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Importance of Backlinks for SEO

In the race to the top of Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs), SEO is the magic word (OK, three words) that is the key to unlocking the gate to Google’s kingdom. Being at the top (or at least close to it) is critical to attracting new customers to your website because, let’s be honest, how often do you do a Google search for something and go down to page 3 or 4? Exactly.

While deceivingly simple at first glance, SEO is a complex process that involves many details to help you rise in the ranks and catch the attention of online users. You’ve likely heard all about the keywords and maybe about optimising your website for mobile users, but backlinks are one of the most powerful yet overlooked parts of SEO.

Simply put, backlinks are a vote of confidence in your website, but what is the importance of backlinks for SEO, you might be wondering? Well, we’re happy you asked because we’ve got your answers! 

What are Backlinks?

So, what are backlinks and why are they important? Let’s start at the very beginning.

Definition and Types of Backlinks

What is a backlink in SEO? A backlink is a link on another website that links to your website. Sounds simple? In a way, it is, but not all backlinks are created equal. First of all, there are four different types of backlinks:

dofollow

Dofollow links are links from another website pointing back to your website or blog. They allow search engine crawlers, such as those used by Google, to follow and index them. When a website includes a dofollow link to another website, it essentially is a vote of confidence for the linked website and passes on some of its authority and “link juice” to it. In other words, search engines view dofollow links as endorsements or recommendations from one website to another.

nofollow

As the name suggests, nofollow are links that you can insert and not have them pointing back to you. They do not boost PageRank or help with better placement on SERP.

This tag serves as a kind of warning to search engines so they do not consider it for ranking those who linked it on their website.

Now you might wonder what nofollow links are good for. The Google algorithm doesn’t just count how many links you get to your site but also the authority of the linking website. If you get a lot of backlinks from high-authority websites, Google sees that you’re essential. On the other hand, if you get a lot of bad sites linking back to you, Google doesn’t like that and decreases your ranking.

internal

Internal backlinks are links to other pages on your website. These internal links don’t just make it easier for you to direct readers to other relevant content but also allow the website crawlers to index your website and make your site more authoritative.

external

External links are links on other websites that point back to a page on your website. The higher the authority of the linking page, the higher Google will value the link to your website.

How search engines consider backlinks as a ranking factor

Search engine algorithms have evolved significantly over the years. Initially, any backlink to your website counted as a vote of confidence, but with the advent of so-called link farms, it suddenly became easy to buy backlinks from websites that specialised in just that.

This was when the algorithms evolved to evaluate the linking site’s quality (or authority) to distinguish between quality and spam links. The more backlinks you get from websites with high authority, the higher Google will consider them a ranking factor. On the other hand, if many links to your website come from websites with little to no relevance, it will hurt your ranking.

Relationship between backlinks and organic search traffic

While backlinks don’t generate organic search traffic (any visitors your website gets through backlinks are considered referral traffic), they can positively impact your search traffic.

As backlinks are one of the integral factors Google considers when calculating your page rank, they can help your website rank higher on the Search Engine Results Pages, which can drive organic search traffic.

Also Read: 10 Common SEO Myths That Can Jeopardize Rankings

What is the Importance of Backlinks for SEO?

Enhanced search engine visibility

Improved organic rankings

A high number of high-quality backlinks will be viewed favourably by Google’s algorithm, which in turn will use it to boost your rankings. 

Increased website visibility on search engine result pages (SERPs)

By boosting your rankings thanks to the great backlinks you’ve been getting, your site will show up higher on the search engine result pages (SERPs), giving your website much more visibility, which can turn into new, organic search traffic.

Authority and credibility building

Backlinks as votes of confidence from other websites

As mentioned before, Google’s algorithm treats backlinks as votes of confidence by other websites. Basically, it deduces that if so many websites link back to a specific website or page, its content is worth linking to and, in turn, is also worth being shown on a SERP. 

That being said, due to the rise of link farms that specialise in placing as many backlinks as possible on one (or more) websites, regardless of their content, the algorithm was adjusted to consider the authority, meaning the relevance, of linking websites.

So, as an example, if your company manufactures camping equipment, a link from an established outdoor magazine will carry more weight than from an obscure blog that covers everything from food over gaming to conspiracy theories. 

Establishing website authority within a specific niche

One key ingredient to establishing your website’s authority within a specific niche is to release relevant, high-quality content. Use your deep knowledge of a topic to prove you are an expert. Establishing authority will not happen overnight but results from consistently building it by gaining the trust of users, media and other experts.

This trust can lead to so-called “earned” backlinks, meaning that websites that deal with the niche or topic are more likely to link back to your website or a specific page as an established authority, which then increases your authority in the Google algorithm and your page will rank higher in SERP for the respective keyword. 

Increased referral traffic

How backlinks drive targeted traffic to your website

If a website with high authority in a field links to a page on your website, it shows that it values the quality of your content and deems it relevant. Users of this authoritative linking site trust that the linked content adds value and is high quality, so they follow the link to your website. The more backlinks you have on relevant sites, the more targeted traffic you can drive to your website.

Importance of high-quality backlinks for generating relevant traffic

While both high- and low-quality backlinks may direct traffic to your website, it is essential to understand the quality of the traffic. Going back to the example above, you are a camping equipment manufacturer. The probability that someone who clicked on a link in the established outdoor magazine will convert into business for your company is exponentially higher than someone who came through a random link somewhere.

So the higher the quality of the source and, with that, your backlink, the more relevant the generated traffic will be. 

Strategies for Acquiring Backlinks

Creating high-quality content

Importance of valuable and shareable content

Even the best SEO strategies can’t realise their full potential without investing time in high-quality content. It is time-consuming and requires some strategy and research to ensure that you target the most relevant and sought-after keywords, but it is an approach that will pay off in the end. The key is to be consistent, both in the level of quality and frequency of publication. 

Play on your strengths. Are you a subject matter expert? Then you can go in-depth on topics and questions people have. Do you make videos? Use your videos to enhance your content. Google is a big fan of consistent, high-quality content.

Encouraging natural backlink acquisition through quality content

If you build your website’s authority by consistently publishing relevant, high-quality content, you will organically earn backlinks. Other relevant websites, magazines, bloggers or users will link to your content as a subject matter expert. These references and backlinks can help you build brand awareness and get your name out as an authority for your niche or industry, which has the potential to snowball and build both your reputation and the number of backlinks.

Outreach and relationship building

Guest blogging and contributing to authoritative websites

Trust and authority are built by making people aware of who you are and what you stand for. To build relationships and connections, consider writing guest blogs for authoritative websites, such as magazines. It will help you get your name out there and establish it as a source of quality content and information.

Building connections with influencers and industry experts

Sometimes it is not only what you know but also who you know. Connecting with influencers and industry experts can also help you build brand awareness by reaching out and making them aware of your expertise and experience. Sometimes this can lead to opportunities for collaboration or backlinks that you can benefit from. 

Social media promotion

Leveraging social platforms for backlink opportunities

Social media has become an essential tool for creating opportunities for backlinks. The main advantage of sharing your content on your social media platforms with links back to your content will help with visibility and reaching an audience that may otherwise not become aware of your content.

Encouraging social sharing of your content to attract backlinks

Making this content shareable on whichever social media platforms you are active on will allow them to share the content further and give you even more visibility and traffic. All of it can improve your website’s authority in the process.

Also Read: Importance Of an SEO Audit For Your Website

Best Practices for Backlink Building

So after all these explanations, you’re probably wondering how to get backlinks? There are a few best practices to follow to organically build backlinks for your website.

Quality over quantity

Focus on obtaining links from authoritative and relevant websites

Whereas in the past, the number of backlinks you could get made a difference in your rankings, the focus has shifted to quality. 

Quality backlinks from authoritative and relevant websites are crucial and the only kind of external backlink that you can truly benefit from. Building your website’s authority will allow you to earn more backlinks from more authoritative websites in return.  

Avoiding spammy and low-quality backlinks

The temptation to buy a lot of backlinks from one of the link farms is high because it can get you many links without any effort, but you must remember that with the current search engine algorithms, they will hurt your ranking instead of improving it.

Diversification of backlink sources

Building a natural and diverse backlink profile

Vary Your Anchor Text

Try to vary the anchor text and description of your backlinks. It’s recommended to build links with variations of your preferred anchor text.

Don’t Focus on Just Pages with High PageRank

While obviously highly ranked pages are desirable for your links, PageRank is not the be-all, end-all. Try to find the right balance between high rank and relevance.

Don’t Forget Your Inner Pages

To tell Google that it’s not just your website but your content that is getting interest, try to get links to relevant pages on your website.

Get All Different Types of Links

There are many different types of backlinks in SEO. Diversify your link sources. While editorial-style backlinks are the best, you should also try to get links from resource pages, blogrolls, quality directory listings and more. This shows Google that your content gets interest from various sources.

Stay Away From Link Schemes

Automated link programs are a tempting option to get a lot of links quickly, but these link farms are frowned upon by Google as they a) have little relevance and b) show that your “popularity” isn’t organic.

Keep Your Link Velocity Slow and Steady

Google values slow and steady growth instead of getting a massive increase all at once. Sure, if you get your site viral or are featured in a big news story, that’s great, but overall it’s more about the quality than the quantity.

Avoiding over-reliance on a single source of backlinks

If you can get a lot of backlinks from a highly authoritative website, that’s great news, but putting all of your links in one proverbial basket comes with its risks. If this one great source suddenly goes down, all of your precious backlinks are gone as well. And Google likes to see interest from a variety of pages, showing that your content is worth showing to more people because many different sites think it’s interesting.

Monitoring and disavowing toxic backlinks

Regularly analysing backlink profiles for harmful links

Even if you’ve been doing everything by the SEO playbook, with the right content, an optimised website and a good portfolio of backlinks, the strategy might still not bring the desired results.

It could be some of your backlinks. Yes, one of the most critical elements of a good SEO strategy might actually work against you. There is a variety of toxic backlinks that can actively hurt your reputation with Google, including:

  • Backlinks from spammy sites
  • Using link farms
  • Low-quality links from obscure discussion forums
  • Hidden backlinks

You can use Ahref Free backlink checker to analyse your backlink profile.

Using Google’s disavow tool to remove toxic backlinks

Fortunately, Google makes it easy to remove or, at the very least, disavow backlinks. Create a .txt file with all pages or domains you want to disavow backlinks from. Once you have this file, upload it to the Google Search Console, and after a few weeks, Google will stop factoring those links into your website’s rankings.

Thankfully, Google makes this easy. All you need to do is create a .txt file with the pages or domains for which you want to disavow backlinks. Then, you can upload that list to Google Search Console, and Google will stop factoring those links into your site’s rankings after a few weeks.

Conclusion

Backlinks are a crucial part of any SEO strategy because they enhance your search engine visibility, increase your website’s authority and credibility and increase referral traffic.

It is critical to use best practices for effective backlink building, such as focusing on consistent, relevant, high-quality content and building relationships that can benefit your website instead of going for a quick link, or efficient social media promotion.

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Contact BTmarketing today to learn how we help you take your business to the next level with our efficient employment of backlinks in digital marketing.

FAQ (Short answer max 2-3 lines)

What is a Backlink in SEO With Example?

Suppose your company manufactures camping equipment. A good backlink would come from a reputable outdoor magazine so that a sample could look like this: http://www.reputableoutdoormagazine.ca/articles/best-camping-accessories

What is the Purpose of Backlinks?

Backlinks are votes of confidence of other websites in the content of your website. They show users and search engine crawlers that your content is worth sharing.

Are Backlinks Really Important?

Backlinks are an integral part of any comprehensive SEO strategy. The more quality backlinks you have, the more Google appreciates that it should show the content to more people as well.

What Types of Backlinks Are Important in SEO?

There is a variety of backlinks that are important for your SEO campaign. Editorial-style backlinks are among the most valuable, but quality directory listings, blogrolls and resource pages can add value.

Do Backlinks Still Matter for SEO?

Backlinks are as important as ever for an efficient SEO strategy. It is important to remember that quality is more important than quantity, as Google values backlinks from relevant, authoritative websites and penalises backlinks from so-called link farms.

What Are the 3 Main Features of a Quality Backlink?

The three most important characteristics of a quality backlink are:

  • The link text occurs naturally within the context of the page.
  • The referring domain is reputable.
  • The referring page is topically relevant to the link destination.

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