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How to determine if a Backlink is Natural, Quality or Good?

With the tradeshow season and Q4 coming up, terms like natural links, quality links, and good links are going to be thrown around. Whether you are going into a client pitch or attending a search marketing conference, it is important to know all the different types of links. Through this article, we will help you to know about each type of link, provide you with relevant definitions, and help you determine which types of links may help you to boost your rankings.

Natural Link

A natural link is one that occurs organically and not easily seen as being placed by your company. The natural links do not:

  • Have tracking parameters
  • Redirect through JavaScripts or Monetization tools
  • Exist within sponsored or paid content

A natural link usually exists as a reference to a piece of content, website or a source.

Unnatural Link

The unnatural links are usually paid ones that can be placed and tracked by PR firms, media buyers or are monetized through affiliate programs. If these links are followed, then they can potentially lead to Google taking a manual action on your site or you could get hit by Penguin.

Unnatural Links are the ones:

  • With a tracking parameters like UTM source and medium.
  • Within sponsored content on a site (As search engines do not know who paid for the content to be placed)
  • From sites using monetization scripts since some scripts say you get paid for linking to retailers

You can find these in the site’s code, outbound redirects, and other suitable techniques.

Semi-natural link

It is a natural link but uses tracking parameters. If you click through from an influencer who has been paid to share a link, this link will lead to the landing page that may have the tracking parameters in place. Bloggers, aggregators, and others who follow that link may copy and paste it directly into their site giving natural links that also have these parameters. Make sure that as a person reaches your site through a tracked link, you set a redirect to pass the parameters but also resolve to the natural page structure.

Quality Backlinks

Quality backlinks are links that come from high quality sites. Quality links come from quality sites, which has the following criteria:

  • The site is niche or at least has a regularly updated section of the particular topic
  • Media kits and publicly viewable advertising sections
  • There are no outbound links to adult, illegal, payday or scam sites
  • You won’t be able to see that they allow sponsored content
  • The acquired links will be by staff writers and not contributors
  • Finding them in Google news feed is a good sign that they are trustworthy or high quality in Google’s eyes.

Good Link

A good link is very different from a quality link. It is a type of link that has a positive impact with a less risk. The factors of a good link vs. a bad link can change based on the type of SEO that one is doing.

A good link does not link to sites that have a banned content. Contraband or several other things that are forbidden.

At times, there would be a blogger who has a great niche content but has no age or authority and may quit blogging in a year. This may seem like a good link, but this may fall under a category of ‘maybe’ or ‘Ok’ types.

Another type is where there is an established blog without a huge following. They might not be doing well in Google though with organic even when they have a great content. This would be considered as an ‘Ok’ link. Another one could be a blog that is content relevant but does not have a ton of SEO traffic but has a lot of engaged readers. This is a good link as they have a quality audience and if they continue on the same path then it could lead to a great source of sales.

The idea behind good backlinks is to determine and watch how they impact you at present and what they may do in the coming future. Each site is unique and each link should be considered separately.

When someone talks about natural links, it’s all about quality. Focusing on quality over quantity is what can help to protect your site in case of Google updates. More significantly, focusing on quality can help regularly bring in significant readers through referring sites who may also become customers, engaged readers, and a new source of backlinks and social media traffic.