You’ve probably been told a number of times how important backlinks are to the success of your business. Without backlinks, your website will never be found in Google, Yahoo! or Bing – simple enough to understand. But, there are millions of websites out there and any one of them can link to you – what makes one better than the next?
There are many factors to consider. Here are just a few things that boost the value of a backlink to your website:
- Relationship – How does the website relate to yours? Is it related to the topic of your website? If not, it is considerably less valuable. Look for websites that similar to yours in content and execution. Avoid websites that look poorly built or that offer a mishmash of content on various topics.
- Credibility – How credible does Google or Yahoo! consider your backlink to be? Is it from a free blogging network like Blogspot or is it a direct link from CNN or the New York Times? Source and credibility matter. Lower value links are not necessarily bad, but big time news sources and directories are much more valuable.
- Age – How old is the link and how old is the website on which the link is located?
- Page Rank – Does the website linking to you have a high Page Rank? What about the specific page on which your link is located?
- Placement – There is some disagreement about how much of an impact placement has on backlink value. However, if the backlink is in the first 20% of the page’s code, it’s more likely to be seen than if it’s at the bottom – this alone makes high page placement valuable.
- Paid vs. Organic – Finally, do you pay for your links? Google doesn’t want paid links affecting its search results. If it’s obvious you pay for a backlink, it won’t be as valuable for organic SEO.
What’s the Most Valuable?
With all of these details in mind, what are the most valuable backlinks on the Internet? A link directly from a website that ranks well for the keyword you are targeting. For example, if you’re trying to rank well for “nike air sneakers”, the best link you can get is on the front page of the number one site in Google for “nike air sneakers”.
Obviously, this isn’t always possible. Affiliate marketing sites rarely achieve the echelon of success needed to appear on top tier sites like Nike.com or Amazon. But, by using these criteria to breakdown the value of a link – relevance, credibility, and placement – you can choose domains that provide far greater value than a forum profile link or a blog comment ever could. Don’t get too caught up in building a large number of backlinks at the expense of link quality.