While the scope of SEO has expanded considerably over the past few years, backlinks remain a core activity. Backlinks are still very much a big deal in SEO. Offsite SEO development is almost entirely dependent on the quality of backlinks. A general rule to follow is, the more backlinks you have and the better their quality, the higher you’ll rank. The debate on high-quality links vs low-quality links is almost as intense as the centurylink vs cox one. Luckily we can help you with that.
Why build Links?
Link building is one of the core strategies in the overall SEO plan. It revolves around getting different, usually relevant web pages to link to other websites. This is done by applying hyperlinks to your own site after acquiring them from other websites or web pages. Links act as a signal, letting search engines like Google know that your site is a credible resource that can be cited. Sites with more backlinks send more quality resource signals to Google, earning higher rankings. Links also help visitors on your website to navigate between different pages on the internet.
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What is the difference between them?
It is an unfortunate fact, but the reality is not all backlinks are equal. High-quality backlinks are a very valuable resource for your business. They will improve your authority, reputation and ultimately your visibility on search engines. On the other hand, backlinks with lower quality can have the opposite effect. They can earn penalties, lower your authority and decrease your search engine visibility. Ultimately, they will negate your SEO efforts. Knowing the difference between the two can be of significant benefit to your business. We have selected five specific areas in which the differences can be outlined. They are:
- Source of Backlinks
- The intention behind building Backlinks
- Structure of Backlinks
- Type of Backlinks
- Frequency of Linking
Each section features a specific aspect of link building and how it affects your SEO. Here’s a brief outline of how high and low-quality backlinks differ in these areas.
Source of Backlinks
The most obvious indicator of your backlink’s quality is the source you use to build it. The lower the quality of the source site, the lower the quality of the backlink. Posting links on poor, disreputable or low-ranking websites can negatively impact your SEO efforts. Similarly, you will get penalized attempting to post on sources that try to manipulate Google’s rankings.
Another point to consider is relevancy. Unrelated sources can make your backlink qualify as low quality. The opposite is true for high-quality backlinks. Higher quality sources translate into higher quality backlinks. Sources like .edu,.gov or other credible sites are high-quality sources. Authoritative sites that are well-known like Wikipedia are also good sources. From the relevancy standpoint, links from industry-specific websites will normally be considered relevant and therefore high quality.
Intentions behind building Backlinks
Google can tell why you are building specific links, and can, therefore, take into account your intentions while building links. If Google determines that a link is only attached to inflate traffic artificially then it will be treated as low quality. If your intention is to build links to improve rankings or domain authority, Google will know. The biggest intention behind links of high quality is not to improve or manipulate ranks. Instead, they are built keeping in mind specific, valuable purposes. These can be to elaborate information, establish credibility, connect other sites to increase value, citations or even expand content. Your intention while building links will determine if they are low or high quality.
Structure of Backlinks
The structure of a specific link is closely tied in with the intention of creating that link. A good working example is links posted in blog comments. If there is no context to the comment, the link will most probably be treated as spam. High-quality links are structured better than this, usually reputable. This is done by framing them in a context that gives information. In the same blog comments example, if the link is part of an explanation or guest blog, the link will be treated as high quality. Remember, the structure of your link relates very closely to your intentions mentioned in the previous paragraph.
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Type of Backlinks
If you’re relying on the same two common link destinations, it will be treated as a bad link. The same goes if you’re posting the same link, like the link to your landing page, everywhere. The diversity of the links you use tends to increase link quality. Constantly directing traffic to the same destination is likely to earn you a penalty. On the other hand, high-quality links will direct traffic to specific pages, specific information, and specific functions.
Frequency of linking
The final point of distinction between a high and low-quality backlink is the frequency with which you post it. Posting links multiple times every day on the same source will get them treated as spam. Using multiple sources can have much the same effect. Google will see a sudden boost in your backlinks without explanation, and will probably consider them spam. High-quality links tend to be posted with a reasonable frequency. Their posting is usually spread out, and never spammed on the same source multiple times.
Benefits of Link Building to Businesses
As emphasized above, building high-quality links gives a big boost to your Google rankings. That is perhaps the most significant benefit of link building. But by no means is it the only benefit. Some of the more obvious benefits of high-quality link building efforts are:
- Links help businesses build relationships with other businesses. Link building involves reaching out to other businesses and exchanging information about products, services, prices, and promotions. This can help you build lasting relationships with businesses that complement your product or service offering.
- High-quality links can have a huge impact on your brand building efforts. As we discussed above, links add credibility to a website and to a business. With good-quality links to good-quality, relevant content, you can create an image of authority or expertise in your field or industry. You can use this to highlight the qualities of your business, product or service.
- High-quality links also tend to bring in substantial referral-based business. With high rankings comes an increase in traffic to your website or web page. If your website is linked to a popular and credible website, some of the visitors will end up on your website. This increased traffic means increased conversions and maybe even repeat customers!
The bottom line in this debate is quite simple, unlike a debate on frontier vs spectrum, which involves more uncertainty. Quite simply, low-quality links serve no higher function other than increasing a site’s incoming traffic. On the other hand, high-quality links are meant to improve the overall user experience on a website. Building high-quality links result in a significant improvement to rankings over a period of time. High-quality links also help build B2B relationships and bring in referrals that can be converted into sales. Consistently high-quality links also go a long way to helping your brand building efforts. Hopefully, this blog will have cleared up a lot of confusion between high and low-quality links. Share any insights you have with us in the comments below.