There are two answers to the question “What determines if a link is high-quality?”
The short answer: A quality backlink is one that is highly relevant to your niche and/or location, is from a credible, reputable source, and represents a natural and genuine relationship of sharing information. A good backlink should contribute positively to your web page’s organic position in the search results.
The long answer: While relevance is far and above the most important measuring stick for quality, link-building tactics must be considered when building links to a website. The following are a few of the most important factors that affect the quality of a backlink:
- Referral traffic
- Page position
- Followed vs. Nofollowed, USG and Sponsored
- Anchor text
As far as general understanding goes, it should be known that Google was the first search engine in the world to display its search results based on the backlinks that a page had acquired. The formula they created is called PageRank and it is still in use today.
The old concept of PageRank is that the importance of a page was determined by how many other websites were sharing it. In other words, the search engine counted the websites that were linking to the page. If you had the most links-you showed up first. The theory was it is far more likely that an extremely useful page that is popular will be shared more times than one that people do not value or spend time on.
This practice was quickly manipulated to rank websites to the top of Google.
Today, it’s still true that backlinks give your page more power to outrank other pages without them. However, the evolution of PageRank has come to include more variables when determining the value of a backlink.
Here is a visualization of PageRank where the larger websites have larger values because more website link to them. A link from these websites would count for more than a link from the smaller, lesser-known websites.
Why is there a long answer to what makes a link good link?
There’s a long answer to the question “What determines if a link is high-quality?” because it’s hard to find links that have everything you want. Even if you do, it’s not one link that will make or break your ranking.
You need a lot of backlinks.
When you develop a strong backlink profile, you can use links from different websites for different purposes.
Some links can be used to boost your authority.
Some links can be used to boost your relevance.
Some links can be used to refer traffic and highly qualified leads to your website.
Some links can provide all of these but it’s very rare. This is why a link-building strategy is necessary and also why SEO takes time.
Click here for our detailed article on what makes a good backlink.