June 13, 2024

Backlinks, known as external links, are still the best way to increase your search engine ranking.

Not all backlinks have the same value.

A few high-quality links can make a significant difference to your SEO. Many low-quality backlinks can have little effect or may even be detrimental if they are considered spammy.

Three levels of backlinks

Google sees three types of backlinks – low-quality links, medium-quality links, and high-quality links.

Google considers low-quality links as spam. They are fake backlinks that were created to trick the system. This is against Google’s guidelines.

High-quality links are harder to obtain than medium-quality ones. High-quality hyperlinks offer the greatest value but are more challenging to obtain because the publication standards are often higher.

Three core elements of high-quality backlinks

It isn’t easy to define what makes a good backlink. Search engines do not consistently measure backlinks. However, most SEOs agree that there are three main elements.


Backlinks are best when they come naturally, and the owner of the site links to you because your website is valuable to them. Not because you have paid them or manipulated them in any other way.

This is a natural way to ‘earn’ a link.

It differs from artificial backlinks, where the intention is to trick search engines into thinking that a site has a higher reputation than it does.

Google will penalize a site that repeatedly violates its terms of service and degrade it in search engine results if they believe the backlink to be unnatural or spammy.


Backlinks must be natural and reputable.

Search engines today look for social proof to determine the credibility of a webpage. Google’s PageRank algorithm measures the importance of a webpage. Here’s Google’s definition:

PageRank counts the number of links and the quality of those links on a webpage to give a rough estimation of the importance of the website. The assumption is that websites with more matter are likelier to be linked by other websites.

The higher the quality and quantity of backlinks, the better a website’s chances of ranking for competitive keywords.

Google provided a PageRank metric, which calculated an estimate of a website’s reputation. Google discontinued this metric because spammers used it to purchase backlinks, which was against Google’s guidelines.

Think of PageRank instead as an algorithm or a concept.

The Rel Link attribute

While discussing search engine reputation, I’d like to discuss the rel attribute, which can be added to an HTML hyperlink.

The rel attribute is not present in HTML links by default. This means the search engine can pass PageRank from one web page to another.

HTML links with rel attributes must fully reflect the search engine’s reputation.

The sponsored rel attribute’, the UGC rel attribute (user-generated content), and the nofollow rel attribute are all examples.

Look at this image from Moz.com to illustrate:

The nofollow attribute previously covered both user-generated links and sponsored content.

By adding the nofollow attribute to a hyperlink, you instructed search engines not to pass on any search engine reputation. This is what gives the page its ranking power. Links that were followed weren’t used for indexing or crawling.

After a Google update, Google added rel attributes’sponsored and UGC to the existing nofollow attribute. Google has said that all three can be used to give hints for crawling indexing and ranking.

The jury is still determining whether ‘UGC links’ (e.g., blog comments) will help search engine rankings. Blog or forum comments will also help.

How can you tell if a hyperlink has the rel attribute?

You can inspect a link in Google Chrome by right-clicking on it. This will show you the HTML code and whether or not there is a rel-attribute.

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