All Collections
Site Explorer
What makes a high-quality backlink?
What makes a high-quality backlink?

Find out about the 5 factors that make a high-quality backlink.

May avatar
Written by May
Updated over a week ago

There are some common indicators of a backlink being high quality. Please note that no one can tell you exactly how search engines measure the quality of backlinks. The following information is based on our research and experience.

There are five general concepts of evaluating links that the SEO community believes to be true:

Five attributes of a good backlink

1. Authority

You can estimate how much of “link juice” that any backlink gives by the authority of a particular page that links to you — its URL Rating (UR). As a general rule, a link from a high authority site will be more powerful than a link from a low authority one.

At Ahrefs, we use the Domain Rating (DR) metric to measure an overall website authority.

The number of outgoing links a referring page has, matters

A backlink from a referring domain that also links to hundreds of other URLs will be sharing less "link juice" to your website compared to a website with just a few outgoing links.

Do-follow links are preferable

If a backlink has a rel=”nofollow” attribute attached to it, it most likely doesn’t cast a “vote” toward a website that it links to.

2. Relevance

Links from websites (and pages) on the same topic will have more weight in the eyes of Google than links from completely unrelated websites or pages. But this doesn’t mean that you should avoid getting links from websites that aren’t on exactly the topic as yours.

For example, it would be perfectly natural for fitness websites to link to articles about food nutrition, or other self-improvement topics.

However, while a link from a mildly relevant page does not hurt, it will not help to build a link from a page that has no reason to mention your page or website.

3. Anchor text

In general, the anchor text, as well as the text that surrounds it, should be topic-relevant. Google uses the words in and around the anchor text to better understand what the referenced page is about and what keywords it deserves to rank for.

Use all types of anchor text

It is not recommended to force all your backlinks to explicitly only contain your brand name, or a specific topic. If you do so, there's a chance that Google will suspect manipulation and penalise you for that. Referring websites will naturally use a combination of anchor text types to backlink to you.

You can find our full research about Anchor text here.

4. Placement

The most valuable backlinks are those editorially placed somewhere within the content (i.e. not in the footer or sidebar). Basically, if website owners refer to your page in a highly visible position in the page, it signals to Google a more valuable vote of confidence. Plus, it can also improve chances that a visitor to that page sees the link, and clicks on it.

5. Destination

When building links to your website, there are three general destinations where you can point them:

  1. Your homepage.

  2. The actual pages that you want to rank well in Google (aka "Money pages")

Usually, the actual pages you want to rank are not naturally the pages people want to link to. That’s because website owners generally prefer to link to pages that give informational or functional value to their readers, rather than pages that are directly pitching a product to them.

So the strategy that experienced SEOs usually suggest is to make linkable assets that attract high quality links, and then have those pages link to the pages you want to rank. This transfers some of that “link authority” to your Money pages.

💡 The above information is an except from our beginner's guide on How to build backlinks. We recommend to read the full guide if you are new to Link building.

Further guides on how to build high-quality backlinks

Related help articles:

Did this answer your question?