What are Backlinks in SEO?

Backlinks are links from web pages on other websites to web pages on your website. Search engines consider backlinks as votes and accordingly adjust the ranking of the web pages in the SERP.

Backlinks are also called inlinks, incoming links, inward links, or inbound links.

Backlinks Infographics - What are Backlinks?

According to a study by Ahrefs, the more backlinks a webpage has, the more organic traffic it gets from Google. And it clearly states that backlinks are a big deal, let’s understand why:

Why are backlinks important?

Backlinks are important because they help your website rank higher in the search engines as well as bring referral traffic to your website. Backlinks are like votes from other sites.

Let’s take a deeper look at why backlinks are important and what are the benefits of backlinks:

Better search rankings

There are more than 200 factors on which search engines like Google decides where a webpage would rank, backlinks and content quality are the most important ones.

If we make content quality and other ranking factors constant and the only variable is the number of backlinks, then the higher the number of backlinks, the higher your webpage will rank in the search.

It gets down to the basics of how search engines work. Backlinks are like votes from other websites. The more people add links to your website in their websites, search engines think that the content is good since lots of people are talking about this and you’ll get your rankings improved.

Referral traffic

Backlinks from quality websites bring lots of referral traffic to your website. When people see your site linked on other websites then they might click on the link to know more about the topic, and you earn a site visitor.

Generally, referral traffic brings highly targeted users and hence has a lower bounce rate.

Faster indexing

Backlinks make search engine bots discover new web pages quickly, and the bots won’t be able to index unless they discover the webpage. A webpage can be discovered without backlinks but takes a lot of time.

Build credibility

Backlinks build credibility in the eyes of search engines as well as your audience. When search engines and people see your website linked on other websites, they do think that this website has quality content and that ultimately builds trust and credibility.

A backlink from a high reputation website is a lot more valuable than from a low reputation website.

Brand awareness

Getting your brand mentioned as backlinks on many different websites helps in branding and readers start recognizing your business.

Types of backlinks

Almost all the different kinds of backlinks can be divided into 2 types:

  • dofollow backlinks — more valuable and preferred while getting a backlink
  • nofollow backlinks — less valuable and not preferred

A reader won’t notice any difference between a dofollow and a nofollow backlink but there’s a difference in the source code (see the below images) that only search engines understand.

dofollow Backlinks
A dofollow link
nofollow Backlinks
A nofollow link

A dofollow backlink tells search engines that the linked webpage is completely supported for its accuracy and quality. And, a nofollow backlink tells search engines to ignore the linked webpage.

What makes a backlink powerful?

Some factors that influence the value of a backlink

  • dofollow or nofollow — dofollow backlinks are generally more powerful than nofollow backlinks because they pass link juice to the linked webpage.
  • Relevancy — If the content of the linking and linked webpage is highly related then the backlink will be of high quality.
  • Authority — The linking website authority also affects the quality of the backlink. A backlink coming from a spammy website is also considered spammy and has zero or negative effects on the linked website.
  • Location — Backlink quality is also determined by where the link is placed on the linking webpage — footer, sidebar, navigation, or main content.
  • Anchor text — Anchor text is what we see in the hyperlink, like this. A topic-related relevant anchor text passes more link juice than a generic anchor text like “read more” or “click here”.

Final words

Acquiring backlinks is a natural process, if you have created quality content then people would want to link to you, that’s how the web works.

However, you can speed up the link-building process by manually reaching out to the websites that operate in the same or similar niche and have the content related to your website. Guest posting is one of the best forms of link building.

Please remember that paying for backlinks is considered unethical by search engines like Google.

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