8 Characteristics of High Quality Links

High Quality Links

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Posted by: Jahnelle Pittman-Seaman

SEOs talk a lot about “high quality” links. “High quality links are a great way to gain traffic and site authority”. Do they ever explain what defines “high quality”? Are you frustrated by trying to figure what this elusive breed of link is? In this article, we’re taking away the frustration by sharing eight characteristics for true, all-around, high quality links. Here they are, in no particular order:

1. Follow/NoFollow: Preferably, you want links with the “follow” attribute. If you’re only worried about higher traffic, the follow/no follow attribute isn’t an issue, but for higher keyword ranking and PR, “follow” sites are of higher quality.

2. Few competing links: The fewer the links on the page going to other sites, the better. Even though your mother taught you to share, in the case of link building, being stingy is the best way to be.

3. High PageRank: The higher the PR of the page itself (not the site), the better. Pages with high PR indicate to the search engines that your site bears attention. As well, if a higher PR is your goal, it will take a greater amount of low PR sites linking to raise your rank than it will high PR sites. Don’t snub your nose at low PR sites, though; low PR sites have the potential to become high quality links and, in some instances, can bring a lot of traffic.

4. Relevant to your site: Although the site linking to yours is important, pay close attention to the actual page. Is the linking page relevant to your linked site page? For instance, if your page is about hearing aids and a hearing aid website links to yours, that’s great. However, if the page with your link actually has “hearing aids” in the text, title and meta tags, it gives the link more relevance.

5. Contain your keyword: One of the most common mistakes in link building is to use www.mysite.com as the anchor text (i.e. the actual words you click on). Most businesses will already rank well for their name and website address. If keyword ranking is one of your goals, it’s especially important that you pay careful attention to the text used to link to your page. The word(s) should be the keyword(s) you targeted on your page.

6. Links to specific pages: Contrary to popular opinion, most visitors don’t come to your website through the home page. As well, you don’t want only your home page ranking in the search engine results. If you’ve used your keywords correctly, each page will have a different set; optimally, you want each page to rank well for their keyword set. Preferably, you want high quality links that point to specific, relevant pages on your site, not just your home page.

7. High traffic: The more traffic the linking site gets, the better chance you have of gaining more traffic. Of course, high traffic sites generally expect something in return, such as excellent content that can genuinely help their visitors who follow the link to your site.

8. One way: Reciprocal links, where you have a link to the site and that site links to you, is like swapping gum. Unless the site has a higher PR than yours, or higher ranking with your keyword, they don’t give much benefit unless your purpose is specifically just traffic; in this case, they may give tons of benefit. Otherwise, you’re basically swapping authority. One way links, where the site only links to yours, gives the best benefit in terms of ranking and authority.

The above characteristics generally leave out directory and article submissions, practices that are slowly falling out of the “mainstream” anyway, due to overuse and abuse. Don’t leave them out of your link building campaign, but do be extremely meticulous about the submission sites you choose, as well as the specific page (for directories) your link is on.

As you begin (or continue) your link building campaign, keep these characteristics in mind. Research potential sites using the characteristics as a guideline. With high quality links, you can create a truly fantastic campaign with excellent return on the time invested.

Comments (8)

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    redmond movers Reply

    In the SEO market, I am guessing that Dofollow and Nofollow is probably the most important factor in place.

    June 30, 2010 at 1:31 pm
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    Vancouver SEO Reply

    High quality links that satisfy all the about are hard to get now, especially from blog commenting.

    August 25, 2010 at 1:54 pm
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      Gabriella Reply

      Ha! you telling me! LOLOL Link building has become one of the worst parts of SEO. I bet if you did a poll that would be the number one thing all SEO providers will tell you. Not only is it time consuming but it’s not easy when things are constantly changing with search & it’s various stealth information no one is allowed to know. But, one high quality link form a .gov or a .edu can make all the difference in the world. Granted it depends on the link the content etc. Just thinking out loud. 🙂

      August 25, 2010 at 2:33 pm
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    keepkalm internet marketing Reply

    Pop quiz!

    Does Google index a link that has the nofollow tag?

    No fair searching the answer….

    December 2, 2010 at 3:02 pm
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    Matthew Egan Reply

    SEO has changed so much. Many people think optimizing your website content and changing meta tags is all you need. However, quality “white hat” SEO link building is an essential part of the puzzle. You can spam blogs and pay for links but Google will recognize that pattern and penalize the value of that link to your website.

    August 4, 2011 at 10:54 am
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    Brian Reply

    I’ve been reading a lot of SEO e-books and blog post lately and i understand why its highly advisable to link from Do-Follow sites. However, i’m quite confuse why outgoing links matter. I believe we can check outgoing links by installing a plugin in Firefox. Right? Can you give me a ball park figure for the ideal outgoing links? I look forward to your response and thank you very much.

    November 29, 2011 at 5:56 am
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    Andrea Reply

    Link building just takes some effort. If you work hard enough you can build quality links all over the web!

    May 29, 2012 at 7:48 am
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      Gabriella Reply

      Hello Andrea, yes it does. It’s also imperative to keep in mind site owners will either approve or reject your comments, depending on how blatant you are in your link building efforts. While we still contend that earning links is the best organic method, we’re also cognisant of other methods that have yet to get snagged by Google. Thanks for pitching in.

      May 29, 2012 at 8:24 am

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8 Characteristics of High Quality Links