Backlinks play an important role in where and how websites rank in the search engines. Google, Bing, Yahoo and even some of the smaller second-tiered search engines use them as a ranking signal. If you are hoping to optimize your website for a higher search ranking, though, you should focus on acquiring high-quality backlinks.

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One indication of a source with high-quality backlinks is relevancy. In other words, is the content on the source page relevant to your website? If you operate an e-commerce website that sells aftermarket car parts, you probably don’t want links from fashion or health-relates sources. A more effective approach is to acquire links from sources with content centering around automobiles, such as car blogs and forums. Search engines pay close attention to the relevancy (or lack thereof) between a webpage and its links.


Low # of Outbound Links

How many outbound links does the page have? If a page is filled with hundreds of links, such as the case involving blogs with unmoderated comments, Google may view it as being spam; thus, creating a link here would yield little-to-no value. Furthermore, the SEO value of pages with an excessive number of links is greatly diminished.


High PageRank

Named after Google’s co-founder Larry Page, PageRank (PR) is an algorithm that Google uses to rank websites in its index. Each page is given a 0-10 PR based on the quantity and quality of its backlinks. A popular webpage with a strong portfolio of backlinks will receive a higher PR than a webpage with few-to-no quality backlinks. When choosing backlink sources, focus your efforts on high-PR pages. Creating a backlink on a PR 5 webpage will prove far more valuable than a PR 0 or PR 1 webpage.


Low Alexa Rating

Something else to consider when choosing backlinks sources is the Alexa Rating. Unlike PageRank, the lower the Alexa Rating, the better. This rating is used to measure the total amount of traffic that a website receives. Google, for instance, has an Alexa Rating of 1 because it’s received more traffic than any other website. When searching for backlink opportunities, look for sites with a low Alexa Rating.


Non-Paid Links

Google has cracked down on paid links in recent years, penalizing offending websites. Getting a “package” of high-PR, low-Alexa backlinks for $50 bucks may sound enticing, but you have to ask yourself if it’s worth the risk. Sure, the links may go undetected, bolstering your site a couple positions up in the search engines, but it could also attract a penalty – or worse, result in your site being deindexed altogether.


You can learn more about paid links and other link schemes by checking out Google’s support page here.