Getting High Quality Inbound Links

Not all inbound links are the same. Some links will get indexed more quickly than others, and some will carry more weight towards your Link Reputation and rankings than others.

When it comes to your link building strategy, you want to focus on the quality of your backlinks over
just the quantity or number of links you can get.

The first thing we'll look at is how to define quality and which types of links carry more weight than others (and why), and then we'll look at ways you can easily get those quality inbound links pointing to your pages...

The Quality of a Link

In addition to the quality of each individual backlink, your links are graded as a whole. This is why effective link building requires a variety of link types, and sources for inbound links. You are building a network, a navigation system, and that network of links and connections will be judged- not just on a link by link basis.

Factors that go into scoring the quality of a backlink include:

  • Anchor Text
    Your anchor text should define the page you're linking to, and should be the same or relevant to the keyword phrases you used to optimize that page. Anchor text is simply the text that is hyperlinked to your URL.
  • Relevance of Linked Pages
    Two pages that are linked together should be related, or relevant to each other. The goal is to interlink related content across the web, with purpose.
  • Link Location
    Links within the content area of a page carry more weight than links in static areas such as the navigation, sidebar, footer, etc. A contextual link is the highest quality link placement you can get on a page.
  • Number of Outbound Links
    The total number of links on the page affect how much weight, or link juice, each outgoing link will receive. A link on a page with fewer outbound links will carry more weight. It will result in a higher click-through rate (CTR) as well, since there are fewer choices for visitors to click.
  • Their Inbound Links
    If the page link to you has a good number of high quality inbound links, this will give your link on their page more weight. Seek out quality web pages with solid link structure for link placement.
  • Follow/NoFollow
    While I subscribe to the rule of thinking that you should obtain any quality link from a relevant source that has the potential to send targeted (human) traffic to your page... for the purpose of obtaining the highest quality inbound links, you'll want to get a good number of links that do not have the NoFollow attribute.
  • PageRank
    I put this at the bottom of the list intentionally. What most people know as PageRank is really only Toolbar PageRank (TBPR) and is not actual PageRank. That said, it's common practice to use the toolbar to get inbound links from pages with "more green" or higher PageRank. A good rule of thumb is to avoid pages with a greyed out PageRank bar (which means the page has been penalized).

Considering every single one of these factors for every inbound link you are considering can be incredibly time consuming. It can also be very rewarding, in regards to search engine optimization.

You still need a variety of link types and link sources though. A good question to ask yourself, before placing or requesting a link, is: Does this link add value to the page? Real value. People value. If so, add link.

Patience & Aging

Link Building is not a one-day task. Even if you could get all of the inbound links you need in one sitting, they wouldn't all count right away. It takes time for your links to be found and indexed, so a little patience is required in the overall process.

Link Building is a gradual and ongoing task. You want to build your backlinks over time, and the value of those links will grow over time as well. An "aged link", or a link that has been there for awhile, carries more weight than a brand new link.

This appears natural to the search engines versus big shots of inbound links all at once, and then nothing new for months. Or 100 new inbound links this month, that disappear at the end of the month. Google knows the difference between a link that lasts a month or two (a purchased link) and a permanent, quality inbound link. πŸ˜‰

Regarding how long it can take for your inbound links to be found and indexed, or to show up in Yahoo's backlinks, that depends on how frequently the page (where your link is) gets spidered or crawled by the major search engines.

Tip: You can tell how recently Google has visited and cached a web page by clicking the "Cached" link beside the listing in the Google search results.

How to Get Quality Inbound Links

Given all these details, you can boil your task down to getting inbound links within the content area of a related quality web page. Ideally without the NoFollow attribute, and using your Primary Keyword Phrase as the anchor text.

How's that for simplifying it? πŸ˜€

Some of the easiest ways to obtain these types of high quality links include: Guest Blogging, Article Marketing, Testimonials, Interviews and Cross Blog Conversations.

Another idea, a bit more difficult to achieve, is "Link Bait" - or having something so interesting that people share it, blog about it, and link to it around the web.

We'll discuss each of these options in more detail, along with even more link building strategies and creative ideas for getting high quality backlinks, in upcoming posts in this series. Stay tuned!


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About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...moreΒ»


  1. webventures says

    Excellent post Lynn. There's still a lot of very bad or at best very basic advice going around and yet it doesn't actually take too much to get SEO right once you understand it.

    I hope you don't mind but I would also like to provide a link to some videos we've done recently which resonate with what you're saying here. (Just edit the link out if you want).

  2. Thank you - I love your videos. Particularly this one, explains it well:

  3. Excellent- as usual. This reminds me that when we write articles and post them places it's also a good idea to get some links back to those articles on the property that they are placed. (Maybe also submit the RSS feed to RSS directories?) That way the inbound link from that page has more weight.
    The point about link location is so true. "In content" links even if they are on a low Page Rank blog are considered high quality links. Of course if the blog is more authoritative the link has a lot more weight. Page segmentation will play a much larger role in the future making certain kinds of links less valuable.
    Great tutorial, Lynn- you're on a roll πŸ˜‰

    • Exactly - the link weight of the page linking to your "money page" is very important. This is one of the reasons it's so important to "promote your publicity" when you are interviewed or appear on a podcast or website. The more buzz you point to that page, the more weight your link there carries...

  4. [quote]Google knows the difference between a link that lasts a month or two (a purchased link) and a permanent, quality inbound link[/quote]

    its not only purchased links that all of a sudden disappear - I once commented on a blog which used a plugin to show the most active commentors. Although I only commented on two posts I was referred to from every page on the site (all of a sudden had 2,000 backlinks). When the blog didn't show interesting articles for me anymore, I didn't comment any longer and my links from that site disappeared the next month as soon as google had crawled that site again (Yahoo took a little longer to fully delete these backlings).

    Again a very well written post that is worth saving.
    Btw, I fully suppor tyour point regarding Follow/Nofollow above as we firstly provide content for people and only then for Search Engines.

  5. Web Development Company says

    Great Post as usual lynn! Do you have any idea that approximately, How much time takes the page gets spidered or crawled by the major search engines?

    • Each page or site is different, in regards to frequency of crawling. What determines the frequency is the frequency of updates or changes to that page. Blogs and forums are crawled frequently due to their ever-changing content. A static page about ABC Company rarely ever changes, and so its crawled a lot less frequently.

      Over time, the search engines determine how often they need to visit a domain or URL to keep the content in their database accurate and up-to-date. So the goal is to get a content link on a page that is crawled frequently, or to make sure you point fresh links to that page yourself so that your link on that page gets 'seen' and indexed more quickly.

      • Web Development Company says

        That means, it depends on the frequency of updates or changes to the content of that page. thanks for your reply,lynn.

  6. @Lynn I am looking over your all post that you write on link building and got really interesting.

    Here I have learned new things that the link within the text value more than link on other place. Thank you.

  7. I just wanted to point out your comment about "A good rule of thumb is to avoid pages with a greyed out PageRank bar (which means the page has been penalized)".

    From my understanding, this is not true. A greyed out PR bar can mean that the page is still not indexed, or that it's not included in the index (i.e. restriced by robots.txt). An example is this exact post, which got a greyed out PR-bar because it's so new it's not been indexed.

  8. very informative and well written post, mostly the link location part is very new to me .. i.e. content area of a page carry more weight than links in static areas such as the navigation

    • If you think about it, as a reader - that's the part of the page you focus on the most. If you are a frequent reader here for example, you probably ignore the header and sidebar and go right for the content when you arrive... which is what most people do.

      The search engines know these "hot spots" and have published heat maps that show the most viewed and clicked areas of a web page. And search engines cater to people, so this affects how they perceive the value of links and link placement...

      • yes i know the content area is the place where most visitors attention used to be.. but particularly the links on that place.. i.e. "hot spots" is more valuable than sidebar.. is very new and a very precious info for me.. thanks for that informative post and thanks for reply.

        well can u tell me something.. if I use an anchor text like
        "orkut scraps, images, greetings and glitters" .. should every keyword get the same weight.. or only the first one will get higher or total value.. but not the others ..

        I think you understand wants i mean..

        • Yes, I get your meaning πŸ™‚

          The anchor text needs to be the exact keyword phrase, otherwise your diluting your keyword phrase. Diluted phrases still count as quality inbound links, but don't tell the search engines specifically what the page is about.

          You'd be better off getting a variety of anchor text in your inbound links, like: "orkut scraps", "orkut images", "orkut greetings", etc.

  9. I agree with all your points Lynn. I think the most difficult one to get is anchored text backlinks.

  10. This is mainly useful for those who are in the field of SEO as they require the quality links for the promotion of there sites.

    • I disagree. SEO is important for EVERYone who has a website or is doing business online. It is the very basic act of knowing how your target market is looking for you, and making sure they can find you...

  11. Thanks for this. We've spent so much time reading about SEO and its good to find an article that gives you a bit more detail and doesn't just repeat the same old things we've seen everywhere else. One question - are you suggesting that PR isn't quite as important as all the hype suggests? Is a link from a relevant PR0 or PR1 page still valuable? Look forward to future posts πŸ™‚

  12. Very helpful post. Guest posting in particular is under utilized, but is really one of the best ways to get relevant, high quality links. It's something I plan to do more of this year, along with the other strategies you mentioned.

  13. Thank you very much for this interesting post, Lynn. I agree with you in every single point. I personally have several ways of building backlinks, like article submission, press releases, forum activities and blog commenting, just to name a few.
    The subject blog commenting although is a subject of it's own.
    I do not consider myself being a spammer because I always leave a subject relevant comment, my own opinion, an addition or even a critic to the blog post. I really appreciate those blogs with keywordLuv plugin or blogs without the nofollow tag because this shows me the blogger does appreciate comments and honors them with a backlink. But what really makes me upset is bloggers who use keywordLuv plugin as bait to hopefully get lots of comments and then later on they still disable the link (mostly within a day or two) or they even change the url to my site or blog to their own blog url. This is in my opinion just disrespectful, unfair and rude.
    Instead of commenting on a fake like that and being cheaten out I rather comment on a blog that might be nofollow but at least that blogger doesn't use keywordLuv or a temporary dofollow as bait.

  14. Thank you Lynn for the simplified but comprehensive tips, I just began SEO work for our website and your website certainly helps.

    In your view, are directories still worth it?

  15. Martijn van Turnhout says

    Thanks Lynn, that was a good read.

    About your methods about getting quality inbound links. Might I suggest a few applications? I'm a vivid user of them.

    Try Fast Blog Finder. It's software with which you can find dofollow blogs easily. Plus Comment Kahuna is completely free and has some good value as well.

  16. Lynn, thanks for this it was helpful especially getting different types of links. I will search your site for how to get links which is the bit I struggle with and I notice you have 46,000, how on earth do you do that?

  17. diocelin says

    I do agree that having our links placed in the text is the most effective links, and its the reason why I am always searching for blogs where I could write as a guest blogger.

  18. Cal, Denver Painting Contractor says

    Great information. I tend to keep my blog a nofollow, greedy keeping all links within. Sometimes I write a blog article with out going links, some in the same industry, but no competition, being across the country. They tend to reciprocate, helping both ways.

  19. I think you completely hit the nail on the head with this one. I like the mphasis you give to putting links on No Follow sites as well. after all, it is humans that are click on your links, reading your content and buying your product so we should ALWAYS think of them in the first instance.

  20. Peter Johnson says

    I agree that in natural link building campaign you must have some no follow links. Looks natural and after all we must stop thinking only about Google and SERPs and rankings and start thinking about content and people who read it.

  21. Prasenjit says

    Great information. About your methods getting quality inbound links.I just began SEO work for our website and your website certainly helps.

    Here I have learned about new steps that the link building within the text value more than link on other place. Thank you.

  22. Neal Morgan says

    Great tips, all i need do now are follow them πŸ™‚
    I have bookmarked and will be coming back as i get to understand anchor text more.

  23. This is a great post. I always kepp things as white hat as possible, google likes good quality content. Liked what you said about pagerank, didn't know all of it. Good stuff! Thanks

  24. How do you think that Google knows the relevance of 2 pages? and do you thik that if the 2 pages have the important keyword in the title or in H1 it will count more for relevance?

  25. You know, I've been doing SEO for about 14 years, and just when I think I know it all, I consistently find out there's always more. Take this article for example, you shared many things that I never really thought about, but make complete sense for SEO. This post will be good for my WordPress real estate clients as they're all about SEO, that's why they're using WP in the first place. Thanks.

    By the way, the article was very well written and broken up just right. Basically, it's easy on the eyes. Bookmarked!

  26. Oh, and you're easy on the eyes too. Heh heh.

  27. The most important thing to follow while looking to build links is to look at the authority of the page and the link placement. But still most of the people run after PageRank.

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