Backlinks are important to SEO

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Backlinks are important to SEO

What is a backlink?

A backlink is a link created when one website links to another. Backlinks are also called “inbound links” or “incoming links.” Backlinks are important to SEO.


Why are backlinks important?

Backlinks are especially valuable for SEO because they represent a “vote of confidence” from one site to another.

In essence, backlinks to your website are a signal to search engines that others vouch for your content. If many sites link to the same webpage or website, search engines can infer that content is worth linking to, and therefore also worth surfacing on a SERP. So, earning these backlinks can have a positive effect on a site’s ranking position or search visibility.

Earning and giving backlinks

Earning backlinks is an essential component of off-site SEO. The process of obtaining these links is known as link earning or link building.

Some backlinks are inherently more valuable than others. Followed backlinks from trustworthy, popular, high-authority sites are considered the most desirable backlinks to earn, while backlinks from low-authority, potentially spammy sites are typically at the other end of the spectrum. Whether or not a link is followed (i.e. whether a site owner specifically instructs search engines to pass, or not pass, link equity) is certainly relevant, but don’t entirely discount the value of nofollow links. Even just being mentioned on high-quality websites can give your brand a boost.

Just as some backlinks you earn are more valuable than others, links you create to other sites also differ in value. When linking out to an external site, the choices you make regarding the page from which you link (its page authority, content, search engine accessibility, and so on) the anchor text you use, whether you choose to follow or nofollow the link, and any other meta tags associated with the linking page can have a heavy impact on the value you confer.

Competitive backlink research

Backlinks can be time-consuming to earn. New sites or those expanding their keyword footprint may find it difficult to know where to start when it comes to link building. That’s where competitive backlink research comes in: By examining the backlink profile (the collection of pages and domains linking to a website) to a competitor that’s already ranking well for your target keywords, you can gain insight about the link building that may have helped them. A backlink tool like Link Explorer can help uncover these links so you can and target those domains in your own link building campaigns.

Why Are Backlinks Important for SEO?

Backlinks can:

  • Improve rankings
  • Boost your credibility
  • Help Google find new pages
  • Send referral traffic to your site

The Purpose of Backlinks

Backlinks for SEO have been an integral part of website ranking since Google’s very first algorithm. If that doesn’t give you insight into just how important backlinks are, nothing will. Even though the algorithm has changed a lot through the years, backlinks are still a major ranking signal.

Why? They show that one website supports another. That Website #1 is vouching for Website #2. It’s like getting a thumb’s up from the first website. And search engines like when they can see that other sites stand behind your content. It makes their job easier.

The Basics of Running a Backlinks SEO Campaign

Link building happens when one of two things happens:

  1. Someone finds your content online and decides to link to it.
  2. You present your content to someone in the hopes that they’ll link to it.

You don’t want to just start cold emailing anyone and everyone to ask for a backlink, though. Instead, there are far more savvy (and far less spammy) strategies. First, you have to know which type of backlinks you’re after, because some aren’t worth your time.

What You Should Know About SEO Backlinks Before You Get Started

From the number of sites linking to your content and the quality level of those sites to where the backlinks are located, every detail matters.

Assortment of Sites Providing Backlinks

The number of domains that link to a site correlates with that site’s rank. Getting backlinks from an assortment of sites is better than getting several from one site.

Quality of Sites Providing Backlinks

If a high-authority, popular, trustworthy, and well-performing site gives you backlinks, those are considered high-value. If a low-quality site gives you backlinks, though, those are low-value. Depending on how many of each you have, search engines will rank your content accordingly.

Strategies for Getting Backlinks for SEO

Now that you know the backlinks to strive for and the ones to avoid, let’s get into strategies you can use when setting up a backlink campaign to improve your site’s SEO.

Competitive Backlink Research

This is when you look at the backlink profile of a competitor to find out where their backlinks are coming from. This works best if you look at their pages that target the same keywords as you target. When you do this, you can figure out the backlinks that have helped them, and you can then connect with those sites for your own link building.

For example, let’s say we have the target keyword “best hiking trails in North America” in a blog post. You can plug that search into Google and click on the top result. Take that URL and run it through Moz’s Link Explorer, then check out the inbound links. You can see the sites that are linking back to that article, and you can then decide if you want to contact those outlets to ask for a backlink (or to start building a relationship with them).

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