Guide to the importance of backlinks in SEO and rankings.

Importance of Backlinks: 5 Reasons They Matter for SEO

Guide to the importance of backlinks in SEO and rankings.
Diana Aghumyan Diana Aghumyan
Table of Contents

Link building might be the activity SEO marketers invest most of their time and effort into, because it’s believed backlinks have the most effect on where your page is placed in Google rankings.

While building backlinks can be time-consuming, it doesn’t have to be challenging.

Many people wonder, are backlinks still important in SEO?

The importance of backlinks is significant, as backlinks 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, increase your website’s reputation, and gain the benefits of backlinking.

What are backlinks?

Backlinks, also known as “incoming links,” “inbound links,” or “one-way links,” are links from one website pointing to a page on another website through an anchor text.

Search engines like Google perceive your page as a trustworthy source of information that gives value. Pages with quality and relevant backlinks lead to high organic search engine rankings.

What makes a backlink good?

A good 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 good?

First and foremost, relevance plays a crucial role in defining the value 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 industry, it establishes a connection of trust, signaling to search engines that your site is reliable and valuable.

Authority is another important factor in determining backlink type – whether it’s good or bad.

If you want to gain all the benefits of backlinking, make sure your backlinks are from authoritative websites so that they 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 backlinks themselves. Obtaining backlinks from such authoritative sources not only strengthens 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.

How is link building still alive?

Are backlinks still important? This is a question that is widely discussed by SEO specialists.

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.

How important are backlinks? In fact, they are really important. 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.

What should you look for in a backlink?

When assessing the type of a backlink – whether it’s good or bad, several key factors come into play.

Here are some aspects to consider when evaluating backlinks that can help you reap off most of the benefits of backlinking:

  • Relevance – The most valuable backlinks come from websites that are relevant to your own content. Ensure that the linking site’s subject aligns with yours, as this helps search engines understand the context and relevance of the link.
  • Authority of the linking domain – As mentioned before, backlinks from authoritative and reputable websites carry more weight.
  • Check the domain rating and overall credibility of the site providing the backlink. Links from well-established and trustworthy sources are more likely to positively impact your own site’s authority.
  • Do-follow vs. No-follow – As we’ll see more in detail later, do-follow links pass SEO value, while no-follow links tell search engines not to follow or consider them for rankings.
  • While do-follow links are typically more valuable, a mix of both can appear more natural and diverse.
  • Link diversity – A diverse backlink profile, including links from various domains and types of websites, can strengthen your website’s authority.
  • Go for a mix of links from blogs, industry publications, and other relevant sources.
  • Freshness – Search engines may consider the freshness of backlinks. Recent and regularly updated links may contribute more positively to your site’s authority.

By considering these factors you can make informed decisions about which backlinks to pursue.

5 reasons for the importance of backlinks in SEO

The importance of backlinks in SEO lies in the benefits you can get as a result of link building. Below are the benefits of backlinking and 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.

Link building improves search engine rankings.

The best way to see the benefits of backlinking is to leverage the power of content marketing. The more valuable 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

Why are backlinks important?

Well, they make your business become easily discoverable for people. The more people learn about your brand, the more customers you will attract and the more revenue you will drive. Increased revenue can significantly impact the value of your business if you decide to sell your online business in the future, as buyers will be more interested in a successful business with a strong performance history.

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. While you may use the right primary keywords in your content, build engaging landing pages, and have the perfect UI design, backlinks are still needed when it comes to visibility.

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, there are other benefits of backlinking — they bring traffic to your site from authoritative websites.

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
  • Safe
  • Good page load time
  • Mobile-friendliness

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)

Increased domain rating is another good reason for those who are wondering why backlinks are still important? 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. Speaking of building a positive presence online, let’s not forget about the importance of building long-lasting connections in SEO. Check out our guide on link building outreach to learn some tips and tricks (and get templates) for a more professional relationship creation process.

Where and how can I see my backlinks?

Understanding where to find and how to evaluate your website’s backlinks is important for maintaining a healthy SEO strategy.

There are several tools and platforms that offer valuable insights into your backlink profile.

These tools are specifically backlink checkers. There are a couple of them, with the two most notable being Ahrefs and Semrush.

For example, if you enter your website URL into one of these tools’ search bar, the tool will generate a report on your backlinks, including the number, quality, and types of links.

In the picture below, we can see SayNine’s backlinks through the Ahrefs’ search bar.

Checking website backlinks on Ahrefs.

Some of these tools’ features can cost you money as they’re a whole lot more than backlink and competitor analysis tools. However, they are worth using because they can provide and show you all the benefits of backlinking.

You can also perform a manual search on search engines by using the “link:” operator followed by your website URL (e.g., “”).

Checking the domains linking to a website on Google.

This will display a list of web pages that link to your site.


So, are backlinks still important?

The importance of backlinks in SEO will be a topic for debate for a long time. However, one thing is undeniable. There are several benefits to backlinking and backlinks are one of the most significant ranking factors because 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 how important are backlinks, which ones you should use, and which ones you should avoid, you can build your own link-building strategy.

Good luck!

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.

How many backlinks per month is good?

It really depends, but as a rule of thumb, earning 10-20 backlinks on a monthly basis is enough to improve website rankings.

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