This Is What Makes a High-Quality Backlink

Jun 9, 2021

<a href="" target="_self">Matt Bertram</a>

Matt Bertram

Matt Bertram is a award-winning marketing consultant and SEO Expert. He is the lead digital strategist at EWR Digital. Host of the Best SEO Podcast and Co-Host of the Oil and Gas sales and marketing podcast.

A high-quality backlink is the equivalent of SEO gold. Backlinks are essentially votes of confidence from other sites. They let readers know that you’re a trusted and informative source and let search engines know that your website has value.

However, there’s a significant difference between good backlinks and bad backlinks. The difference between good and bad backlinks will affect your website’s rankings, so it’s important to build as many quality backlinks as possible.

So, what are high-quality backlinks, and how do you get them? 

What Exactly Is a Backlink?

The concept behind backlinks is simple. A backlink is created when one website links to another and vice versa. Backlinks are also referred to as “external links,” “inbound links,” or “incoming links,” and they’re critical to your site’s traffic stats.

For example, when you’re reading through blog content, and you see various links bound to anchor texts—those are backlinks. Another example is when you Google a business’s profile and a “visit website” button. You’ll come across a multitude of backlinks as you surf the web, and they can make or break your SEO efforts.

That’s why the challenge is getting quality backlinks.

There Are Three Types of Backlinks

Not all backlinks are created equal. To get on the right track with setting up high-quality backlinks for your site, you need to have a deeper understanding of backlinks as a whole. In the eyes of Google’s ever-changing algorithm, there are three types of backlinks: low-quality, medium-quality, and high-quality.

Low-quality backlinks are viewed as Webspam, which goes against Google’s guidelines. However, Webspam is sneaky, and it typically consists of fake links aimed at manipulating the system.

Medium-quality links usually offer some value and are much easier to get than high-quality links. However, they won’t do much for your SEO efforts. Medium-quality links come from websites that provide valuable and informative content but aren’t considered a high domain authority and don’t carry much relevance to your website.

A high-quality backlink offers the most value but is very difficult to achieve because Google has much higher standards for these backlinks. Additionally, it must come from a website with prominent domain authority, like YouTube, Reddit, Google My Business, etc. Finally, it must also come from a website or web page relevant to your business or niche.

The Fundamentals of a High-Quality Backlink

SEO Backlink - EWR Digital

The makings of a high-quality backlink are rather subjective for having such high standards, and it’s uncertain how search engines measure these backlinks.

However, the measurements are certainly based on the following fundamentals:


As we’ve mentioned, domain authority is essential to a high-quality backlink. Suppose a renowned website has backlinks to your site. In that case, it means that your website is putting out valuable and trustworthy information—the result—an increase in your organic traffic and conversion rates.

Think of it as an endorsement. If someone with a large following mentions your name, product, or service, it’ll influence their followers to turn their attention to you. This is exactly what you want from this.


Additionally, these links are also reputable. That means in addition to being authoritative, the website externally linking you must also have a good reputation.

Today’s search engines check the credibility of web pages now. For example, Google has an algorithm dedicated to measuring a website’s reputation known as PageRank. PageRank works by taking an inventory of quality links to a certain web page to estimate the page’s importance.

So, the higher the estimated number, the more important a webpage is. Incidentally, the more high-quality backlinks a webpage gets, the more likely it’ll rank for competitive keywords.


Search engines measure relevancy similar to how it calculates the authority and reputation of a website. They check for the relevancy of both the webpage and the domain of the backlink. A high-quality backlink must be relevant to the site of the niche or business it’s referring to and the subject being discussed on the page using it.

For example, your website’s niche has to do with culinary arts—cooking, flavor profiles, recipes, you name it. A popular business news website puts out a post about food and wine pairings, featuring your website in its backlinks. The website’s relevancy to the backlink would benefit your page.

However, if the website in question is about business advice, there wouldn’t be any domain relevancy. Additionally, if your website got a feature from a popular culinary domain, the relevance would be even greater, as well as your chances of ranking for competitive keywords.


“Unnatural backlinks” are a real thing. They serve the purpose of convincing search engines that a website is important when it has a poor reputation. If Google reads a backlink as unnatural or spam, it’ll usually demote the website by lowering its ranking value.

Unnatural backlinks can be accidentally created if the person writing the content doesn’t understand the concept of linking an anchor text. In addition, in some cases, backlinks are bought, which can also result in a demotion.

All backlinks should be natural. That means the website owner or content writer chooses to link to your site. This is also referred to as “earning a backlink” because your website was chosen based on its merit and value.

Balancing the Fundamentals of a High-Quality Backlink

Backlink - EWR Digital

To gain high-quality backlinks, all the fundamentals must have balance. Using the example of the business advice website featuring your culinary arts website, you can better understand how to tip the backlink building scales in your favor.

We already know that the relevancy isn’t there, and let’s say for argument’s sake that its reputation has an average standing. Is this the making of a bad backlink?

Not necessarily.

The business advice site chose to write a topic about wine and food pairing. Therefore, the links to your page still carry the appropriate relevancy, which also makes them natural. This certainly won’t hurt your rankings, but will it help?

Again, not necessarily.

The lack of balance between domain authority and relevancy is what makes this a medium-quality backlink. It’s not breaking any of Google’s guidelines, so it’s not a bad or low-quality backlink. However, it’s not a high-quality backlink either since it’s not relevant enough or authoritative.

Additionally, the website’s reputation may not do much for your backlink profile. Of course, that could change eventually as Google’s algorithm changes. But, realistically, you’ll end up with a lot of medium-quality backlinks.

So, a high-quality backlink translates to a highly reputable, relevant, natural link that’s positioned as an authoritative and trustworthy source.

How to Earn High-Quality Backlinks

Knowing the fundamentals of high-quality backlinks is half the battle. Now you have to face the challenge of earning them. So, how do you go about making quality backlinks when nobody knows who you are?

Here are a few tips to get you started:

Become an Authoritative Source

Being the subject matter expertise in your niche is the backbone of your SEO efforts. That means you need to put out the most valuable, informative, and up-to-date content possible.

The more people you can get to trust your content, the more links you’ll garner. Keep in mind, however, they won’t all be high-quality links, but it’s a necessary start.

Build the Right Relationships

Building and leveraging relationships are your best bet at earning backlinks of high quality. Not only do you want to become the authority on your niche, but you also need people to know who you are. If they don’t know who you are, they won’t link to your website.

Start with public relations and get active on the preferred social media platform of your target audience. Once you open up a dialogue, you’ll start building meaningful relationships with both your audience and the domain authorities you’ve been scouting.

You can also try the Help a Reporter Out (HARO), depending on your niche. HARO is a platform that connects bloggers and journalists with people who need informative sources.

Get Competitive

Other writers only want to use pieces of content that are compelling. Once again, you need to produce valuable and informative content. The only problem is, you won’t be the only one doing so.

To create content that positions you above the rest of your competitors, you’re going to have to dig deep. That means doing keyword research and analyzing the competition’s content.

Provide Data and Infographics

Having original data that no one else has is a sure-fire way to earning high-quality backlinks. Not only will this make you an amazing resource, but other writers and content creators will have to link to your site to reference your data. The same goes for infographics. People love using infographics because they’re visual and easy to digest.

All you need to do is create an original study, collect the data, and get it published. Of course, the easiest way to do this is by putting together a survey and having people fill it out.

Focus on Earning High-Quality Backlinks

These backlinks are essential to the success of your SEO and your overall digital marketing campaign. Of course, you’ll need plenty of dedication and patience to earn them, but it’s worth the effort—especially when those conversion rates begin to increase.If your goal is to outsmart, outrank, and out convert the competition, then reach out to us today. We’ve been in the internet marketing solutions business for over 20 years, and we’ve got digital marketing down to a science.