A “backlink” is one of the most used words in the world of search engine optimization (SEO).
Many bloggers who have only recently started a blog or a website often struggle to understand what the term “backlink” means.
In this post, I hope to offer you an understanding of what backlinks are, why they are essential to SEO, and why they are important for your online success. You’ll also learn how to analyze the backlinks of your competitors, and how to acquire them for your site.
Backlinks are incoming links to a webpage.
When a webpage links to any other page, it’s called a backlink. In the past, backlinks were the major metric for the ranking of a webpage. A page with a lot of backlinks tended to rank higher on all major search engines, including Google. This is still true to a large extent.
Here is a glossary of common terms related to backlinks that you should know:
Link Juice: When a webpage links to any of your articles or your website’s homepage, it passes “link juice”. This link juice helps with the ranking of the article, and also improves the domain authority. As a blogger, you can stop passing link juice by using a no-follow tag.
No-Follow Link: When a website links to another website, but the link has a no-follow tag, that link does not pass link juice. No-follow links are not useful concerning the ranking of a page as they do not contribute anything. In general, a webmaster uses the no-follow tag when he/she is linking out to an unreliable site.
Do-Follow Link: By default, all the links that you add to a blog post are do-follow links and these pass link juice.
Linking Root Domains: This refers to the number of backlinks coming into your website from a unique domain. Even if a website has linked to your website ten times, it will only be considered as one linked root domain.
Low-Quality Links: Low-quality links are links that come from harvested sites, automated sites, spam sites, or even porn sites. Such links do far more harm than good. This is one reason you should be careful when buying backlinks.
Internal Links: Links that are going from one page to another within the same domain are called internal links. The process itself is referred to as internal linking or interlinking.
Anchor Text: Text that is used for hyperlinks is called anchor text. Anchor text backlinks work great when you are trying to rank for particular keywords.
Advantages of backlinks in SEO:
Before I talk about the advantages of backlinks, you need to know that much has changed concerning backlinks in the past couple of years.
There was a time when even low-quality links helped in ranking a site. But ever since Google rolled out its Penguin algorithm, the whole landscape of backlinking has changed.
It is important to have backlinks from quality sites, and those backlinks should be contextual. If, for example, you have a site about fish, and you are creating links from other niche sites about monkeys, these links will be of no use. Your goal should be to get links from authoritative and relevant sites.
Now let’s take a look at why it is important for you to create backlinks to your site:
1. Improves Organic Ranking
Backlinks help in getting better search engine rankings.
Important note: “SERP” means search engine results page. This screenshot is merely reflecting what people see in Google.
Here’s an example.
Take the topic “SEO Backlinks”.
If I enter this search term into SEMRush SERP analysis (a keyword research tool), I can see that most of the high-ranking pages have tons of backlinks:
If your content is getting links from other sites, that content will naturally start to rank higher in the search results. If it isn’t, then you need to get proactive and build them.
Your goal should be to create links to individual posts/pages along with those leading to your homepage.
2. Faster Indexing
Search engine bots discover new webpages by following backlinks from existing webpages. Only when they’ve discovered your site can they crawl your site effectively.
It will be more difficult for search engine bots to find your site if you do not have any backlinks. Especially for a new website, it is important to get backlinks as they help in the faster discovery and indexing of your site.
3. Referral Traffic
One of the major benefits of backlinks is that they help get referral traffic. Basically, a person who is reading a post may click on links in the post to find out more about the topic at hand.
Since people click on links voluntarily, they’re usually more targeted and are less likely to leave the page fast (aka a low bounce rate).
Usually, referral traffic is targeted and has a low bounce rate.
Learn: What is anchor text and what is the SEO importance of anchored text?
How to start getting backlinks:
So now you understand what the term “backlink” means as it relates to SEO and why they’re important. Let’s now learn a few simple techniques for acquiring new backlinks:
One important fact that you need to keep in mind about backlink SEO is that it is not the number of backlinks which matters, but rather the quality of backlinks.
If you are using some paid services to get links to your site, you are likely going to be penalized by Google Penguin’s algorithm.
So here’s the question:
What are some of the ways to get quality backlinks for your blog?
- Write awesome articles
- Use Broken link building method
- Replicating your competitors’ backlinks
- Create cornerstone articles (Piller articles)
- Start guest blogging
- Submit to web directories
You can read: Organic Traffic and Google Search Engine Promotion
You can read: SEO Search Engine Optimization and Promotion in Google