prospects, conduct backlink research, monitor link profile, and more!