Back to Basics: What are Backlinks

Let’s talk about backlinks.

Content is important. There’s no denying that what your website says and the keywords that feed into search engines from that content can make or break your ranking on search results pages. However, in addition to keeping your content high in quality and up to date, it’s also important to have well-crafted SEO and a solid link-building strategy.

The more quality content you build up on your site, the more likely it is that you’ll come by backlinks organically, but before we get into that, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of what a backlink actually is.

What is a backlink?

Backlinks are incoming links to a website. When a website links to any other page or site domain, it is called a backlink and serves as a major metric for the overall ranking of a website. Since Google’s recent algorithm update, having credible backlinks is a very important part of your site’s overall digital strategy.


Are backlinks still relevant?

Backlinks have always been relevant—since they’re valuable elements for SEO and are essentially points for the credibility of your site, they’ve never really gone out of style. Backlinks to your website not only help to bring more user traffic to your site over time, but they also notify search engines that certain content is worth linking to if a number of sites backlink to the same website. This just translates to a positive effect on your site’s ranking or visibility on search engine results.


How can I start accumulating backlinks?

Backlinks can be generated by having other websites link to yours. This can be done through press releases, customer reviews, and local listings to name a few—it’s no secret however that earning them is time-consuming. One option for getting a plan together for raising your backlinks count, is to begin with some competitive research—examining the backlink profile (compilation of site pages linking to a particular website) gives you an idea of what ranks well for target keywords you’d use in your line of business. This will at least provide a springboard of sorts for you to start forming your strategy.


Are there any bad ways to get backlinks?

Not all backlinks are created equal—Google’s algorithm doesn’t put much stock in backlinks contained in the footer, sidebar, or navigation of a website. Trying to inorganically accumulate those backlinks through “black hat” techniques doesn’t win you any favors with the top search engine either. Buying backlinks or using any other black hat technique to up your backlink count is a violation of Google’s guidelines and could get you blacklisted.


The Bottom Line

It all comes back to creating great content for your website. If you’re regularly populating your site with relevant content that provides value to the end-users, they will be more likely to share the content you’ve produced. When a user finds your content valuable enough to link back to it from their own site, you’ve not only gained a backlink but you’ve expanded your reach.

If you’re curious about how your own site measures up when it comes to backlinks, consider checking out some of the helpful tools we use for our clients such as SEMrush and SEOquake. Both tools provide insight on backlinks and several other SEO tips you might need. Additionally, these tools might be helpful as you begin incorporating backlinks into your overall digital marketing strategy.