What is a backlink for SEO?

Did you know that a page that appears in the first position has up to 6 times more backlinks than one that positions in the tenth position?

Backlinks are essential in any SEO ranking strategy, something that every website needs.

How are you going to get your page to stand out without them?

There are more than a billion active web pages, the competition is fierce!

To rank a website on page one, you have to do two things with respect to backlinks: get them and control them.

Have you done your homework? Not yet?

Let’s start by clarifying the most basic and end with some tips for your backlinks strategy.

What are backlinks?

The backlinks are the links pointing from another website to a page in your site, also known as inbound links.

The backlinks have a big impact on positioning a website and are one of the most powerful resources in improving the ranking of a page in search results.

How important are backlinks for SEO?

Sparktoro in 2019, estimated with data that backlinks are the second most important Google ranking factor. See the list of 26 most important Google ranking factors.

showing 26 Google ranking factors

The links can come from anywhere on another website, including from the comments.

Its function is to enrich the information that is offered through a web resource.

But its effects go much further.

Suppose I have a blog about online marketing and I have written a post talking about the importance of SEO in your business.

Soon, that post is linked from another blog of recipes, specifically from a recipe for stuffed avocados.

The person who links my article does it spontaneously, to expand the information offered to users.

But Google and other search engines will interpret something like: “check if there is relevant content here that other users link from their domains to show it.”

And therein lies the crux of the matter. When Google “thinks” that of a website, its positioning improves powerfully.

But it is not as easy as that! I wish it was.

Quality over quantity

But, wait! Google does not value the links themselves.

What it values ​​is, on the one hand, the ability of the backlinks to improve the information that is offered to the user, and on the other, the trust that the webmaster that links our resource shows to our site.

When Google crawls your site, it takes good note of the number and quality of links that point to it, and that determines the authority of your domain.

And, although Google keeps in secret the positioning factors that its algorithm values, the truth is that the pages with the most authority position in the first positions.

Yes, the value lies in the quality of a backlink.

And, as is often the case, quality is much more important than quantity.

The best strategy is to try to receive high-quality backlinks, even if they are few.

What is a high-quality backlink?

There are different factors that influence the quality of backlinks.

Broadly speaking, a quality link is that which comes from a site that has a good reputation and that deals with the same subject.

Thus, a link from a betting or pornography site, not only does not help you, it hurts you, since it puts into question the reputation of your site.

Hence the importance of controlling them.

The relevance of the field

Before posting a link to an external website, check if it is beneficial for your website.

To help you, here are the main criteria that determine the quality of a website:

  • The theme of the website,
  • The authority of the domain,
  • The organic traffic curve,
  • And his link profile.

Each link that points to your site must be related to your field of activity.

Otherwise, that is to say for irrelevant links on sites outside your theme, these will be qualified as “bad” links.

Google can even consider them spam.

So, instead of improving your SEO, they are going to have a negative effect.

My advice  : focus on acquiring links on pages that are relevant to your business.

For this, you need a good tool for backlinks that allows you to monitor the links you receive, showing its toxicity index and allowing you to eliminate those that do not suit you.

Backlink Checker Tools

PageRank or PR is a confidence rating given by Google which analyzes the popularity of a website.

But this quality rating has not been made public by Google for several years.

It is therefore necessary to use third-party tools that offer their own popularity rating.

What to keep in mind to decide how to do the link building?

There is no single and definitive answer on how to do link building.

It depends to a large extent on the niche for which you are competing and what other companies are doing to position in it.

Although there are some currents of opinion that focus mainly on text anchors, the reality is that you should not lose sight of any of these factors:

  • Relationship between Nofollow / Dofollow links: should be natural, around 30/70%.
  • Distribution of target URLs of backlinks: links to the home, to categories, etc.
  • Volume: As we have already mentioned, it is important that you control the volume of incoming domains with which the competition counts and try, at least, to measure up to it.
  • Authority: there are several metrics to measure it. The best known may be PA and DA.
  • Speed: the acquisition of backlinks should be done at a regular pace, we want to avoid punctual peaks that then fade over time.

Backlinks Profile

Optimizing your link anchors is one of the best ways to tell Google what a web page is about. The anchor is used to help readers identify what a page is about before they even visit it and is also a factor in positioning your web pages. 

Although it is a great tool for optimizing your SEO and the experience of your visitors, it can also contribute to a decline in your organic visibility in some cases.

Many people have tried (and still do) to manipulate research results. One way to do this is to create a backlink from a specific link anchor in an attempt to position yourself on the keyword or phrase embedded in that anchor.

Unfortunately for these people (but luckily for those of us who do SEO “cleaner”), we are no longer in the era when abusive SEO optimizations through these types of Black Hat techniques are effective. Besides, they are more likely to penalize you.

One of the best ways to avoid a penalty is to diversify your links and their anchors.

Criteria to analyze your backlinks

The first step is to assess the inbound links on your site, also known as backlinks.

When you do an analysis of your link profile, you are going to have an overview on inbound links.

You will be able to appreciate the quality and health of your profile through these elements.

The amount of inbound links

This first point is to look at the number of links that point to your website.

In particular, consider the following:

  • The type of links that point to your website,
  • The number of links you generate,
  • The quality of the links generated,
  • The content of the page that receives the links,
  • The dofollow / nofollow ratio.

As a reminder, to reference your website, search engines (Google) explore the Internet  using their robots.

To achieve this, they browse the links to discover the pages.

The NoFollow attribute tells these robots that it is not necessary to take this link. It’s a bit like a forbidden meaning.

This is why, NoFollow links or little or no weight for your rankings in the engine results. However, they can still generate traffic.

It is obvious that all SEO Marketers want to gain quality backlinks.

However, there is a need to develop an effective and smart strategy to get there.

Indeed, receiving too many links overnight will certainly arouse Google’s suspicion.

In addition, it is important that the links are made in a natural way for Google.

The diversity of ties

The ideal would be to have inbound links coming each time from new domain to better diversify your netlinking.

If you notice that you have several links coming from the same sites, you must surely have to diversify your links.

To do this, you need to address new areas.

Here are the 5 main types of links:

  • A link anchored in a blog post,
  • A link submitted in a quality directory,
  • On a blog in a comment (often in NoFollow),
  • A link cited in a partner page,
  • A link entered in a profile on social networks for example.

The main idea to remember is to create a natural ecosystem for Google .

You should therefore seek to acquire links of different types (NoFollow / DoFollow).

My advice  : before creating an artificial link that points to your website, ask yourself if it is really legitimate.

The anchor text

When analyzing your link profile, you should study the anchors that point to your website.

To analyze your anchors, you must consider these 4 aspects  :

  • The word – key  used to anchor,
  • The diversification  of anchor texts: use synonyms will help to dilute your main anchor,
  • The brand anchors  versus optimized anchors,
  • The relevance of the anchor text  : it must have great semantic relevance to highlight the website to which it points.

To benefit from a healthy link profile, GETSALES recommends :

  • 50% natural anchors,
  • 25% of semi-optimized anchors,
  • And 25% of optimized anchors on a keyword.

Why vary your text anchors?

Google examines your link profile when it analyzes your web pages to rank them in its index. Part of your link profile is the anchor text used to link to your website.

As you saw above, the anchor of text used for your links is considered among the 26 most important SEO positioning factors.

Using a text anchor for your links is a good thing, but if you start using the same anchor text, Google will start to be wary. 

JIMMY OMBOM

This will give your backlinks profile an unnatural appearance and will probably cause a drop in visibility in the SERP, or even a penalty attributed by Google…

When you create a link to your website, we advise you to vary its anchor as much as possible. The natural links will come from different anchors because the webmasters of external sites establish their links without thinking of such or such keyword for your SEO.

If you think about it for 5 minutes, it’s impossible that all the websites came together and decided to link to your website with the exact same anchor! Google knows this, which is why you risk being punished if you don’t diversify your anchors.

Use long tail to vary your text anchors

How to choose your link anchors to improve your SEO (without being considered as an abusive optimization)?

There are many ways to do this. The first is to integrate long-tail keywords into your text anchors.

Example

Imagine that you have an e-commerce site specializing in shoes. Although the exact keyword “shoes” is searched hundreds of thousands of times per month in Google, we advise you, when you get backlinks from other sites, to use link anchors with long or middle queries tail relating to shoes. Here are some examples:

  • “men shoes”
  • “summer women shoes”
  • “weekend shoes for hiking”

These are just examples but the goal is to show you that your main keyword (shoes) can very well be integrated into your anchors while varying them. 

Google will always see the main anchor text and take it into account, but you also have a variant to display a natural link profile.

Use keywords LSI

The examples above, I just invented them, but you can make them more technical if you want to vary your link anchors and make sure you keep the sense of the term for which you are trying to rank yourself.

Sometimes people vary their anchors thinking they mean the same thing, simply because they include the main keyword. However, anchors that are based on the same keyword sometimes have a completely different meaning.

This is where the LSI keywords come in. LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing and is a term used to describe keywords that Google considers similar to each other. And if Google says they are similar, then they are…

You can find LSI keywords in several ways. You can use an LSI keyword generator online or go to your Google Ads account and look for variations of specific keywords in your advertising campaign.

You can also simply search for your main term on Google and then consult the associated searches offered by Google at the bottom of the page.

showing a Google Result page with related search terms
showing a Google Result page with related search terms

Using the technique mentioned above, I found the following LSI keywords for “face mask”:

  • “Black dot face mask”
  • “Honey face mask”
  • “Fabric face mask”

This means that you can use all three to link to the same web page of your e-commerce (to the category of face masks for your e-commerce in this example) and Google will consider them to be identical or similar. , without penalizing you for using “exactly” the same anchor -> “face mask”

Tips to get quality backlinks

When trying to get backlinks, in addition to choosing sites with a good reputation and related to your subject, ensure that they have the highest possible authority.

You can easily know domain authority (DA) through different platforms that you can check or install in your browser so that you can access this data.

The backlinks have to be natural, or at least look like it.

Remember that what has value for search engines are not the links, but the information they provide to the user.

For a link to work, it has to appear or directly demonstrate that it is there to enrich the information for the benefit of the person who is reading the resource, not for SEO!

Surely you know that Google knows, detects and penalizes artificial practices to get backlinks.

Another factor to consider is the backlinks profile: you will get a much better result if you link from 10 different sites ( talk about sites of good reputation) than if you link 10 times from the same domain.

Types of backlinks in SEO

There are two types of backlinks: “do follow” and “no follow”.

The most powerful for SEO is the first, which are those that transmit authority to the page that receives them.

The seconds are not so important for positioning, although they also have value as a source of traffic.

How do I know if a link is “do follow” or “no follow”?

Easy! Non-follow links include the rel = “no follow” attribute in your code. Knowing what kind of link your page has received is as simple as going to the page that links you, clicking with the right mouse button and selecting “View the source code of the page”.

A simple search with “CTRL + F” will show you the link.

At this point, you may be wondering if Google considers ‘no-follow’ links as quality ranking signal. Listen to what #AskGoogleWebmasters have to say.

How do we get backlinks?

If you have come this far, you are undoubtedly interested in SEO and SEM, in digital marketing in general and, of course, in improving the organic positioning of your website. 

Discover how to make link building with the most effective techniques!

The best way to get links pointing to your site is a natural way, which we have already stated: creating fantastic, unbeatable content so that others decide to link to it spontaneously.

JIMMY OMBOM

These are the backlinks preferred by Google.

Obviously, it is easier said than done, and more so if your site is little known and/or has with few resources.

Start with the easy!

There are backlinks that you can create yourself directly.

For example, including the address of your website in your LinkedIn profile, or adding your site to content aggregators such as Quora or Reddit.

A good strategy is to investigate what the competition does, especially those that position better than you.

There are tools that allow you to extract all the backlinks that a certain page is receiving.

Find out where they are linking to your competitors and try to get yourself a link from the best sites in that list.

You can write to them by offering a guest article, with a few backlinks.

Or ask them to interview you! If you have knowledge that adds value to your readers and you know how to raise it, you may win a new link.

Do you know the technique of broken link building?

It consists of looking for broken links on websites, creating good related content and writing to the webmaster of the site to link your resource.

Another tactic is to look for sites where they have mentioned your page or your brand without linking and write to the webmasters kindly requesting that they do so.

And put to ask, investigate if it is worthwhile to win a backlink from the companies with which you collaborate or have a relationship.

Guest Blogging

A great option to get inbound links from other domains to your website. 

Basically, it consists of contacting the webmaster of the page in question and proposing to write a post.

In return, he will allow the inclusion of one or two links in him.

It is a win to win collaboration in which all parties leave equally well. 

The owner of the website will have a quality post written by a specialist in a certain subject and you will have a link in your web perfectly contextualized, which will boost your SEO positioning.

Ask them to add a link

Many times, while browsing the Internet, you will find blogs and very interesting pages that talk about trends or topics closely related to your website.

In this case, you can request that they add one of your links to a certain article. Contact them in a professional manner, letting you know your unique content, a material that can enrich your text and improve the user experience.

Sometimes, you will also find pages that mention you but do not add your link or if they do it is like Nofollow. Take the opportunity to contact and try to incorporate Dofollow links in these portals.

Exchange of links

Sometimes, when proposing a guest post or asking them to add one of your links to a certain article, it is very likely that they will ask you for the same favor as “payment”. Again, a perfect win to win.

Comments on blogs and forums

Although this technique allows you to get links in a very fast and simple way, you must be careful not to fall into spam, ergo sees saying goodbye to automatic comments that really have little to contribute.

You must detect forums and blogs in your sector that allow the inclusion of links in the comments; that is, you must be selective when deciding where you are going to write your contribution with a link.

Comments on social networks

Undoubtedly, social networks have become perfect showcases for companies; thanks to its potential to gain visibility and relevance, to interact with the community and to attract and retain potential customers.

Also, does that sound like “if you’re not on social networks, you do not exist” ? Adding these links with comments that contextualize them will not only help your link building strategy, but it will give you greater relevance in the face of society.

Take advantage of trust!

In case you have little time but some money, you can sponsor an event in your sector: maybe it costs less money than you think.

Today, most event organizers establish different categories of sponsors, you may find one at your fingertips.

As a last recommendation: be consistent in the management of your backlinks.

How NOT to do link building

Yes, and I mean it ‘NOT’

Just as there are some more recommendable practices on how to do link building and that you should try to implement whenever you can, there are others that you should run away from if you do not want your portal to end up badly penalized. Take note!

Fix third-party links

This strategy is as ingenious as not recommended. 

It consists of locating broken links in important blogs, buying the corresponding domains and doing a redirection 301.

 Do not even think about it, okay?

Betting on the amount

It may be years ago that the more links a website had, the better, but nowadays this is no longer the case.

 You can have many links, but if these are of low quality they will end up hurting the positioning on the Internet of your website.

Discard the quantitative way, opt for the qualitative one. 

Bet on the quality of your backlinks, run away from the farms of links and sites of dubious reputation, avoid websites outside your sector, etc.

Generate reciprocal links

This is a very common error when it comes to exchanging links. 

When done, let a prudential time pass between one and another. 

This way you will avoid this unnatural activity being detected by the Google algorithm and you end up being penalized.

Generate many links in a short time

If your website takes months without getting any link and, suddenly, you get ten it will not be natural for the search engine algorithm and it will not benefit you. 

Try to get links progressively and continuously over time. 

Remember, a link a month is preferable for ten months, than having ten links in a month.

Do not count on Nofollow links

Although there are voices that say they do not contribute to SEO, the reality is that they will bring traffic of the same theme to your website, which will sooner or later help you at the time of ranking.

But more important still is that the Nofollow links grant naturalness.

 A page that only points Dofollow links will not be natural for Google and we do not have to say at this point what this could entail, right?

Neglecting the format of links and anchors

Google rewards naturalness, or at least does not penalize it, and what is more natural than a well-contextualized link within the text? 

In comparison, a link in the body of the post will always get better results than a link at the bottom of the page.

In addition, we must also pay attention to the text anchors. 

Always betting on the same anchor profile and/or using anchor keywords other than the ones you want to position is something so unnatural that it can end up becoming a link-bomb that damages your website.

Buy links

Yes, we must also mention the purchase of links. 

I told you earlier that this practice had its dark side and that it was not well seen by Google, so it deserves its own section.

Obviously, the payment for the obtaining of links is not an easy practice to detect if it is done in a prudent way, but the massive purchase through certain portals of explicit sale usually has associated a penalty.

Set yourself the goal of winning a new one often, and do not forget to include the periodic review of the links your site receives.

Very soon you will begin to notice the effects on your SEO!

5 thoughts on “What is a backlink for SEO?”

  1. Great article.

    You seem to know the linkbuilding scene in Kenya pretty well. Please send us an email if you have time – we are looking for a helping hand for our new project!

  2. I’m really impressed with your writing skills as well
    as with the layout on your weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself?

    Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it’s rare
    to see a great blog like this one today.

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