SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is the practice of boosting the visibility of a website on the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) using a variety of techniques.
SEO is very important in the current landscape of digital marketing. Every brand has an online website that is exclusively being used for advertisement and increasing exposure.
Such websites need to have great visibility on the SERPs and that’s why they rely on SEO.
SEO has many techniques, but they can be broadly categorized into two categories:
- On-page SEO
- Off-page SEO
Backlinks are one of the ways by which SEO is done. They belong in the off-page SEO category since they are acquired from other websites. A backlink is basically a link leading from another website to your website.
Further on in this article, we will look at why backlinks are so important for SEO.
Importance of Backlinks for SEO
1. Backlinks Raise Site Authority
Essentially, backlinks are a vote of confidence. When a website links back to another, it is essentially saying that it thinks the other has great content. Search engines can pick up on this. If a site has multiple backlinks, the search engines believe that this site’s content is genuinely good.
Good content is placed higher in the SERPs because the search engines want their users to have the best quality content.
Site authority is a non-ranking metric developed by Moz. It takes several factors into account and predicts how well a website will rank in the SERPs. Backlinks from high-quality websites raise the authority of the receiving website. A high authority means that the site will most likely rank high in the SERPs.
You can check a site’s authority using tools such as a domain authority checker. Typically, you would want backlinks from sites that have high domain authority in order to increase your own.
2. Increases Traffic
Backlinks increase the traffic that your website gets. There are two ways in which it increases traffic.
The first method is called referral traffic and this is the number of visitors your site gets from other websites. This is mostly due to them clicking on the backlinks present on those sites that direct them to yours.
Referral traffic is pretty important for SEO as a) it signals to the search engines that your site is trustworthy and b) increased traffic is good for SEO.
The second method by which backlinks increase traffic is by increasing the trustworthiness of the site. A trustworthy website will naturally be placed higher in the SERPs (which is the aim of SEO) and this diverts more organic traffic to the website.
With more traffic and more exposure, the website falls into a positive loop. So you can see how backlinks improve the traffic to the site and how it’s good for SEO.
3. Attracts More Backlinks
Once you get some quality backlinks from a few sites that sign to other sites that your content is worth linking to. They become more willing to link back to your site and if they like your content, that willingness turns into conviction.
So, you can see how good backlinks just start a loop of positive reinforcements. Initially, webmasters have to reach out to other high authority websites and request them to give you a backlink. But, when they get a solid lineup, they do not need to ask or request more links.
Other webmasters will automatically start linking to their site because they trust in those who linked to you before. It was already mentioned before that backlinks are basically a vote of confidence from one website to another. This is exactly that vote of confidence working in the site’s favor.
4. Creates Trust among Visitors
When a website has sufficient backlinks of high quality, people who notice that relationship with other sites starts extending their trust towards it.
People who visited the link-giving site will naturally become more curious and more accepting of the site that received the link. This will eventually prompt them to visit your site more and more thereby increasing the traffic.
Such visitors will also start recommending your website to other people, especially among their friends and family. This will further increase your traffic to the website. However, one thing to note is that, in order to sustain this type of growth, your site needs to be that good as well. Otherwise, you won’t be able to hold these new visitors for long.
So, you can see how the backlinks are great for SEO and why they are so important.
Some Do’s and Don’ts of Backlinks
1. Only Get Backlinks from High Authority Sites
Nowadays, backlink quality is more important than the number of backlinks to a site. So when you are just starting out trying to get backlinks, check the authorities of websites in your niche using a DA PA checker. Then reach out to those sites that have relatively high authority.
Not all of them will entertain you. But do not be discouraged and keep going steadily. In this step, it is important to avoid getting links from low authority sites as those can actually damage you rather than giving you any sort of benefit.
If you do find that some low-authority website has linked to you, then disavow that link quickly.
2. Do Not Get Links from Spammy Sites
When your sites rank in the SERPs is being calculated, the quality of the backlinks it has matters a lot. Some people, try to boost their ranking by buying links from many websites on the internet. However, this is a black hat SEO technique and results in more harm than good.
Websites that sell such links are really low-quality and spammy websites. Links from such sites are not good for SEO; they are harmful instead. So, you should only get backlinks from legitimate and high authority websites because low-authority backlinks are not that useful.
Search engines are very intelligent, and they can detect if someone is using black hat SEO techniques to boost their website’s rank. They punish such websites by decreasing their rank in the SERPs which is directly harmful to your SEO.
3. No-Follow and Do-Follow Links
There are two types of links in backlinking. They are the do-follow and no-follow links
The basic difference is that one type (do-follow) allows the passing of link juice while no-follow links don’t pass any link juice. Search engine crawlers follow a do-follow link while they don’t follow the no-follow links.
However, this does not mean that no-follow links are worthless or useless. In fact, many high authority sites are apprehensive about “promoting” other websites. If they promote a site that turns out to be bad, then their own authority will take a hit. That will be because they gave their vote of confidence to a bad site.
However, the no-follow links from high authority websites are still good for creating exposure and increasing awareness.
Backlinks are very important to SEO. They have several benefits that help increase a website’s reputation, authority, and credibility.
If backlinks are gotten from legitimate means such as guest posting, collaborating, or simply requesting them from other websites then they bring benefits. However, the websites that you get backlinks from are supposed to be of high authority. Links from high authority sites are considered high quality and vice versa.
Search engines pay more attention to quality rather than quantity of links, hence you should always avoid low-quality links.
Paul is an content marketing strategist and serial entrepreneur.