What is a Backlink and how important is it for SEO

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In today’s article we will analyze what backlinks are, why they are essential for SEO and how important these external links are for your online success.

Definition: A backlink is that external link that your site receives from another website. These links are also known as “inbound links” or “external links”.

These links represent, in fact, the link between the multitude of existing sites on the Internet, being practically indispensable to search engines in their constant approach to discovering new content.

But going back to the impact of backlinks on the SEO optimization process, we must mention that these external links are like “votes of confidence” for the site that receives them. Google and other search engines appreciate both the number of links and their quality.

We will see in the following what differentiates one link from another.

But first, let’s see what the importance of backlinks is.

Why do we need BACKLINKS?

Domain Authority & SERP Positioning (Ranking)

Google’s algorithm needs more reliable signals to place a site in the top results. And external links are one of the most important signals.

Some time ago, Gary Ilies acknowledged that backlinks are the number 1 criterion according to which the most popular search engine ranks its results.

So, “long talk” without backlinks does not help the SEO optimization campaign. After hundreds of active campaigns, we can tell you with confidence that the links help both to increase the authority of the domain (DR – Domain Rating according to Ahrefs), and to increase the organic visibility.

Faster Indexing – More Google Visits

The more often you are crawled, the faster your new content will be accessible to potential customers or users. And that’s exactly what backlinks do: call the search engines more often on your site. Basically, sites with more backlinks are considered more popular and receive more attention from Google.

Referral traffic

Last but not least, backlinks can generate traffic and even sales. External links from reputable sites with significant traffic can direct quality traffic that can convert very well.

What attributes should a quality BACKLINK have

What attributes should a quality BACKLINK have?

Obviously, not all backlinks have the same value. This aspect should not scare us, however. There are thousands and thousands of sources on the internet, so we just have to find the right ones for us.

Relevance of Backlinks

Context is always important, no matter what we are talking about. In other words, if in a site about caring for babies or children we post a link on how to install a hot water boiler by your own, the chances of this backlink being relevant are very small. If, instead, we post a link to the latest baby diaper model, that backlink will definitely be relevant and will help you in the SEO process.

On the other hand, we must admit that it is very difficult to get links from similar sites in the same niche as us. First of all, some of those sites may be our direct or indirect competitors and it is obvious that they will never link to us. Second, a market niche remains a niche. How many profile sites can be in a niche ?! So, after you have finished with the field in which you are active, you can find common topics with other niches or you can combine different topics in order to obtain the much desired backlinks.

Thus, also from experience, we tell you that in the end, almost any link is good, it representing a vote of confidence.

Authority of a Backlink

The stronger the site that sends us a link, the more impact that link will have on our SEO promotion campaign. Moreover, if you manage to get links from highly trusted sites, such as Wikipedia or sites with .gov extensions or similar, they will weigh heavily in search engine rankings.

To get the most out of a backlink you need to know that since the authority of a page is shared equally to all the links on that page, it is recommended not to have other backlinks on that page.

Basically, if a backlink is on a page with multiple backlinks, the power that this link transfers to us is only a percentage of the total power of that page.

The traffic of the page that offers the backlink

It is clear that a high traffic page will drive more traffic to the site where it sends the link. But the question is whether these pages also contribute to a better ranking.

According to a recent Ahrefs study on this topic, the traffic of the page that sends the link has a low impact on positions in Google. The number of unique domains as well as the authority of each domain matter more in the SEO economy.

Backlink positioning on the page

It is not known for sure how much it matters, but positioning a link in the main part of a page can transfer more “link juice” than if it will be positioned in the footer or in less visible locations. Also, if we can highlight the anchor of the backlink – different color, bold, different font – there is a good chance that the backlink will be stronger.

Dofollow and Nofollow backlinks

Dofollow & Nofollow backlinks

As the name suggests, in terms of “following” them, backlinks can be of two types: dofollow and nofollow. To count from an SEO point of view, you will want most of the links you get to be dofollow. In other words, dofollow links are those that transmit the power of the site that offers them while nofollow backlinks mean that these links are not taken into account.

However, a secure link building strategy must also include a percentage of nofollow links. It is recommended that a percentage of at least 5% of the backlinks of a site be this type.

Anchor Text of a Backlink – Wide or Exact Match

Choosing the right anchor is one of the most difficult decisions you have to make in an SEO optimization campaign.

Wide or match anchor? It is the question that has generated and still generates heated debates among SEO specialists.

But first of all, here’s what a backlink anchor means:

An anchor with a wide fit is the anchor that provides a short description of the backlink. A good example in the field of SEO is: “summer tires suitable for your car”. By comparison, an exact anchor for the same backlink would be “summer tires”.

Of course, both anchors, together with the backlink, will be directed to a landing page .

What does “Exact Match” mean?

The exact match of an anchor refers to the similarity between the backlink and the anchor. In the case above, the “summer tires” anchor is accurate with the URL / summer-tires structure. And from here practically comes the concept of exact.

An exact match anchor strategy is often equated with a risky SEO strategy, in the sense that the use of accurate anchors in the long run can increase the risk of a search engine penalty. On the other hand, we know that any risk taken can bring you results.

From experience we can tell you the exact anchors make their effect much faster from an SEO point of view. Regarding the penalty risk invoked by Google, we mention that we saw very few cases of penalties – and, usually, in those cases, there were other negative elements that led to those penalties.

Conclusions

In order to have chances at higher rankings in search engines we must understand very well what they are, what attributes they must have, but also what are the right backlinks for our site. A backlink is, as I said at the beginning, a vote of confidence and must be treated as such. Backlinks are also the mainstay of off page seo optimization and it is very important to know everything about them.

Moreover, given that backlinks are the basis of the operation of search engines, their importance for the SEO campaign is decisive.

Do you pay due attention to backlinks? What do you do to get the most appropriate links for your site?

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