Backlinks: What They Are and What They Do

Updated: Feb 15

What Are Backlinks?

  1. Why Are Backlinks Relevant?

  2. What Does A Good Backlink Profile Look Like?

  3. What Are The Factors Of An Active Backlink?

  4. How Do Backlinks Help My SEO?

  5. How Do I Begin Building Backlinks For My Website?

  6. How Do I know Who Is Linking Back To My Site?

If you have explored SEO for your business, you most likely keep hearing a common term, 'backlinks.' In digital marketing, specifically search engine optimization, backlinks are a commonly used name thrown around often that most people may not understand.


I remember the first time I heard the phrase backlinks; I scratched my head, went right to Google and typed in, "what are backlinks?"


According to SearchMetrics, Backlinks are "links from outside domains that point to pages on your domain, essentially linking back from their domain to yours. To a larger degree, your backlink profile is made up of website links from external sites (also known as referring domains) that contribute to the overall strength, relevance and diversity of your domain's backlink profile."


So, the more high-quality backlinks your website can generate, the higher your website has the potential to rank for keywords on Google. Backlinks, ones with significant domain authority (DA), help create the behind-the-scenes authenticity your website needs to succeed. A website that doesn't have many or any backlinks, for that matter, will find it exceedingly difficult to rank highly in search engine results pages (SERP).


Why Are Backlinks Relevant?


Backlinks are essential for a multitude of reasons.


First off, they provide a way for internet users to find other sources of information they are looking for. Typically, you'll find that backlinks are in-content links linked from one blog post to another. Now, that isn't the only type of backlink. However, it's usually more common.


An example would be us stating and linking the statistic; most top-ranking pages get 'followed' backlinks from new websites at a pace of +5%-14.5% per month. Ahrefs produced a great piece of content regarding backlink statistics, and because it ranks highly, we found it, used it in our content, and linked back to their site. Not that they need anymore, but our link will send more authority to Ahrefs.com, and maybe some of our readers (including you) will click on the stat to check out the referring domain (Ahrefs).


For search engines, backlinks act as a sign of credibility. The more high-quality backlinks your website has pointing to it, the more trust Google or other search engines will have on your website. Thus, eventually allowing you to rank higher on SERP!


The best way to think of backlinks is like votes; the more votes (backlinks) you have, the easier it will be for you to win over specific keywords.


What Does a Good Backlink Profile Look Like?


Backlinks come in all different shapes and sizes. Not really, but you get the point! However, all links come with other KPI's (key point indicators). A few KPIs to look for are the strength of the domain referred from (also known as domain authority), the county that the domain is registered, the age of the domain, and the domain's history.


For example, links coming from websites such as universities (.edu) or government organizations (.gov) tend to have a higher domain authority and signify a lot more trust.

What Are the Factors of an Active Backlink?


Below, you'll see a graphic of what search engines, like Google, take into consideration when analyzing a link.

How to build quality backlinks
Search Engine Ranking Factors

How Do Backlinks Help My SEO?


First, generating quality backlinks is no easy task; they also take time, commitment, and diligence. It's like forming a new relationship! You first have to instill trust in the other person before they are okay with taking you in.

Bad analogy?

Whatever, I liked it, and you get the point!


The best way to describe (again) how backlinks positively affect your SEO is like getting a vote of confidence. When other sites are linking back to yours in Google's eyes, it shows them that other websites trust yours and that you're producing meaningful, educational content.


Google is smart. Like, really smart. So, don't try and outsmart it because you'll lose. Do not try and point backlinks to your homepage, sales pages, and contact page. There is nothing of real informational value there that would prompt another site to link to that page 1,000 times.


So, that's why creating content is also such a valuable part of building backlinks.


The most crucial part of building backlinks is that they appear to be natural. Don't, do not…I repeat, DO NOT purchase backlinks! More often than not, these websites that offer backlinks for purchase are spam, fraud, or selling low-quality backlinks that will do more harm than good for your site. Also, please don't do anything shady or unnatural to create backlinks, like asking websites to link every page's footer on their website.


.GOV domains are quite valuable since they can't be started by just anyone, so they inherently have more domain value.


How Do I Begin Building Backlinks for My Website?


Like we said earlier, building backlinks is definitely not easy. However, with the right strategy in place and an on-going commitment to producing quality backlinks, it's attainable.


The best way to begin building backlinks is to reach out to the owners of websites (webmasters) and see if there is an opportunity to gain a backlink on their site. This is also known as blogger outreach or guest posting.


Creating blog articles and publishing them to external websites is also a great way to build backlinks. Additionally, social media and local SEO play a massive role in generating backlinks, so get active!


How Do I Know Who Is Linking Back to My Site?


Throughout the process of link-building, you must continuously monitor which backlinks your website is accumulating. Domains from Russia and Brazil are notorious origins of spam. Therefore, it can be smart to deny links from sites arising from this part of the world through Google Search Console as early as you find them – even if they haven't affected your site… yet.


There are also tools like SEMRush and Ahrefs that are great for monitoring backlinks, but these are paid services, compared to GSC (Google Search Console), which is free.


If you need help building backlinks to further your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, contact us, and we'll be glad to devise an SEO marketing plan that, in time, can grow your online presence.

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