What Is A Backlink and Why Is It Still Important in 2021?

May 19, 2020
Confused by SEO jargon? No idea how to go about the word ‘backlink’? This article will give you a comprehensive idea about what a backlink is.

Confused by SEO jargon? No idea how to go about the word ‘backlink’? This article will give you a comprehensive idea about what a backlink is, why it’s still important for SEO, and how you can improve your rank using a backlink.

what is a backlink

In layman’s terms, a backlink is merely an incoming link from one webpage to another. A search engine like Google uses a backlink as a ranking criterion because when one website attaches a link that will redirect to another website, it means they believe the content there is remarkable. A quality backlink increases a website’s ranking and exposure in search engine results.

For instance, here is a link to the website, Blogwriters. Now, since this link directly points to a page on our website, therefore, it is a backlink.

Glossary Associated With Backlinks

Before you know more about a backlink, here’s a list of associated terms that you should be acquainted with:

  • Anchor Text: Refers to the clickable words used to link one website to another. For example, in this sentence, Rank Today, which is colored in blue, is the anchor text.
  • Link Juice: A non-technical SEO term used to refer to the SEO value of a hyperlink to a specific webpage or a website. Basically, when a website adds a link to any of your articles, it transfers “link juice”. This link juice then improves domain authority and helps with the ranking of the article. If you do not want to pass this link juice, you can do use a no-follow tag.
  • Low-Quality Links: Refer to links that come from spam sites, automated sites, or even pornography sites. These links do more harm than good. For this reason, you should be really careful while clicking on backlinks.
  • Internal Links: Refers to links going from one webpage to another within the same domain. This is also known as interlinking.

Types of Backlinks

There are mainly two kinds of backlinks. Only one of them is more effective than the other. Let’s take a quick look at those now:

  • No-Follow Link: A no-follow tag is of little use. It doesn’t add any value to your website. Therefore, it isn’t very helpful to improve your visibility or SEO ranking.
  • Do-Follow Link: It’s the kind of backlink everyone covets. A do-follow link transfers ‘juice’. Therefore, it will help you improve your SEO ranking and add value to your site. Naturally, backlinks coming from more credible sites hold more value. However, beware of do-follow backlinks that come from suspicious sites. These are bad or ‘toxic’ backlinks that you should steer clear of.

Why Is Backlink Important?

A backlink work like a vote from other websites. Every one of these votes tells the search engine that this certain content is valuable, trustworthy, and useful. So, the more votes you have, the higher your website will rank in search engines like Google.

Using backlinks in a search engine algorithm has been there for quite a long time. As a matter of fact, PageRank is an algorithm named after Larry Page, one of the founders of Google. It is used by Google to rank webpages in their search engine results. Therefore, backlinks are the foundation of Google’s original algorithm.

Additionally, even though Google has made hundreds of modifications to its algorithm since then, a backlink remains a key ranking measure.

Advantages of A Backlink

When you really dive into the topic, you’ll realize a backlink is more than just a link, and that it can help boost your SEO in a number of ways.

  • According to Google, backlinks are among the top 3 most important ranking factors
  • A backlink is the most fundamental way to build strong domain authority. Therefore, you need to invest substantial time and effort in a link building strategy.
  • You can gain traffic from backlinks, especially if the context and anchor text makes your content sound attractive.
  • While surfing the web, if your target audience sees a number of websites linking back to yours, you possess a strong psychological authority in the industry. Users assume that if everyone is going all gaga all about your business, it must be something noteworthy.
  • Eventually, a strong backlink strategy will help you build relationships. You’ll build relationships with the other business owners and admins who are linking back to you. Moreover, you’ll have a better relationship with your audience because they’ll more likely to understand that you’re credible if you’re renowned.

What Is A Valuable Backlink?

It is to be noted that all backlinks are not made equally. In simpler words, if you want a higher ranking, you need to focus on quality backlinks. Therefore, we have compiled a list of key attributes that are available in most high-quality backlinks.

#1 - They Come From Credible, Value-driven Websites

Imagine two options in front of you. One would direct you to a backlink from Microsoft, while the other one comes from a random website called spam.xyz. Which would you rather pick?

The answer is obvious. A backlink from Microsoft is definitely a lot more credible than the latter. As a matter of fact, Google shares the same sentiment. This phenomenon is called “Domain Authority”. So, the more authority a website has, the more value and authority it can add to your site.

#2 - The Anchor Text Consists of Your Target Keyphrase

Ideally, you would want your backlink to have anchor text that includes your target keyphrase. In fact, there is a strong correlation between keyphrase-rich anchor text and a higher SEO ranking. However, do not go overboard with the anchor text to make it keyphrase-rich. Keep it as simple and subtle as possible.

#3 - The Backlink Is a “Dofollow”

Most search engines like Google ignore links that have a “no-follow” tag attached to it. Basically, no-follow links are not counted while measuring search engine ranking.

Therefore, a quality backlink will most likely be a “do-follow”.

How Does A Backlink Work?

A backlink plays a remarkable role in SEO, search engine algorithm, and your overall strategy to widen the reach of your website. For convenience’s sake, you may think of backlinks as conversations between and among webpages.

Suppose you’re a blogger who writes an insightful article on a fashion event.

Your friend, who’s also a blogger, shares a link to your article to share her two cents. Since he writes about that topic on a renowned blog site, it creates a backlink to your post.

Now, since the blog site is quite famous, a large number of other sites will link back to his article. This increases the blog’s authority and credibility. At the same time, your article gets a valuable backlink from a reputable site.

Thereby, it’s a win-win scenario for both parties.

How to Get Backlinks?

Building backlinks can help you boost your SEO ranking. However, it does take time and effort. Therefore, you can follow the 7 tips given below to get more backlinks to your website.

1. Always write quality and link-worthy content. Quality is a lot more important than quantity.

2. Add links to your website on all the social media profiles you have. This will increase the visibility of your content.

3. You can create Skyscraper content to get more backlinks. Skyscraper content is a link building strategy. Through this, you can find existing popular content you want to focus on, improve it, and duplicate the backlinks. All you need to do is search up Google for a post that’s already ranking well. Afterward, you can improve and expand it.

4. Guest blogging is a phenomenal way to introduce your business to a new audience. You can reach out to popular blogs that are accepting guest posts. Just do a Google search for such phrases:

  • (topic keyphrase) + ‘guest article’
  • (topic keyphrase) + ‘become a contributor’

When you find blogs you can contribute to, simply send in your pitch! Just brainstorm a good topic idea, jot down a brief description of the article, and pursue the site owner that your content will be useful to their readers.

5. Write detailed guideposts. These are long and comprehensive posts that cover every angle of a topic.

6. Use infographics. An infographic is a graphical representation of information or data to present knowledge quickly and in a concise manner. Because of its visual properties, an infographic is the most shared content format online.

7. Respond to questions on Quora. Just answer a question that fits your content and add a backlink to your website within your answer. It’s indeed an intuitive way to get more backlinks.

How Do I Check My Backlink?

In this time and age, you can not only insert backlinks but also check them. There are several backlink monitoring tools including Ahrefs, Google Search Console, SEMRush, etc.

Monitoring all your backlinks is very important. If you haven’t heard of webmaster guidelines before, here’s an overview. Webmaster guidelines are a set of instructions provided by search engine providers like Google or Bing. These regulations provide webmasters with protocols on how webpages can be optimized so that they can be optimally found by search engines.

Consequently, as per Google Webmaster Guidelines, you need to ask toxic site owners to remove their backlinks from your site. If you do not do so, Google can penalize your site. Thus, your page rank will start dropping in search results.

At this point, it is necessary to address the following questions:

  • Where do I find all my backlinks?
  • How do I know which backlinks are toxic?
  • How do I contact toxic backlink site owners?

The solution actually lies in finding the right kind of tools.

What Tools Do I Use To Check My Backlinks?

The most popular way to grow your site and see is your backlinks is Google Search Console. However, it can take quite a lot of time to do so and it’s also limited about what it can do.

So, there are, in fact, faster and better options available. For instance, by using SEMrush, you can quickly answer all three of the important questions alongside a lot more.

SEMrush has primarily two areas that specifically deal with backlinks. These are:

  • Backlink Analytics: Enables you to study about your competitors
  • Backlink Audit: Allows you to find all the backlinks to your website.

Additionally, this Backlink Audit option analyzes every backlink and separates those that are toxic. That way, you can find and disown toxic backlinks before Google can penalize your site.

Another notable feature about SEMrush is that it allows you to e-mail the toxic website owner right from your screen. Therefore, with a platform like SEMrush, you can do your key phrase research right, see your competitors’ backlinks, and also manage yours in a convenient way.

Remember that keeping track of your backlinks will tell you a lot about the value of your website because it is a very essential part of your website’s SEO strategy.

We earnestly hope this article gave you a comprehensive idea about backlinks, why they’re still important, and how you can use them to widen the reach of your website.

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