Backlinks Part 1: What’s the Recipe for Good Backlinks?

By Deborah Kurfiss, Umbrella Content Marketing Director on Apr 22, 2022

What Are Backlinks and Why Do I Need Them?

Backlinks are a critical part of the SEO strategy for any client. Simply put, backlinks are links to pages on your client’s website from other websites.

It takes more than using keywords for your client’s content to get optimum placing on a search engine results page (SERP). Good backlinks can greatly increase your clients’ search engine visibility.

There are several factors that affect the quality of a backlink and how much it helps your visibility and traffic. Google does not publish the algorithm for how it weights backlinks, but following are some important factors.

Domain Authority

The domain authority of the site publishing the backlink is a major factor in determining the backlink’s value. High domain authority sites get a lot of traffic and rank high in search engine results themselves. There are a multitude of factors that go into domain ranking. They include content relevance, website and page structure, whether or not the content is updated, and the longevity of the site.  There are several tools that can tell you domain authority including Semrush and Ahrefs.

When your client’s site gets backlinks from high authority sites, your client’s site is bathed in the reflected glow. In other words, backlinks from high domain authority sites help push your client’s page up in search engine results.  This is because a high domain authority site is likely to link to high value sites.


A search engine’s trust in a site the posts a backlink impacts a lot on the backlink’s SEO value. Although they can be related, trustworthiness is not the same as high domain authority.

Google and other search engine are not all that transparent in their algorithms, but its likely Google uses a list of sites that are particularly trusted such as HubSpot and the BBC as a measure of trust. If one of these special, trusted sites links to a website, it lends some of that trustworthiness (and SEO value) to that site. Backlinks from trusted websites can greatly increase the rank of your client’s website.

Although direct links hold more weight, indirect links still have value. For example, if a trusted site links to a second site and then that site links to a third site, Google will trust the second site more than the third, but the third site will still benefit from the distant association.


Even if you get a backlink from a high domain authority site, it’s not going to count that much unless the link is relevant to your website’s content.

Say your client has an ice cream shop that has a stunning garden entry filled with plants. Even if they have the same domain authority, a backlink from a page about frozen desserts on a respected culinary site referencing your client’s extraordinary ice cream is going to be worth a whole lot more than a backlink from a gardening site that refers to the stunning magnolia tree in your client’s garden.

There’s a bit more to it than that, because the page’s place in the site’s overall structure also figures in. For example, a backlink coming from a pillar page is more valuable than a backlink from an unimportant page that is less integral to the site.

Number of Backlinks

Less important than domain authority but still a significant factor in determining backlink value is the number of backlinks to your client’s site. It’s better to have a few good backlinks from high domain authority sites than many more backlinks from lesser sites.

But it’s not just the total number. A handful of backlinks from multiple relevant, high domain authority sites is going to improve your SEO much more than a greater number of backlinks from the same site.

If have a lot of high value backlinks that are relevant to your content and from many unique domains, it means you are doing it right. Sure, it’s nice to have 100 backlinks from 10 high domain authority site, but it’s a whole lot better to have 100 backlinks from 100 high domain authority sites.

Backlink Placement

Where and how the backlink appears on the page also plays a factor in its SEO value. Search engines like backlinks that are a natural part of the content. If they are placed out of context in tiny font or buried in the html, that backlink is not going to do your client’s SEO much good.

Do-Follow Links

When content is published to a website, each link can be set to be “do-follow” or “no-follow.” Do-follow links are for SEO purposes and search engine notice. Designating a link as no follow indicates that search engines should ignore it. It’s better for your SEO if backlinks to your site are do-follow.

Social Sharing

Google values backlinks that go to social media that can be shared. Examples would be Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram posts that can be shared.

Anchor Text Keyword Backlinks

Backlinks are particularly valuable if they contain the keyword for which a page is optimized in the anchor text. Anchor text is simply the text in a clickable link.

The reason for this is that Google uses the anchor text of the backlink to determine whether your page is relevant to the page that is linking to it. Anchor text keyword backlinks can make a big difference in a page’s ranking.

Unsure of Your Backlink Strategy? Let Umbrella Help

SEO is complicated, but it’s a service that most clients want. If SEO is not the focus of your agency, you don’t need to turn down business from your clients. Knowing what makes for good backlinks is barely the beginning. You can resell expert Umbrella white label SEO services to your clients and feel secure they are getting everything they need to optimize their websites.

Contact Umbrella for a free consultation on how we can help.

Backlinks Part 2 is coming soon. In the next backlinks article, we will tell you about how you can get quality backlinks.









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