Many people ask this question and want to understand what kind of links will help their website gain more authority and visibility in the search engines.

This article goes in-depth into what makes the ultimate backlink.


First and foremost, the ultimate backlinks are natural.

This means that the backlink should be there for users, not just for search engines. Natural links are earned because the entity implementing them thinks your website is a useful resource to their audience and that their readers would benefit from visiting your website.

This boils down to Google not wanting anyone to try and manipulate search engine results. They want the best resources to rank at the top of their search engine. Anyone attempting to get to the top in an unnatural, manipulative manner could be penalised.


Good backlinks must come from relevant websites. If your website is about travel for example, ideally your backlinks should come from other travel related websites.

In many cases you will obviously generate backlinks from websites which are not relevant to your industry. As long as these non-relevant websites are high quality and the links tick all the other boxes in this article, they are still good links. You may just need to be more careful with the anchor text of these links. More on that below.

Anchor text

For good backlinks, natural anchor text is a must. Obviously you can’t always dictate what anchor text other websites use to link to your website, but if you are having an influence over this, make sure that it’s not spammy.

Using too much keyword rich anchor text from non-relevant websites could potentially land you in trouble with the big G (Google). This is all part of the Google Penguin algorithm which penalises websites with excessive unnatural, spammy backlinks.

Keyword rich anchor text is still okay in moderation as long as it’s natural and gives users an indication as to what kind of content they will find if they click the link. Using your brand name for anchor text will ensure you stay out of trouble, especially if the links are coming from websites which are not totally relevant to your industry.


The ultimate backlinks come from websites which have as much authority as possible. There are two main measures of authority – Domain Authority and Page Authority.

What is: Domain Authority? What is Page Authority?

Both of these metrics are measured out of 100. Ideally the ultimate backlinks would come from websites which have a higher Domain Authority than your own, although that’s much easier said than done. It’s not detrimental to generate backlinks from websites with a lower DA, but the higher the better.

With regards to Page Authority, when a new article or page of a website is published, it always starts with a PA of 1. The longer the page is published on the web (and dependent on how good a resource the page is), the more backlinks it generates externally and internally, the higher the Page Authority will rise.

Authoritative websites/pages generally have a large amount of incoming links from other websites with high trust and authority. Domain age and how long the domain name is registered for into the future can also influence authority.

Number of links on the page

Ideally, the pages where your links come from should not have a huge amount of backlinks pointing out. There are not hard and fast rules on this, but less can certainly mean more for you as the more links out on a page, the more the SEO value is split.

Especially important is that any other links on these pages are pointing to high quality, trustworthy resources, not spammy websites. Always aim to be associated with the best entities possible. Good company will nurture good results.

What Makes the Ultimate Backlink?
The only way is up if you know what makes the ultimate backlink.


Don’t get me wrong, “nofollow” links are very welcome if they are on high traffic publications which are likely to bring in a lot of qualified referral traffic. However, if we’re talking about improving the domain authority and SEO value of your website, the ultimate backlinks for you are “dofollow”.

In simple terms, this means Google (and other search engines) follow these links from external websites to your own. As a result, the links pass SEO value (or SEO juice as some like to call it) from one website to another. The more high quality dofollow links you have, which tick all the boxes listed on this page, the better.

Above the Fold

In the past, people tried to manipulate search engine results by building links anywhere and everywhere. Hiding links in sidebars, footers and even using the same font colour as the background colour so that links were crawlable by search engine spiders, but not visible to the human eye.

Fast forward a few years and Google starts seriously penalising this kind of behaviour. As a result, Google’s best practise guidelines stipulate anyone seen trying to manipulate search engine results in an unnatural manner could be penalised.

Many industry experts believe that backlinks above the fold could be more valuable than links below the fold. The reason for this is fairly obvious. Users are much more likely to click on a link they can see at the top of a webpage, than a link they have to scroll down to find. Links above the fold in prominent places are clearly there for the readers rather than for attempting to manipulate search engine results.

Low Spam Score

Moz has a relatively new metric: Spam Score. The ultimate backlinks come from websites with a low Spam Score. Ideally a score of less than 4. Rand Fishkin from Moz wrote this blog post on their new metrics to explain what it means for digital marketers: Spam Score: Moz’s New Metric to Measure Penalization Risk.


Your newly acquired links should ideally come from as many unique root domains as possible. Ten links from ten root domains is more powerful than ten links from five unique root domains. Websites which rank the highest for various search terms generally have links from hundreds and thousands of unique root domains.

The other thing to consider re uniqueness is ‘linking C blocks’. Keri Morgret explains what this means on this Moz forum:

“It (linking c blocks) refers to the part of the IP address that’s different. The same class C address means something has the same third octet in the address. In the following, the first three IPs are in the same class C, and the fourth address is not.


The reason we care is that it’s a hint to Google that the sites are all related to each other and on the same server, and that the links may not be very natural since there is the high possibility that the same person set them up.”

Rand Fishkin adds: “Unique c-blocks almost always mean they’re sites controlled by separate entities.”

One Way

Many websites do reciprocal linking. Whilst there is nothing technically wrong with this, a one way link is in theory more powerful.

Google is wise to ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours schemes. If you ask for a link in return for a link, you’re potentially in partnership with the other website and therefore the links are less natural, i.e. the links weren’t placed out of a desire to provide a useful resource to the audience, they were potentially placed for SEO value/manipulation of search results only. See the running theme here?

Target pages

Linking to deeper pages within your website will ensure it’s not just the homepage which improves in authority. Building links to the correct pages of your website will ensure more pages appear in the SERPs for the search terms you’re targeting.

This will also help to pass SEO value around the website when you use internal links from the parent pages to other relevant pages in your site’s architecture.

Now you know what makes the ultimate backlink, you are ready to learn: How to get Backlinks that Google Loves


This article was inspired by this LinkedIn Group discussion: The Ultimate External Link posted by Fredrik Olsson. If you have any other thoughts on what makes the ultimate backlink, let us know in the comments below.