What Is a Backlink?


In the ever-changing realm of digital marketing, it can be pretty tricky to keep up with all of the lingo and terminology. If you run a website, chances are you’re trying to get more and more invested in your SEO efforts. That being said, you’ve likely heard the term “backlink.” An SEO audit might even show that you have a fair number of backlinks to your site already. But what are they? How do they work?

Table of Contents

The Backlink Basics

Simply put, a backlink is a link from one website to another. It’s a marker to various search engines that the linked content is particularly noteworthy. This is especially important because search engines like Google use metrics like backlinks to determine your overall rankings in the search results pages. The higher the quality of the backlink, the more likely it is that a search engine is going to take notice of your website as a whole. The more of these high-quality links you can acquire, the better your rankings are apt to be.

Backlinks are kind of like communication channels between different websites. If you’re produced top-notch content and other sites are taking notice and linking to it, you’re getting more traffic and boosting your search engine authority. There are a couple of different types of backlinks, though, and it’s important to know the distinction between them.

Firstly, there’s the “dofollow” backlink. These are the kind of backlinks that will have the most benefit for your website. They tell search engines to take notice of the link and use it in their various algorithms. From time to time, you’ll get dofollow links that are considered toxic or come from suspicious websites. These can damage your search engine trust so it’s important to take care of them as quickly as possible.

Then, there are “nofollow” backlinks which are pretty ineffective in terms of your overall SEO and ranking strategy. Nofollow links tell search engines to ignore the link and the pathway it creates so they’re essentially unhelpful in terms of improving your overall digital visibility. If you ever hear a marketing professional say “any link is a good link,” make sure that you bring up nofollows and their inherent lack of value.

Gaining Backlinks

There are a few tried and true strategies for acquiring quality backlinks. Often, it starts with your social media presence. Most social media sites are well-regarded by search engines so a link from a profile back to your main site is worth the time and effort. While this is an easy step to take, it’s not enough to gain the valuable backlinks you need.

The next method starts and ends with your content. The ultimate goal is to produce quality content that is shareable and can go “viral.” The more sites that view your content as authoritative, the more likely they are to link back to your main pages. You can even go so far as to guest blog on valuable sites in exchange for links back to your site.

Another strategy is to work with influencers who are often incredibly willing to trade links or link back to you in exchange for a quality interview or feature post. Just make sure that it’s ultimately relevant to your webpage.

The last strategy involves leveraging powerful SEO tools like linklaboratory.com to determine your website’s overall SEO health and provide you with the means towards improving your overall web and search engine presence. By identifying SEO problems, duplicate content, and thin pages that don’t add much overall value, you can take the necessary steps towards making improvements. Do some research to find out the most valuable free tools that you can leverage and begin to amp up your content so it’s more worthy of a backlink.

While some argue that backlinks aren’t as valuable as they used to be, they’re still an incredibly potent ranking factor that shouldn’t be left ignored. Rethink your backlink strategy and do your best to create quality content that sets you up for digital success.