In the whole universe of SEO tasks, backlinks are part of a small list of super critical SEO tasks that make a huge impact on your traffic and your business.
In the same way we look for social proof from reviews to validate a product or service, backlinks are the linkable proof the internet uses to judge and evaluate your content.
If the world trusts you enough to give you a backlink to your article or website, it’s akin to a positive review. Search engines are more likely to pay attention to you once you gain the attention and up-vote of other websites. This is the importance of backlinks to your SEO strategy.
Think of it like this, when you’re looking for a new business to work with, do you just choose the first one you come across? Most likely not. You want to see what others have said about them before making a decision. The same can be said for Google and other search engines when they’re looking for new websites to add to their results.
Backlinks on your site give that validation to the sites you link to. And in return, you want to acquire or earn backinks from other sites. Linking to your site tells search engines that your website is a credible source of information and that other websites are vouching for you.
This will help improve your ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs), making it a higher likelihood that people will find your website when they are searching for the type of content or products you offer.
What are Backlinks?
A backlink is a link from one website to another. Search engines use these as a way to measure the popularity and importance of websites. If a website has a lot of backlinks, it means that people are talking about it and think it is important. The higher the domain authority and quality content that links to your site, the better.
This is one factor that search engines take into account when determining your search engine ranking and where to place your page on SERPs.
How Do Backlinks Help SEO?
There are two main ways that backlinks improve SEO. The first is that they direct traffic to your website from other places on the internet. This can be useful if someone includes a link to your website in their blog post, you guest post on a website or if you’re mentioned in an article.
The second way backlinks help improve SEO is by indicating to search engines that your website is popular and important. As we mentioned, search engines use backlinks as a way to measure the popularity of websites. This vote of confidence tells Google a message about your content that can’t be conveyed in words. That’s the beauty of it; it’s a non-biased measure that doesn’t take opinions into the evaluation which is why it’s so trusted.
Assuming the quality of the backlinks and the domain authority of the websites linking into your site are good, the more backlinks a website has, the more likely it is to rank highly in SERPs. This is because search engines view websites with lots of backlinks as being more relevant and important than those without as many backlinks. This is one reason why it’s so important to include backlinks in your SEO strategy.
What Are the Different Types of Backlinks?
There are three main types of backlinks: dofollow, nofollow, and reciprocal. You can read more about dofollow and nofollow links in this article, but the main points are detailed below for you.
Dofollow backlinks are the most valuable type of backlink.
These are the links that pass along link juice, which is a term used to describe the power or authority that a website has. When a website links to another website with a dofollow link, they are essentially vouching for that website and telling search engines that it is a credible source of information. The referral traffic that follows is often higher quality as well, especially if the content is highly relevant to your sales funnel.
Nofollow backlinks are not as valuable as dofollow links, but they still help your SEO growth.
They are very common and not something to shy away from because they still provide a traffic flow to your website.
Most commonly, nofollow links are used when a website does not want to pass along its link juice to another website. Another way to think about link juice is site reputation and in this, I often explain it like kids on a playground. If you are the new kid and you’re befriended by the super-popular kid, your reputation goes up. But, if you’re befriended by the not-so-popular kid, your reputation may go down.
This is how site reputation works and it’s one of the reason that SEO consultants like us always look at your inbound links to ensure you’re not being linked to by sites that could harm your reputation.
The other case where nofollow links are commonly used is with sponsored content or ads. Linking out to affiliate sites, advertising platforms or other sponsored content requires a different kind of approach. If you’re working on campaigns like this, be sure to ask your SEO consultant the best strategy for both anchor text selection and incoming links so you manage the flow of link juice and reputation to your site.
That said, while nofollow links do not help improve SEO as much as dofollow links, they are still be helpful in directing traffic to your website.
Finally, reciprocal backlinks are links that are exchanged between two websites.
For example, if website A links to website B, then website B would also link back to website A. These types of links are not as valuable as dofollow or nofollow links, but they too can improve your SEO over time.
What Are the Benefits of Backlinks?
In addition to the social proof offered from a backlink, there are four other reasons why backlinks matter in your SEO strategy
1. High quality backlinks from high domain authority sites can help improve your Google ranking overtime (when done correctly)
This is the popular friend model. When a new person moves to town, if they are befriended by a “popular” person, chances are this has a net positive affect on their reputation. Similarly, if the new-person is befriended by a “non-so-popular” person, their reputation may be negatively affected.
Backlinks from high DA (domain authority) sites are like being befriended in high school by the popular kid. It’s not enough to make your reputation, but it definitely helps.
Search engines view websites with lots of backlinks as being more relevant and important than those without many backlinks. So growing your incoming links over time is a goal to work on all the time.
The second benefit of backlinks is that they help direct targeted traffic to your website. When websites link to you from their content, it is because they like and trust your content enough to recommend it to their own audience. If you have lots of backlinks from high-quality websites, then you’ll get targeted traffic from those websites. And this can be a game changer.
3. Improved user experience + brand awareness
The third benefit of backlinks is that they help improve the user experience of your website. User experience is the combined experience of how consumers experience your site. From time on page, to the number of pages viewed, user experience is a critical element in a good SEO strategy.
If you have a lot of backlinks, then more people will find your website and stay on it longer. This improves your website’s bounce rate and may even lead to more sales or conversions.
Backlinks also increase the brand awareness of your website. If you have a lot of backlinks, then more people will see your website and assuming you’re offering quality content, consumers will also remember your site. This whole virtuous cycle will attract more visitors to your website in the future who fit your client profile and will become customers when the time is right.
4. Improved domain authority
A final benefit of backlinks is they increase the authority of your website. If you have a lot of backlinks, then search engines view your website as being an authority on the topic. This happens as you publish quality content over time. When you do this well, it helps you rank higher on SERPs for certain keywords that are ideally part of your digital marketing strategy.
This is why Backlinks are Important
The importance of backlinks cannot be overstated. Now that you know what backlinks are and why they’re important, it’s time to start a link building campaign for your website. This can be done through guest blogging, creating helpful resources, and being active on social media.
Getting quality backlinks is essential when it comes to search engine optimization, but it isn’t the easiest task.
Everything with quality backlinks begins with great content. When you write articles that genuinely have value for your readers, it’s easier for sites to link to you. This virtuous cycle is one that can keep giving to your business for years to come because it’s organic, honest and natural. If you’re struggling in this area, we’d love to help you. Schedule a call with our team to explore your SEO. Let us throw our years of experience and expertise behind getting you the traffic you deserve.
Updated: September 26, 2022