What Are Backlinks and Why Are Backlinks Important?

For those of you new to search engine optimization, you may be wondering what a backlink is, and why backlinks are important? For others who are connected to the world of SEO and digital media, you most likely have heard about backlinks, but you may not have a clear understanding of what they are and how important backlinks are for any article.

In this article, we will explain to you what a backlink is, why they are important, and what you can do to help gain them while avoiding getting into trouble with the Search Engines.

What Are Backlinks?

Backlinks, also known as incoming links, inbound links, inlinks, and inward links, are incoming links to a website or web page. Backlinks are web links that direct the visitor to your website. The higher the number of backlinks in a page, the greater is the importance or authenticity of your website. So, as the credibility of the website increases, chances of it appearing on the top of search engine results are very high.

However, one must go beyond just placing inbound links into your web page content. The QUALITY of links you are placing is of great importance. In addition to the quality of the content on the linking and linked page, other factors should be taken in consideration, such as:

  • The page the inbound link leads to.
  • The quality of content on that linked to page.
  • The relevance of the inbound links.

The content on the linking page should be related to your article and work to provide additional information about the topic to enhance the knowledge of the visitor or should be providing some solutions. Pages with inbound links/ backlinks which have unrelated content are not considered to be of great quality.

Why Are Backlinks Important?

Back links are important for SEO because some search engines, in particular Google, will give more credit to websites that have a good number of quality backlinks, and consider those websites more relevant than others in their results pages for a search query.

Be Careful Who or What You’re Linking To

What we’re talking about here is reciprocal linking. Reciprocal linking is when one webmaster places a link on his website that points to another webmaster’s website, and vice versa. Upside to this type of link exchange is promoting each other’s websites.

The downside to reciprocal linking is that Google and other search engines have found that many of these links were not relevant and were discounted. So while the irrelevant inbound link was ignored, the outbound links still got counted, diluting the relevancy score of many websites. This caused a great many websites to drop off the Google map.

Google has plans in the works to deal with reciprocal linking in a future update of their algorithm. This means that you can get into trouble with the search engines just for linking to a bad website or its content. We recommend that you begin preparing now for this future change in the search engine algorithm by fixing your existing reciprocal links and be choosier with which we exchange links right for new content. By choosing only relevant sites to link with, and sites that don’t have tons of outbound links on a page, or sites that don’t practice black-hat SEO techniques, you will have a better chance that our reciprocal links won’t get discounted.

How To Find Your Backlinks

A handy tool for helping you find your backlinks and find out what text is being used to link to your site is the Backlink Anchor Text Analysis Tool. If you find that your site is being linked to from another website, but the anchor text is not being utilized properly, you should request that the website change the anchor text to something incorporating relevant keywords. This will also help boost your quality backlinks score.

Due to the fact that building quality backlinks is extremely important to search engine optimization, it should be very high on your priority list in your SEO efforts. We hope this article has served as a handy tool in giving you a better understanding of what backlinks are, the importance of backlinks, and why you need good quality inbound links to your site.

About the Author

Hazel Burgess

Hazel Burgess is the Founder and Creative Director of Envisager Studio, a premier website design agency specializing in WordPress website design, development and content marketing promotion. The company is based in San Diego, CA and works with companies that range from small business to Fortune 500. Follow +Hazel Burgess on Google+ as well as Twitter.

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