What Are Backlinks

What Are Backlinks – A Comprehensive Overview

Backlinking is, in a lot of ways, the single most significant aspect of search engine optimization and getting your blog/website to rank for competitive keywords. If you truly want to rank high in the SERPs (search engine results page), ethical backlinking must figure in your overall SEO strategy.

Backlinks are the currency of the Internet.

Such have they become, especially over the past couple years. Guest posts – the majority of which used to be paid – are now often done unpaid, simply in exchange for a backlink or two.


What Are Backlinks

Credit: Anitab0000

What Are Backlinks?

A backlink is an inbound link to your website/blog from another website/blog. 

Some webmaster linked to your website from his or her own, usually because: A.) Your website complemented his/her own, B.) You paid for it or C.) You guest posted on the site in exchange for a pre-arranged backlink.


How Are Backlinks Significant in SEO?

As already mentioned, growing the number of high-quality backlinks to your site is essential to ranking high in search engines, for a number of reasons.

Search engines, especially Google, are all about providing the highest-quality content possible to the searcher, for each and every keyword. They want to ensure that best content ranks on the first page, and the worst content ranks on the most obscure page. Thus, in order to effectively rank a website, they have to calculate the quality of a website. One of the ways they do that is through backlinks.

You can think of a backlink as such – “a ‘vote’ for your site”. In the early days of the Internet and website ownership, backlinks were created only when a website owner believed that your website was a helpful resource worth linking to. Although nowadays this still happens, occasionally, most backlinks are paid for, in terms of either money or content (guest posting).

The type that search engines love is the former – the backlinks that come as a result of awesome content you posted on your blog – the type of content that people sincerely want to link to, even if they don’t get a benefit themselves.

That’s how the importance of backlinks was born. Nowadays, a lot of webmasters attempt to game search engines with black-hat techniques, particularly link farms and link baits.

Additionally, Google PR (page-rank) is calculated solely from the number of backlinks your site has, and the quality of each backlink (read about backlink quality below).

“Link juice” is a fairly common SEO term, which can be defined as “the backlink-related credibility your website has.”


The Difference Between “Nofollow” And “Dofollow” Links

“Nofollow” and “dofollow” are link attributes. Most website building software automatically attribute each link created to be dofollow. Nofollow links are formed with the rel=”nofollow” HTML tag.

Basically, the nofollow attribute notifies search engine crawlers that the link in question should not be crawled/indexed. If a link is nofollow, Google’s spiders simply pass it over as if it was plain text. If another website inserts a nofollow link back to your website, your website will not receive credit/link juice for it.

On the other hand, dofollow links are crawled and indexed by search engines. If another website inserts a dofollow link back to your website, then search engines will count it as a backlinks, and will thereby give your website due credit.


Backlink Quality Measures

A false assumption that has pervaded the SEO industry is that any and every backlink your website has gives you relatively the same amount of link juice. There is absolutely no basis for this assumption whatsoever. The following are a few of the metrics one can use to determine the quality of a specific backlink.


1. Relevancy

Does the backlink come from a relevant website? If your blog is about SEO, a backlink from a health & fitness website will be less effective as one from a blog that also targets SEO as one of its main keywords.


2. Website Trust

Does the backlink come from a trusted website? The greater the amount of trust a website has, the greater the value of a link from it. Want to know the trust factor of a website? Then check out the Trust Flow metric from Majestic SEO or Domain Trust from OpenSiteExplorer.


3. Link Placement

Where in the text is the link placed? Backlinks that are placed higher up in the text, closer to the beginning, carry more weight than the ones that reside at the very bottom. If you ever do a guest post, attempt to incorporate a link to your website close to the top (if the guidelines allow).


Anchor Text

Anchor text is also a very important metric of link quality, carrying a lot of significance. If used improperly it can also potentially “break” the optimization of a website.

Anchor text is hyperlinked text. The words “SEO Service Group” in the following sentence is an example:

Purchase high-quality optimization services from SEO Service Group today!

In that example, the words “SEO Service Group” are hyperlinked, thus considered anchor text. The most popular form of anchor text is “click here”. Although it might garner more click-throughs than any other anchor text, it will not provide nearly as much link value when compared to keyword-based anchor text.

When possible, you should attempt to have your website’s primary and secondary keywords as the anchor text for your website. This is also an integral part of the relevancy of a backlink. Google itself once advised to use descriptive anchor text, the post/page title would fit perfectly.

However, be very careful not to overdo anchor text. Especially if you mass submit to article directories, make sure that your anchor text is not always your keywords. When you do that, you’re erecting and waving around a red flag – search engines will take that for keyword spamming, a surefire way to get you out of the Google rankings – permanently.


Summing Up

Backlinks are very, very important to succeed in search engine optimization, obtain a high PR, and gain organic traffic. Without high-quality backlinks from relevant sites, there’s little chance that your website will do anything in the SERPs.

You worry about the website content. Let us take care about its backlinks.