Why are Backlinks Important for SEO?

May 26, 2022

Read NUOPTIMA’s comprehensive guide on backlinks and their importance for SEO, and book a free 15-minute discovery call with our experts to explore how SEO services can benefit your website.

Key Points

  • Backlinks — also referred to as ‘inbound links’ or ‘incoming links’ — are simply links from one page on a website to another. They give a vote of confidence from one site to another and are great for your search visibility and ranking. They are very valuable for SEO.
  • Backlinks present numerous benefits, such as raising brand awareness, positioning your business as an authority, and improving your organic ranking. It is important to understand that the quality of your backlinks is more important than quantity.
  • Earning backlinks can be a time-consuming and challenging process. For this reason, many website owners are now hiring SEO experts to help them accomplish their SEO goals. Book a free consultation call with NUOPTIMA SEO agency to find out how we can help promote your website.

What is a Backlink?

In a nutshell, a backlink is a link from one page on a website to another. Also referred to as ‘inbound links’ or ‘incoming links’, backlinks are highly valuable for SEO. The significance of backlinks has somewhat decreased over the years due to the increasing complexity of search engine algorithms. But, they still play a solid part in your website’s authority and strength. The more authoritative your website is, the higher it will rank for the focused keywords you chose during keyword research. Moreover, the obvious point is that backlinks offer a way for visitors to find your site.

If somebody is reading a blog and finds a link to your website that looks relevant to the topic, they might click on the link and go straight through to your site. This is known as ‘referral traffic’ and can assist your website’s online reputation.

It is important to note that backlinks are not a numbers game. Having thousands of backlinks does not guarantee a fantastic ranking. The quality of your backlinks is paramount, more so than quantity.

Backlink Types

There are two types of backlinks:

  • Dofollow backlinks: These are the most common and valuable backlinks in SEO. When you put this type of link on your site, you inform Google that the link is organic (the target website did not purchase the link). You are also vouching for content accuracy at the other end of the link. It tells search engines that the content on the other end is important and should be acknowledged.
  • Nofollow backlinks: These are less common and also less valuable. They inform search engines to ignore a certain link.

The ratio of dofollow versus nofollow backlinks of a website will vary, and search engines look for a healthy mix of both for a good link profile. The largest difference is that Google puts a lot of value on dofollow links, meaning they are fantastic for SEO. Conversely, nofollow links are generally ignored by Google’s algorithm and are rarely important for SEO.

Top Tip: Where you put your backlinks matters significantly. Backlinks embedded in the middle of a sentence (contextual backlinks) are excellent for SEO.

Backlinks are important for SEO as they raise brand awareness, boost referral traffic and organically attract  more backlinks

Why are Backlinks Important for SEO?

There are several significant advantages to backlinks. Here are six of the biggest benefits.

Backlinks Raise Brand Awareness

When a website links to you, it illustrates that they think their readers will benefit from what your website has to offer. Gaining quality backlinks also means that people on reputable websites are recommending your brand and website to their readers, leading them to your site.

Top Tip: Once they visit your website, you could add a ‘Related Content’ section at the bottom of your blog to recommend other content the reader might also like. This means they can look at additional content on your site and therefore spend more time on it. Time spent on a website is a consideration that Google makes when ranking your site.

Backlinks Establish Relationships Between Sites

When you promote or link to another page, people will see it as a connection or rapport with the other website. This develops more trust when people see you trust one another enough to have an open relationship online.

Top Tip: Avoid making the mistake of thinking a link exchange will be helpful. This will only harm you in the long term.

Backlinks Organically Attract More Backlinks

This is a key advantage that many people are oblivious about and has a great snowball effect. If you already possess quality backlinks on popular sites, a small proportion of those individuals will write about you and also link to you. All of this will happen without you even having to ask!

Backlinks Boost Referral Traffic

Backlinks assist in boosting referral traffic. When a visitor gains access to your site through a backlink, Google Analytics marks that click as a referral visit. Essentially, referral traffic is more relevant and focused, leading to a lower bounce rate than other traffic types.

Backlinks Positions Your Business as an Authority

When more websites link back to you, they put your business as an authority on a certain topic, subject, or particular service. Bear in mind that Google uses backlinks as one way of comprehending what your website is about. Therefore, the more backlinks you receive, the easier it is for Google to learn more about your business.

Backlinks Improve Organic Ranking

If search engines see your website is beginning to gain authority, they will start ranking your website higher up on search engine results pages (SERPs). Google will prioritise a website that users regularly visit about topics they search for often. So, if you have numerous quality backlinks, Google will assume your site is a credible source of information for that specific topic.

Top Tip: Quality backlinks should be built up gradually. Avoid using deceptive methods to gain more and more backlinks. While it may get you the traffic you want, it will have a detrimental effect on your rankings.

Are Backlinks Still Valuable for SEO Efforts?

The short answer is yes. Backlinks help your website rank better, and they are a substantial focus for any comprehensive SEO strategy. They are key for SEO as they provide what is known as a vote of confidence from one website to another. When search engines see others vouching for your content, they will begin to rank your website higher in SERPs. Consequently, backlinks are great for your search visibility and ranking. Backlinks are one of the most critical aspects of outstanding SEO ratings.

Backlink Considerations for SEO

Below are some backlink factors that you should bear in mind regarding SEO:

  • Total referring domains. The more domains of high quality that link back to your website, the better.
  • Total backlinks. This is different from total referring domains, as a website might have numerous backlinks from the same domain. Therefore the amount of backlinks matters despite whether they come from the same domain or not.
  • Total dofollow backlinks. This contributes to your Google ranking factor. The more dofollow backlinks, the better. As mentioned before, nofollow links, on the other hand, are generally ignored by Google’s algorithm.
  • Total referring IPs. This is essential, though not as crucial as total referring domains. The number of referring IPs does not appear to be as critical for keywords that are not as popular.
  • Total number of anchors. A website anchor tag is an invisible marker that directs visitors to certain areas of your site. They make it fast and smooth to navigate to a section of the page.
  • Keyword in the anchor tag. Including your targeted keyword in the anchor tag is an excellent practice. But, with the exception of highly popular keywords, it has little influence on domain rankings.

Giving and Earning Backlinks for SEO

Earning backlinks is a critical component of off-site SEO (actions taken outside of your own site to affect your rankings within SERPs). The process of obtaining these links is referred to as ‘link building’ or ‘link earning’

Naturally, some backlinks are more valuable than others. Dofollow backlinks from reputable, trustworthy, popular, high-authority sites are considered the best to earn. Conversely, backlinks from low-authority and potentially spam sites are generally the least desirable. Whether a link is dofollow or not is relevant, but nofollow links should not be entirely disregarded. Even getting a mention on a high-quality site can boost your brand.

As some earnt backlinks are more valuable than others, the same can be said for links you create to other websites. When you link out to an external site, your choices can have a big impact on the value. These choices include:

  • The page from which you link (its content, search engine accessibility, page authority, etc.).
  • The meta tags associated with the linking page.
  • The anchor text used.
  • Whether you decide to dofollow or nofollow the link.
Backlinks can be provided naturally, created manually through link-earning activities, or self-created by site managers

How to Get Backlinks for SEO?

There are three primary ways that backlinks can be earned:

  1. Natural. These are provided without any interposition by the website’s owner. Making high-quality content consistently is one of the best strategies to achieve natural links.
  2. Manual. These are received from link-earning activities. For instance, a backlink is manual if an abseiling gear website got in touch with the climbing resource and requested a link. Another effective strategy to obtain a manual link is guest posting for a relevant website. Of course, ensure you include a link to your site within the article itself.
  3. Self-created. When a site manager enters a backlink into a forum, online directory, or blog comment manually, a link is generated. But caution should be taken; while self-created links may look to be the most straightforward approach to earning backlinks, many of these tactics lean on black hat SEO techniques that can harm your search engine reputation. These links are typically annotated with nofollow tags.

Competitive Backlink Research

Backlinks can take a lot of time to earn. New sites and those expanding their keyword focus may find it challenging to know where to begin with link building. This is where competitive backlink research comes in. Analyse the backlink profile (the collection of domains and pages linking to a site) of a competitor already ranking well for your target keywords. This way, you can gain insight into the link building that may have contributed to their success. You can use a backlink tool to do this — such as those provided by Ahrefs and Moz — to target those domains in your own link building campaign.

How Many Backlinks Should I Earn Per Day?

This is dependent on the person doing SEO. If you earn more than ten backlinks a day, it can be seen as very impressive and therefore valuable for your site traffic. But, too big of a rise in the number of backlinks might be viewed by Google as unnatural. It is vital to get the balance right and remember that quality is more important than quantity.

Final Thoughts

Backlinks are highly important for SEO. They essentially provide a vote of confidence from one website to another and contribute to improving your search visibility and ranking. Backlinks bring many benefits to the table, such as boosting your referral traffic, improving your organic ranking, positioning your business as an authority, and raising your brand awareness. While the quantity of backlinks is important, the quality of the links themselves is even more so. Earning backlinks can often be a time-consuming and difficult process. Therefore, it is a great idea to hire an expert SEO agency to assist you in your SEO efforts. Book a free discovery call with NUOPTIMA SEO agency to explore how we can help and promote your website today.

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FAQs

What are backlinks in SEO?
A backlink, also known as an ‘incoming link’ or an ‘inbound link’, is a link from a page on a website to another. They essentially provide a vote of confidence from one website to another and are fantastic for your site’s search visibility and ranking.
Why are backlinks important for SEO?
Backlinks are vital because they are a signal to search engines that other websites vouch for your content. When search engines see this, they will improve the ranking of your website in SERPs. This, therefore, leads to increased search visibility and ranking, contributing to the popularity and success of your website.
How do you earn backlinks?
There are several approaches to earning backlinks. You can build backlinks manually, such as by guest posting for a relevant site and including a link to your site within this post. You can also self-create a backlink by manually entering a backlink into an online directory, forum, or blog comment (although be wary of black hat strategies). Thirdly, you can gain backlinks naturally without any interposition on your part. Building up a robust collection of high-quality backlinks can be a real challenge. Book a free 15-minute consultation call with NUOPTIMA SEO agency to explore how we can assist you considerably with your SEO efforts today.

By: Viktor Bartak

Head of SEO

Linkedin

Viktor Bartak has received a Master of Science degree in nuclear physics. He uses his scientific background and approaches to data analytics in search engine optimization. In 2007, he started his career in SEO working on his own projects, and began taking on clients in 2012. Throughout his career, he has worked with over 250 websites, optimized and consulted large international marketplaces, online stores, and corporate, B2B, and B2C websites.

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