You’ve probably heard about backlinks if you’ve ever looked into SEO and improving your website’s ranking. The definition of backlinks is pretty straightforward. However, there are many different reasons why backlinks are important.
In this article, I’m going to explain what backlinks are, why they’re important, and how to use them.
What are backlinks?
Essentially, backlinks are links to a website that have been placed on a different site. For example, if you have posted a recent blog article on your website, another website might like the blog article and include a link to your article.
Typically, website owners or blog writers will link back to a site that they’ve used to inform their research. Examples are research data or statistics. However, sites may link back to a specific webpage that they feel adds value to the context of their content. Sometimes it is simply because they appreciate the content and feel like giving you a shoutout.
However, backlinks can also be created when users post links on social media platforms. For example, if your audience loves the content you’ve created, they might share it. They could post a link to the content with friends on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
Here’s an example of a backlink:
The hyperlink above goes to WordStream’s article titled “What is Evergreen Content? A Guide to Long-Lasting Content That Boosts SEO”. From WordStream’s point of view, this is a backlink to their site.
We only mention evergreen content briefly in our article. So we thought it would be a good idea to link to a webpage that gives a more in-depth explanation of evergreen content. WordStream’s article was perfect, and we thought our readers would find the WordStream article useful. So we linked it to their page.
Basically, any time another person or site shares a link to a page on your website, it’s a backlink.
So, that’s what backlinks are…but why are they important?
Why are backlinks important?
In short, backlinks are good for SEO. But, it’s more complex than you may think. To keep it simple, when Google ranks a page, it takes into account the number of other sites that link back to the specific page.
Think of backlinking it like popularity in society. The more people who say you’re a great person, the more people will want to be your friend. If Google sees that many sites are linking back to your website or a specific page on your site, the higher Google will rank your site or that particular page.
However, this is where it starts to get interesting. Google also looks into each website’s rating that is linking back to your webpage. Depending on the rating, Google will determine the quality of the backlink. I’ll draw another parallel with popularity in society. If someone famous or someone of high authority says you’re a great person, more people will want to be your friend. Versus a random person on the street says the same thing.
So, the point is that while backlinks are important, it’s a good idea to try and get high-ranking, well-established websites to link back to your webpage, as opposed to less-relevant websites.
But how do you get backlinks?
How to get backlinks
There are a few ways to get backlinks, including buying backlinks and asking websites to link back to your site.
Buying backlinks is probably the easiest way, but backlinks can cost quite a lot depending on where you source them. Also, when buying backlinks, it can be tricky to determine the quality of the backlinks you’re buying.
It’s worth noting that it’s against Google’s policy to purchase backlinks to your site, as it’s kinda seen as you’re trying to falsely inflate your SEO rankings — similar to how buying followers on Instagram might look good but it isn’t authentic. If Google sees that your site is using bought backlinks, it could lower your rankings or even remove your site from search results.
Creating high-quality, shareable content
One of the best ways to get backlinks, in my opinion, is to first create high-quality content. We’ve spoken a lot about writing valuable, authoritative, in-depth, well-written content on the Intentionally Inspirational blog.
Creating quality content isn’t the only thing that will get you backlinks, but it’s definitely the right foundation to start on. Once you create a piece of high-quality content, people who read it are more likely to share it — either website owners will link to it in their articles or individuals will share it on their social media platforms.
Asking sites for backlinks
Another way of getting backlinks is to contact website owners and ask them if they will link back to your site or a specific webpage on your site. Now, like with anything in business, unless you’ve already built a well-established relationship with other websites, you’ll probably need to offer websites something of value in return for backlinking to your site.
If your website has a decent rating already, you could offer to do a backlink-for-a-backlink deal — simply you agreeing with another website to backlink to each other’s website.
However, something else of value that you could offer websites is to write some content for them. This is sometimes referred to as “guest posting”. If you write some good quality content for a site, they’ll see you’re offering them something of value, and thus they’ll be more inclined to backlink to your website.
My advice for when you’re asking websites to backlink to your site is to make sure that it would make sense for each website to link back to you. For example, if your website is in the SEO niche, it’s best to ask websites in the digital marketing niche, instead of random sites outside of the peripheries of your industries.
Improving your website’s ranking
Ranking high in Google is by no means an easy task. It can take time, dedication, and patience — just like with anything worth doing. It’s also worth remembering that SEO is a multi-layer process and backlinking only plays one part of that process.
However, backlinking is considered one of the most important parts of SEO, and using good backlinking practices as part of your overall SEO strategy can help you grow your site’s popularity significantly.
If you need more information on growing your website or improving your digital marketing strategy, read through some of the latest posts on the Intentionally Inspirational blog.
Written by Lewis James