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What Are Backlinks? How to Build More Backlinks in 2020

Updated: Mar 31, 2020

What are Backlinks?

In this post, we hope to offer you understanding of backlinks, the importance of high-quality backlinks for SEO and how essential they are for your online success.

What Are Backlinks?

(Source: Backlinko)

Simply put, a backlink is a link from one website to a page of another website. They are incoming links to a webpage. Backlinks are also known as inbound links, one way links or incoming links. Search engines consider backlinks as a “vote” for a particular page. It means that the content of the page is noteworthy and such pages tend to have higher rankings and visibility in search engine results.

Why Are Backlinks Important?

As backlinks are votes from other websites, it lets search engines like Google to understand that the content is credible and useful. The more votes you have, the higher your site will rank in the search engine results. Backlinks are Google’s Key Rankings Signal and they help achieve three things;

  • Search Engine Ranking: Backlinks are one of the important Search Engine Ranking Factors. The more backlinks your web pages have, the more likely they are to rank higher in the search results.

  • Quick Indexing: Typically, search engines revisit known pages to find new content and check for new links. As search engines crawl popular pages more often, they discover your content faster if you have backlinks from such pages.It will be difficult for search engines to find your site if you do not have any backlinks. If you are a new website, it is important to get quality backlinks as they help faster discovery of your content and indexing of your site.

  • Referral Traffic: Backlinks are clickable and point to useful resources. So when someone clicks on a link to your website, you get referral traffic. As the backlinks are clicked upon voluntarily, they are more targeted and less chances of people leaving the page fast. Referral traffic is targeted and has a low bounce rate.

How Do Backlinks Work?

Backlinks play a key role in your SEO Marketing Campaign and the overall growth of your website. Backlinks can be thought of as conversations among websites.

For instance, say you write an interesting article about a sports event. Another famous blogger links to your article sharing his/her perspective. This creates a backlink to your post. As the blogger is famous, many others will link back to her article. This improves the authority of the blog and at the same time, you will start getting valuable backlinks from a reputable website.

How to Get Backlinks?

One important fact you need to keep in mind about SEO Backlinking is that it is the quality of backlinks that matters and not the number of backlinks.

Building backlinks to your website is time consuming. Here are a few ways you can start building backlinks for your site.


  • Include links to your website on your social media profile

  • Do a Google search, find a post that is ranking well and then improve on it

  • Create more infographics, how-to and why posts and posts with videos as these help you get more backlinks.

  • Include long guide posts that include thousands of words and cover every angle of the topic

  • Write more guests posts for other websites and blogs

  • Get in touch with influencers in your niche and ask them to send a link to an article on your website or send a link to influencers in your industry and they are sure to link to back to your site

Remember, people discover your content via social media, Google or word-of-mouth and choose to link your page. Such links are organic and to increase your chances of earning more backlinks, you must create useful content that people would willingly link to.

You may also do Competitive Backlink Research by observing the backlinks of your competitors who are ranking better. You can use backlink tools like SEMRush to find such links. It can help you target those domains as part of your Backlink Building Strategy.

Competitive Backlink Research

It may take some time and effort to earn backlinks. It may be even more difficult for new sites or those expanding their keyword footprint and find it difficult to understand where to start their link building.

Competitive backlink research helps examine the backlink profile of your competitors that are already ranking well for your target keywords. It will help you gain insight about link building that may have helped them.

What are the Different Types of Backlinks?

There are basically two types of backlinks- Nofollow and Dofollow links.

Nofollow links tell search engines to not take account of a link. These links are not really helpful in improving your visibility or search rank as they don’t pass any value from one site to another.

Dofollow links are important type of backlinks. This type of backlink helps improve your search engine rankings. Do remember that links coming from respected sites hold most value and these dofollow links have a reputation of being bad as these links can be gained though unethical practices or from suspicious websites.

Google can penalize or even de-index your website. It is important to remember that it is the quality of backlinks that makes a difference in your ranking and not the quantity.

What Makes Good Backlinks?

Not all backlinks create the same kind of effect on your rankings. Have a look at some of the attributes that improve backlink’s quality and importance.

  • Authority: Page-level authority has some impact on the traffic and rankings. Backlinks from strong web pages provide higher authority than weak web pages. However, do note that backlinks from strong pages do not always transfer more authority. Google states that authority is divided equally among all the outbound links on a web page. If you have backlinks from two pages with one having more outbound links than the other then according to Google’s original patent all being equal, the link from the page having fewer outbound links transfers more authority. Apart from this, Google has other patents to assign value to backlinks. Additionally, internal backlinks influence the page’s authority.

  • Relevance: Relevant backlinks have more value as people click on them. For instance if you are a cake baker and you have links from two pages, one about cats and another about cupcakes, the latter is likely to be valuable. This also applies to the domain level.

  • Traffic: Backlinks from pages having high-traffic will help you get more referral traffic than those pages with low-traffic.

  • Placement: Some links on web pages are likely to gain more authority than other as people are more likely to click on links that are placed at prominent places.

  • Anchor text: These are clickable words that form a backlink. Google includes anchor text and proximity information to improve search quality.

  • Dofollow v/s Nofollow: Nofollow links are less likely to have a great influence on the linked page’s ranking. However, sometimes they can. Although you should prioritize getting dofollow links, don’t fuss if you get a nofollow links as they may still have some SEO value.

How to Check Backlinks?

You can use Google Search Console to see your website’s organic search traffic and overall performance. You can sign up for a free account and click on the “Links” on the sidebar.

The number under the “External Links” reveals the total number of unique backlinks to your website.

(Source: Ahref Blog)

To check backlinks to websites that you don’t own, you can use tools like Ahrefs’ free Backlink Checker.

You can simply enter a URL or domain and hit the “Check Backlinks”. You will get to see the total number of backlinks, referring domains and top 100 backlinks.

Final Thoughts

There’s no denying that backlinks play an important role when it comes to ranking in search engines. However, not all backlinks are equal. The easier it is to get a link, the less valuable it will be. Also, you will have to give attention to many other attributes that will help you get higher rankings in search engine results.

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