What are backlinks and why are they so important for SEO?
Backlinks are a key element of a website’s Off-page SEO and play a very important role in search engine algorithms.
Ever since they started being used as hyperlink posts from site to site, they have immediately proven their power and value, as they have managed to change the terms under which websites are ranked in search engine results.
If you are interested in learning more about this practice that gives prestige and authority to any website, enhancing SEO and website promotion, this article is for you.
What are backlinks?
A backlink is any link that leads from one web page to another. More specifically, a backlink (or incoming link, inbound link, inlink, inward link) is a link that is located on a foreign website and leads visitors to yours. In the opposite case, if the link is on your website and leads to an external one, then we are talking about outgoing links, outbound links, outlinks or outward links.
For a start, let’s focus on the backlinks.
The History of Backlinks
In the 1990s, Stanford University students decided to change the search engines’ settings so that the use of keywords would not be the only criterion for evaluating a website. This practice often led to keyword stuffing and the problem was not limited only to that. Website owners were more interested in the keywords they would use to rank first in search engine results than in their content, which was often irrelevant to the keywords. As a result visitors were confused and the website had no reason to exist except as a useless web page full of ads and a pool of unnecessary keywords.
The two students from California focused on eliminating the competition among websites about which has the most keywords. They tried to push website owners to focus more on creating more useful web pages. They thought that they should somehow quantify the popularity of each website and make the most popular one appear first in the search engines’ results. Thus, they could give internet users websites whose content would respond to their searches.
And the solution was given as follows: As they started using the so-called backlinks, the more websites led through backlinks to a particular website, the greater its value. As a result, until today, the more backlinks a site has to authoritative websites (official, authentic websites) the more it appears in search engines as a trusted and qualitative internet site.
Glossary for Backlinks
In order to be able to analyze backlinks in more detail, firstly it is necessary to explain specific relevant terms that we encounter very often in terms of backlinks’ terminology.
Link juice: This term is used to indicate the value and “trust vote” given to a website through a backlink from another website. So, when website A has a backlink to website B the “link juice” goes to B enhancing its power and rankings in search engines.
Linking Root Domains:
This phrase indicates the number of backlinks that lead to your website from a set of official and reputable websites.
Backlinks from unreliable websites reduce the authority you are trying to build through links from quality websites and can only hurt SEO.
The text in the hyperlink that leads to a site is called Anchor Text. You will most often recognize it with the blue underline it usually carries.
When one web page links to another, it does not always mean that it is a backlink that directs link juice. If the link has a “nofollow” tag then it is not counted by search engines in the Linking Root Domains of a site, thus it does not affect SEO directly.
In contrast to the above term, “dofollow” links are defined as all hyperlinks that are placed on a website and carry by definition link juice.
Backlinks help SEO
According to Backlinko, getting backlinks is an important practice for a website as it expands its value and importance. Quality backlinks essentially give search engines information about which website should appear higher in their results.
Google itself has pointed out that when a website holds a “trust vote” from quality and reputable websites, it boosts SEO, making it more likely to rank higher in search engine results. In short, their own authority affects yours and consequently the SEO of your website.
How to build backlinks?
Follow Broken Link Building practice
Find a broken link, rewrite its content, create an active link to your website and take the place of the once “broken” hyperlink.
Write quality, valuable and comprehensive articles
Create quality and targeted content. If your website articles are helpful and meet the demands of visitors, other websites will find it easier to place a backlink for you, as it will not hurt their own authority.
Start guest blogging
A good practice for creating backlinks is to get in touch with another website, whose topic is relevant to yours. Chances are that you will make a deal with them that will benefit you. But first, make sure that it is a reliable website for your industry because only then you will be able to get something useful and efficient for your website.
Adopt the backlinks of competing websites
Start with research on your competitors’ backlinks. Thus, you will be informed about what really serves for high rankings and you will be able to adopt them on your own website. Open Site Explorer gives you the opportunity to discover the hyperlinks that are connected to any website you are interested in.
Create Pillar Pages
The term “Pillar page” means the methodology by which a page is created with concise references to specific topics (pillar content) with a single text coherence, where each topic is analyzed in more detail on its own page and is linked to the Pillar Page via a hyperlink. This particular way of building a website facilitates both visitors and search engines, which “reward” the above practice as useful, quality and user-friendly, with a higher ranking in their results.
Make Local Citations
Local Citation is defined as any electronic reference of a business to websites such as Google, LinkedIn or business directories such as the Yellow Pages. This practice helps internet users reach you based on local searches.
Bad practices for Backlinks
When you want to link building with backlinks, your goal should be the reliability of the websites that lead to your website through hyperlink. As search engine algorithms evolve, only valuable, high-quality hyperlinks are rewarded, as this also suggests that search engines perform their functions correctly and reliably for the benefit of their users, and therefore for their own benefit. If you create a backlink to a low quality website with unreliable ads and content, it is very likely that you will notice a drop in your website rankings, as Google condemns such practices.
If you rely specifically on social media for reports on your website in order to create backlinks through your profiles, you are making a big mistake. The most well-known social media that everyone uses are “nofollow links” and as a result they do not add “link juice” to the mentioned website. Of course, the existence of professional profiles on social media, for the promotion of a company is able to bring new visitors, however it will not significantly enhance the rankings.
There are sites that charge a website to post a backlink to their own web environment. It is very likely that these websites do not meet Google’s standards and requirements for such practices, that is, they do not mention that the ad is “sponsored” and so this link works as “nofollow”.
Who links back to my website?
One of the functions that you should regularly check for Off-page SEO is the backlinks that your website is accumulating. First and foremost, if you’re sure that your website’s outreach is working just right, check regularly for hyperlinks that may inadvertently come from sites that are unreliable and rejected according to Google rules. Google Search Console allows you to discard unwanted links that could harm your website’s SEO.
In conclusion, posting backlinks is one of the most powerful practices you can follow to enhance the SEO of your website. In fact, when done in a valid and reliable way it contributes significantly to the success of the website. The higher the quality of the website in which the backlink of your website is published, the greater the chances that you will see immediate changes in your website’s rankings. The best practices also bring best results, so the next time you deal with the backlinks of your website, take notice of the information you have just read and you will definitely see results in your favor.
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