What Is a Backlink? Why Is It So Important For SEO?

Backlinks. Ah. The magic word that roams around in those search engine optimization (SEO) circles that make the world go around.

I know how strange it can feel when you hear that word because you don’t know its meaning. And quite honestly, it is a strange word. But it makes a lot of difference in the digital space. I was just like you when I got started.

So in this post, I hope to give you an in-depth understanding of this amazing word and how important it is when it comes to SEO and your overall success.


So, What Are Backlinks?

Backlinks are the links that other websites are pointing to your website. This is also known as all the incoming links to your website.

Whenever a webpage links to any other webpage, it is called a backlink.

Let’s say that I link to Google. Now that is a backlink to Google.

And in the past, backlinks were one of the major ranking factors when it came to search engines. The more backlinks you had, the higher you would rank. And the website with the most backlinks would sit in the #1 position.

And while a lot of things have changed since the year 2006, backlinks are still one of the major ranking factors out there. But they are not as huge a factor as one would think.

Search engines, especially Google, have diversified their ranking factors a lot over the years. Things like the quality of links (I will actually go over some of the things that you need to keep in when dealing with backlinks), the content on your website, the average length of the content on your website, whether you are on the most important social networks, etc.

These all things are important now. But Google would only know that if you have a backlink coming from all those social networks. So again, backlinks are still a major ranking factor.

But, just like all the human beings, not all backlinks were created equal. This means that you only want your website to get the best of the best backlinks. Or you would be better off not getting any backlinks at all.

So, here are some of the terms that you absolutely must know when you are thinking about getting some of those juicy backlinks yourself:

  • Do-Follow Links:

    These links by default that pass authority, aka, link juice. This means that if you are getting a lot of do-follow links from high authority websites like Forbes, Huffington Post, etc. then your website as well will be high authority.

  • No-Follow Links:

    These links are the exact opposite of what do-follow links are. These links do not pass any link juice. This also means that no-follow links have no bearing on where that website ranks. No-follow links are usually used by websites if they are not sure about whether the website they are linking out to is reliable or not.

  • Link Juice:

    You saw me mention the word link juice above and you couldn’t figure out what it was. Well, you can think about link juice as a smoothie that a website shares with another website. If a high authority website, aka, a website with a high domain authority is linking out to you, your website will also become a little bit of a high authority website. Obviously your website wouldn’t drink the whole smoothie, but it will drink a little bit.

  • Low-Quality Links:

    All the links that are coming from websites that have spam, are automated, harvested, or even contain porn are considered as low-quality websites. You generally want to stay away from these kinds of websites. So if you are getting any ideas about purchasing backlinks, this is the reason why it is better to do your homework before you go out and do that because a low-quality backlink can do you more harm than good.

  • Internal Links:

    When you link from one of your blog posts to another one of your own blog posts, that is called internal linking. Let’s say that you own abc.com. And you posted a blog post on abc.com/blogpost1/. And you link from that blog post to abc.com/blogpost2/, that will be an internal link.

  • Anchor Text:

    This is the thing that gets websites ranked for the keywords that they want to rank for. The anchor text is the text that is used for hyperlinks.

Now that we know the important terms to remember when dealing with backlinks, now let’s get into why backlinks are so important. And exactly how and what types of backlinks you should get.


The Importance of Backlinks

As I mentioned in the beginning, backlinks are still one of the major ranking factors in almost all search engines out there. But for now, let’s just think about Google because they are the biggest search engine in the world right now.

Search engines think that the more high authority websites that give a backlink to your website, the more reliable and trustworthy your website is. Think of this as a recommendation from a big critic.

Like when a new 5-star restaurant opens and it is being reviewed by a critic.

When your website gets a backlink from a high authority website, Google thinks that you are getting a positive review from a critic that checked out your website, and liked the information that you have on there.

And remember, Google is in the business of providing the most trustworthy, relevant information to their users. And when you have a lot of websites recommending what you have to offer, then Google thinks that the users might want that as well.

But there’s another side to the coin.

Google also monitors how many people are visiting your website. Because if you are getting popular among other website owners, then you ought to be receiving traffic as well. But since you are getting backlinks the right way, you have no problem with the traffic. So you are in the good graces of the internet giant.


What Type of Backlinks Should You Get?

Getting backlinks is a good start, but there are a certain type of backlinks that you should get in order to be most successful at SEO with fewer headaches. So to avoid you having to go through at least 10 hours of research on your own and drawing on that whiteboard like you see in Hollywood movies, I saved you all that trouble and listed them down for you.


  • Highly Relevant

This has never been truer than right now. If you are looking to just dominate the 1st page for your target keywords with fewer backlinks, this is the way to go – get relevant links.

If have a website that is selling flowers, get backlinks from websites that talk about flowers. Maybe websites that write about the history of different flowers, etc. This tells Google that you are popular amongst your peers which makes twice the impact.


  • Website That Are High Quality

I know I mentioned that a lot, but it couldn’t be more important.

Let’s say that you were looking for a basketball player for your new basketball team. Would you take advice from a high school coach in Virginia, or would you select the player that LeBron James would recommend?

I’m pretty sure you would go with what LeBron James would advise.

So, continuing with our previous example, if you have a website that sells flowers, you would want to get backlinks from websites that are well established in the flowers industry.


  • Speed of Your Backlinks

This is where the good ole’ truth comes into play: anything that is good, takes a while to come.

You cannot have a thousand backlinks from relevant high-quality websites come in overnight. Those kinds of things don’t normally happen. And that will make these state-of-the-art search engines suspicious about your website.

These things take time. So make sure that you spread them out even if you are buying those links.

You want to make things look as natural as possible because if Google even feels like you are trying to trick their search engine, they will penalize your website. And then you will have to go through the dreading process of undoing all of that.


So, at the end of the day, it is better to take it easy, slow and only have the best backlinks you can because only they will increase your chances of ranking on page 1.

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