Backlinks, what are they, and why are they so important?

Backlinks

What is a backlink?

A backlink, simply put, is link to a webpage. Anytime a website links to another page, it is a backlink. Backlinks can also be referred to as inbound links, or incoming links. First off, backlinks are especially important for SEO strategy because they give a stamp of legitimacy, from one site to another. Pages with a lot of backlinks, therefore, tend to rank much higher on all major relevant search engines – Google included.  Essentially, search engines like Google view backlinks as votes of confidence. 

Not all backlinks are created the same. Some are more inherently valuable than others. Most obviously, backlinks from high-traffic pages will send more referral traffic. However, also consider backlinks from trustworthy, high-authority and trusted sites, versus backlinks from more spam-related pages. High quality websites provide high value backlinks. The number of backlinks that come from very unique websites also correlate strongly with higher search traffic. And just as some backlinks are more valuable than others, the links you create to other pages also differ in their value. It is not simply which page the link comes from, but the meta tags and anchor text used in building that backlink. Often times, relevance of backlinks determine their value as well: backlinks should be relevant to the page they are on. 

How do we get them?

The process of retrieving backlinks is called link earning or link building. This process of campaigning for backlinks is a critical element of off-site SEO. It is a time-consuming, but exceptionally important, process.

To find competitive backlinks, research is required. Examine the backlink profile of a competitor that is already ranking well in your keyword niche, and try to gain as much insight about the link building that helped them rise in rank. Explore their webpages and social media pages to look for their link-building techniques and learn from them. A tip we can offer is to look at competitors’ resource page links. Further, it can be helpful to refer to backlink tools that can help you uncover these links so that you, too, can target those domains for your own campaigns.

Consider guest blogging, which is considered one of the most effective ways to reach new audiences and bringing them back to your page. When publishing articles on other popular websites, you will increase your exposure, and not just have an effective backlink, but also increase your online presence in social media. Google, too, accepts guest blog writers on their Google Analytics blog. Find where other popular influencers in your niche write guest blog posts for, and take the time to find high quality websites that accept guest articles. 

Lastly, make sure that your webpage is the authoritative resource that other webpages are looking to backlink from. By creating high quality, trustworthy content on your own page will help you to create and maintain relationships with other valued webpages to add to your link building campaign.