What Matters More, Backlink Quality or Quantity?

SEO Rankings

Ten-plus years ago, the more backlinks you had pointing at your website, the better it ranked. But as SEO scamsters learned how to game the system, search engine algorithms have gotten better at detecting artificial spammy backlinks.

So today, the quality or legitimacy of the backlink matters much more than the quantity of backlinks. However, the more quality relevant backlinks you can get, as long as they are done in a natural way, the better.

In this article, I will break that down for you and talk more about what a quality backlink is and is not, as well as what I mean by procuring them in a natural way. You might also be interested in reading my two articles, “What Are High Authority Backlinks?” and “Should I Use a Link Building Service?“.

What Is Not A Quality Backlink?

Examining SEO Backlinks

To understand what a quality backlink is, I think first it helps to talk about what a quality backlink is not. The simplest way to identify a bad-quality backlink is it is a backlink that you were not supposed to get.

If a website is a social media website or a business directory website, these are sites that they want you to set up profiles in for your business. These include a link back to your website. Since you were supposed to fill these out, they are decent backlinks. These might not be the most powerful backlinks, but they are honest, above board, legitimate sources of do-follow or nofollow backlinks.

However, if you create a fake website in a spammy way that Google knows you control as well as your main site, a backlink from that site Google will see as you linking to yourself; it is not legitimate.

Similarly, if you comment on a bunch of high authority websites and stick a link in your comment to your website, and you do that over and over, Google considers that spammy and illegitimate because that was not the purpose of the comment section on those sites.

What Is A Quality Backlink?

Page Rank Domain Authority

So if a backlink obtained in a way you were not supposed to get is bad, then backlinks obtained honestly above board are good backlinks.

Remember, search engines consider backlinks a recommendation of and a vouching for the content being linked to. That is why Google doesn’t think it is legitimate for you to recommend yourself when you control both websites.

This is also why gaming the system by sticking backlinks to your websites in comments sections on websites can be considered scammy if done too much.

A quality backlink is a high authority, trusted, relevant website that links to your content because it relates to what they are talking about, and your content is a good resource for the site. Hopefully, that makes sense.

Why Is Quality More Important Than Quantity?

The short answer to this question is that if you have a bunch of low-quality backlinks, they may actually hurt your Google ranking rather than help it. Having a lot of poor-quality backlinks looks intentional and spammy to search engines.

On the other hand, having fewer super high-quality legitimate backlinks will improve your search engine rankings much more than a whole lot of poor-quality backlinks.

However, if done naturally, having a high quantity of very natural, high-quality backlinks helps more than having less of them. The more, the better, as long as the quality is there and they are natural.

How Do You Get Quality Backlinks Naturally?

Link Building

The most obvious first answer to this question is to write content of such high quality that it is such a great resource that people will want to link to it. There is no better way to naturally get backlinks than producing link-worthy content.

Since setting up social media and business directory profiles for a local website is expected and standard in most industries, they are also a natural credibility-building way to get backlinks.

The third way is building relevant websites that Google doesn’t know you control that links to your website. This doesn’t work if the quality of the referring site is horrible. Then, it won’t rank well in its own keywords, so its links won’t benefit you much.

But if you build these sites with amazing quality content as well, such that they will attract traffic and produce money on their own, as long as the search engines can’t tell you control both sites, these would be good, natural-looking backlinks.

Final Thoughts

It may seem like I am talking a bit out of both sides of my mouth when I talk about the right and wrong ways to create websites you control to link to your website. In local SEO, it is hard to get around not building these kinds of sites because local business websites don’t typically attract a lot of backlinks on their own, but the same Google algorithm still applies to them regardless.

Thank you for reading this article all the way to the end. If you have received any value from this article, please share it on your social media and email it to business owners that you know might benefit from this content.


When I was first introduced to the local SEO industry, I took a job working for a company that did it nationally. To my surprise I eventually learned that the company I was working for had no idea what they were doing. As I began to take various local SEO courses to try to help my clients, I also learned that most courses didn't teach methods that actually worked. Fortunately, over the years, I was able to find some that did know what they were doing and over the last decade or so, have had great success getting my business clients on the first page of Google locally, even in competitive niches and markets. The purpose of this website is to teach any local business owner, or employee, how to do their own local SEO so that they can get their own websites in the Google Maps 3 Pack, and on the first page in the regular organic listings as well.

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