Backlinks, also called “incoming” links, are created when one website gives a link to a page on another website. For instance, if a traveling site (Website A) links to a blog post comparing the best tourist destinations in the world (Website B), the latter receives a backlink from Website A.
Backlinks are important in terms of SEO as they signal to Google that your website has authority as another resource finds your website content useful enough to link to it within their own content. Consequently, when you earn backlinks, your chances of ranking higher on SERPs increase. In fact, a page ranking first place gets nearly 28% of all the clicks, while the top five search results on Google account for about 70% of the total clicks.
However, having backlinks from random websites can hurt your site’s SEO. Receiving backlinks from spammy or untrustworthy pages will lead to a drop in rankings. As a result, your content won’t have the discoverability you want.
Thus, you should not neglect the importance of backlinks in SEO and get equipped with the right link-building skills and tools to maximize SEO efforts and increase your website’s reputation.
What Makes a High-Quality Backlink?
A high-quality backlink is key to a successful SEO strategy. Having a solid backlink profile can significantly impact a website’s rankings and online reputation. But what exactly makes a backlink high-quality?
First and foremost, relevance plays a crucial role in defining the quality of a backlink. A backlink from a website that is contextually related to your own is more valuable than one from an unrelated source.
Google places great emphasis on relevance, considering it a strong indicator of the link’s legitimacy and value to users. When you have a link pointing to your site from a website with high authority in your niche, it establishes a connection of trust and authority, signaling to search engines that your site is reliable and valuable.
Authority is another important factor in determining backlink quality. Backlinks from authoritative websites hold more weight in search engine algorithms. Websites with high domain rating and active online presence are considered trustworthy sources of information.
These sites typically have a good reputation, attract a lot of organic traffic, and possess many quality backlinks themselves. Obtaining backlinks from such authoritative sources not only enhances your website’s credibility but also helps your site to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).
The credibility of the linking domain is another important element. Search engines analyze the reputation and trustworthiness of the domain from which the backlink originates. If the linking domain is associated with spammy practices, search engines may penalize your website.
The anchor text used for the backlink also has a huge impact on its quality. Ideally, the anchor text should be relevant to the linked page’s content and include target keywords.
However, if you use the exact-match anchor text more than it is needed, it can be considered a manipulative practice. It’s advised to have a natural and diverse anchor text profile, using variations of keywords and incorporating generic phrases as well.
Last but not least, contextual links also matter. A backlink embedded within an article that gives value and enhances the reader’s experience has more weight than a link placed in the footer. Search engines prefer contextual links as they indicate a genuine endorsement of the content by the linking website.
Why is Link Building Still Alive?
There’s been a lot of discussions and debates about whether the importance of backlinks in SEO has decreased or not. Some people have stated that link-building is dead, while others believe that it’s still an essential ranking factor.
So, who to believe?
It’s true that link building has undergone several changes. Many link-building practices that were popular in the past are obsolete nowadays. Google’s search algorithm update, Penguin, has also affected link building. Penguin penalizes websites involved in spammy link exchanges. Thus, it’s essential to earn good-quality backlinks.
Despite the fact that link building has changed, backlinks still remain one of the most crucial ranking factors. It is because the backlinks you receive from other websites are “votes of confidence.” The more high-quality incoming links you have pointing to your site, the more chances you have to rank high in search results. So, don’t give up on link-building too soon if you are truly interested in SEO.
Reasons Why Earning Good Backlinks is Important For SEO
The importance of backlinks in SEO lies in the benefits you can get as a result of link building. Below are some advantages of earning good backlinks for your website.
1. Improves SERP Rankings
Backlink building takes time, but it brings amazing rewards when it comes to your Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) positions. Even though Google’s algorithm tends to change daily, backlinks are still one of the essential ranking factors for Google’s search engine.
Get more backlinks. The best way to do this is to leverage the power of content marketing. The more high-quality content you publish, the more people will find it and link to your content. So, make sure to create blog post articles worth linking to.
Acquire backlinks from authority domains. These are the sites Google has reviewed and determined trustworthy. When there is a link pointing to you from an authoritative website, your Google rankings will highly improve.
2. Improves Visibility
SEO Visibility shows how visible a website is in the organic search results whenever users look for something on Google. More specifically, it is the percentage of overall traffic your website receives for a particular keyword. This indicator also enables you to analyze the pain points you have and find ways for optimization.
Without proper visibility, no one will be able to find you, your conversions will drop, and your revenue will significantly decrease.
However, with good-quality backlinks, your website visibility will increase.
Therefore, you need to try to increase the number of backlinks from high-authority, trustworthy, and relevant websites.
You can accomplish this in a few actionable ways:
- Consider guest posting to other good-quality websites. Guest posts are one of the most effective ways to improve your visibility. They help to earn backlinks for your website and expose your content to new audiences. This leads to more organic traffic, better rankings, and brand awareness.
- Establish relationships with SEO specialists. Working with SEO specialists can help improve your SEO visibility. The more people you know, the easier it is for you to build a SaaS link-building strategy. And, the more link-building exchanges you do, the more opportunities there are to gain backlinks and improve your SEO visibility.
In other words, the backbone of your backlinking strategy is connecting with other trusted and authoritative websites.
3. Boosts Traffic
Apart from boosting rankings and improving visibility, backlinks from authoritative websites bring traffic to your site.
Before earning a number of backlinks from trusted websites to link back to your content, ensure your content and website are good enough. While the importance of backlinks in SEO is unmatched, it should get support from other website optimization practices.
What makes a good website? Below are a few elements to keep in mind.
- Quality content
- Easy navigation and functionality
- Optimized for search engines
- Good page load time
When other sites link to your content, the number of visitors to your website and the chances of converting visitors to leads will increase.
So, in order to boost your website traffic, make sure you write high-quality content. When you publish quality content, other websites will link to it. The more relevant and authoritative backlinks you get, the more organic traffic you will receive.
Apart from publishing compelling quality content, you need to remember that consistency also matters. If you are going to publish once a month, you won’t be able to gain a lot of quality backlinks. So, no backlinks, no traffic. Don’t forget to create shareable content which enables you to attract wider audiences, earn a lot of traffic, and get high-quality links to help you rank higher in search engines.
4. Boosts Domain Rating (DR)
Increasing your DR is a time-consuming process, but there are several ways to achieve this.
But what exactly is DR?
Domain Rating (DR) is an important metric that demonstrates the strength of a website’s backlink profile on a 100-point scale.
First, conduct a link audit. A link audit process assumes analyzing the links pointing to your site to detect potential problems or opportunities in your backlink profile. Similar to an on-page SEO audit for your site, a link audit assesses your links to understand if they are optimized to help your website rank higher for your target keywords.
If there are low-quality links, make sure to get rid of them, as they can badly affect your DR. You can request a removal from a website by contacting the webmaster and asking to remove the links.
The more backlinks you have, the higher your DR is. However, having too many backlinks from poor-quality websites will only harm your SEO. Therefore, you need to make sure that the quality of your backlinks is also good.
5. Increases Brand Awareness
The importance of backlinks in SEO lies in increasing brand awareness too. The more people recognize your brand, the more they’ll make purchases from you.
Customers need to continue interacting with your brand before they can remember it by name. When you receive many backlinks, more people know about your brand. In this way, you will be able to grow awareness around your brand. As a result, it will be much easier for you to stay top-of-mind.
One effective strategy to earn quality backlinks and boost brand awareness is through brand mention link building. Brand mention link building involves getting backlinks from sites or online platforms that mention your brand without necessarily linking to your website. These mentions can be in the form of citations, references, or even social media posts.
When your brand is mentioned across several online channels, it reinforces its presence and stays in the minds of potential customers for a long time. The more your brand is mentioned in a positive context, the more people remember and associate it with credibility and authority.
6 Types of Backlinks You Should Avoid
Since the importance of backlinks in SEO is huge, you should know that there are a few types of bad backlinks you should avoid while working on your website’s SEO.
In general, you should avoid anything that is untrustworthy or too good to be true. Good SEO requires time and doesn’t happen overnight. So, while reviewing your SEO and link-building strategies, here are seven of the most significant types of backlinks you should not use.
1. Backlinks From Spammy Websites
It is not always easy to identify spam, even though most people are aware of what it is. It usually includes irrelevant ads or websites about illegal products. It is the same for spammy backlinks too.
These are links pointing to your site from domains you would probably not like your business to be associated with. Such links could hurt your brand’s reputation. Therefore, you should avoid spammy websites as much as possible.
Spammy websites are usually about pornography, poker, and pharmaceuticals. If your website receives too many backlinks from these types of sites, search engines may penalize you.
Thus, you need to regularly monitor your backlinks. There are many backlink checker tools. A proper backlink tool will enable you to monitor your backlink profile and understand if there are any poor-quality sites that link to you.
2. Link Schemes
Link schemes have been quite famous for years. Link schemes, also called link spam, are the practice of manipulating rankings in Google. These can be links pointing to your website as well as outbound links from your website.
Below you can find some examples of link schemes according to Google’s Spam Policies for Web Search
- Exchanging links for monetary benefits, products, or services
- Automated link placements created by special automated programs or services
- Requiring links as part of a Terms of Service, contract, or other agreement.
- Widely distributed links in the footers or templates of different websites
- Keyword-rich, low-quality, or over-optimized links in guest posts and comments.
So, you should avoid such link-building activities as they can harm your SEO. Search engines are getting smarter, and regardless of how clever the link scheme seems, it’s going to be discovered eventually.
3. Backlinks From Comment Sections/Forums
Forum backlinks are types of backlinks to your website you get from forums or online communities. There are various types of forums. Those are niche discussion websites or large platforms like Quora and Reddit. The key is that users can sign up for these platforms and join discussions.
Forum links aren’t beneficial for SEO, and they don’t contribute to high rankings compared to other types of backlinks.
Keep in mind that stuffing online forums with links to your site can hurt your SEO efforts. Google penalizes attempts to manipulate the website’s rankings on Google’s search results. Therefore, you should avoid spammy manipulation practices as much as possible.
Nowadays, links from forums and comment sections are usually automatically determined as nofollow links by Google. So, they basically have no impact on your SEO rankings.
4. No-follow Backlinks
No-follow links are not followed by search engines. Such links are considered to be devalued in terms of SEO.
From a link-building perspective, those links are not as useful as do-follow backlinks. A no-follow link does not have any immediate positive impact on a website’s ranking, but it is also not considered to be a negative signal.
Even though no-follow links are not crawled by Google, they come with a few benefits.
First, they drive traffic to your website. When people click on a no-follow link and land on your website, they interact with your site and content. This brings your site more traffic.
The more traffic you have, the more awareness you have around your brand. These links can help prospects discover and learn about your company. If people are familiar with your brand, they’re more likely to choose your business since they recognize your brand.
5. Backlinks From Irrelevant Websites
Website relevance is important when it comes to building links. If you have a real estate company and you get a backlink from a popular pet store website, this will seem fishy to Google.
Therefore, you should avoid getting irrelevant links since they make you look suspicious and unnatural.
It is recommended to keep an eye on links pointing to your site. You can use a backlink checker tool to track what links your website has from other sites. If there are too many irrelevant links, you can contact the webmaster and ask him/her to remove those links.
However, even if you are about to get a backlink from an irrelevant site, make sure the placement you do in a blog looks natural and fits the overall context of that specific part.
6. Backlinks From Low-Quality/Directory Websites
Directory submission services love giving promises that you will gain great benefits from their links.
Plenty of suspicious directory websites have appeared over the years that sell directory links to unknown businesses and brands. Indeed, you should avoid such practices of gaining backlinks because they can harm your website’s reputation and even result in penalties from search engines.
These suspicious directory websites often engage in black hat SEO techniques, which violate search engine guidelines. Buying links from them not only gives little to no value in terms of organic traffic and real engagement, but it can also raise red flags for search engines, potentially leading to a decrease in rankings or even complete removal from search results.
Instead, it’s important to concentrate on more ethical methods of building backlinks for long-term success. Start by creating valuable, relevant, and unique content that naturally attracts attention and encourages other reputable websites to link back to you. This could include writing informative blog posts, creating insightful videos, or designing visually compelling infographics. By consistently delivering top-notch content, you increase the chances of earning organic backlinks from trustworthy sources within your niche.
Besides, you can actively engage with your audience and participate in relevant online communities that can enable you to establish relationships with influential people and websites. By networking and building solid connections, you may be able to collaborate on content, guest post on reputable blogs, or participate in industry events, all of which can generate quality backlinks.
Keep in mind that the goal should always be to create value for your audience and build a strong online presence via legitimate methods. By avoiding suspicious directory websites and focusing on more sustainable link-building strategies, you can establish a solid foundation for long-term success while maintaining the trust of both search engines and your target audience.
The importance of backlinks in SEO will be a topic for debate for a long time. However, one thing is undeniable. Backlinks are one of the most significant ranking factors. You need to build links if you want to improve visibility in the SERPs.
It’s always best to opt for high-quality links that are natural and come from authoritative websites. Avoid earning links from spammy and irrelevant sites. They will only hurt your SEO and link-building efforts.
The best backlinks will position your site on the first page of Google search results. Your organic ranking will improve once your domain starts receiving more links from other quality websites that signal to Google that your site has useful content which should be visible to users.
Backlinks also increase your website traffic as you start receiving links from various sources. This will significantly help your business to grow and engage with the target audience.
Increased DR, brand awareness, and connecting with influential people in your niche are other great advantages that backlinks offer.
Now that you already know which backlinks matter and which you should avoid, you can build your own link-building strategy.
FAQ about the importance of backlinks
- What are backlinks, and why are they important for SEO?
Backlinks are links from other websites pointing to your website. They are important for SEO, as search engines see them as a vote of confidence in the relevance and authority of your website.
- How do backlinks affect search engine rankings?
Backlinks can affect search engine rankings by increasing your website’s authority and popularity. When a high-quality website links to your content, it signals to search engines that your website is a credible source of information on a particular topic.
- Have backlinks lost their significance in SEO as search algorithms evolve?
Of course, no! Backlinks are still an important factor in SEO, but their importance has evolved over time. While getting too many backlinks used to be more important, search engines now focus more on the quality of those backlinks and the relevance of the linking website to your content.
- What types of backlinks should I focus on acquiring in 2023?
The most valuable types of backlinks you should acquire in 2023 should be of high quality. Guest posting on relevant blogs, creating valuable content that others want to link to, and taking part in community forums or discussions can all be effective ways to acquire such backlinks.
- Are there any best practices or strategies for building high-quality backlinks in the current SEO landscape?
To build high-quality backlinks, you should concentrate on creating valuable content that others will want to link to and share. These can be in-depth guides or thought-provoking opinion pieces. You can also reach out to other websites or bloggers in your niche and offer to guest post or collaborate on content that provides value to your audience.