What are Backlinks?

You may have heard of link building as being an important part of SEO. You may be considering purchasing backlinks for your website. However, you need to understand the purpose of backlinks, and the potential risks of using backlinks poorly. So first of all, what is a backlink?

In a nutshell, a backlink refers to when someone else is linking your website and/or other content on their website. In this context, backlinks can more aptly be referred to as “endorsements” because by using a backlink to your website, they are giving you a free endorsement. Websites with plenty of quality endorsements have a high “web authority” within their industry.

Why are Backlinks Important in Digital Marketing?

Google needs a good way to judge the trustworthiness of a website, and backlinks are one way a website can earn credibility. Essentially, when another credible website links back to your website, then that’s a signal that one trustworthy website is vouching for another. This is why backlinks are an important factor in Google’s PageRank algorithm, and it’s why marketers should pay attention to who’s endorsing them. The more backlinks there are, the higher the website will rank in the search engines. Good backlinks can increase a website’s visibility and strengthen its discoverability. 

What Are the Types of Backlinks?

There are two primary two types of backlinks in SEO:

  • A NoFollow backlink – links that pass no information onto search engines
  • A DoFollow backlink – links that promote your website in search engine optimization (these have an impact on SEO)

When it comes to endorsements from DoFollow backlinks, more is better, but there’s a catch. Endorsements are a two-way street, so just like a quality backlink can boost your SEO performance, a “toxic” backlink can damage your web authority. Much like how a toxic backlink can damage web authority, the outdated strategy of forcing your backlinks in the comments section of another site’s blog will not help your web authority either. 

How Do I Create a Backlink Strategy?

Since backlinks play an important role in SEO, having a game plan to disperse backlinks in reputable sources is a must. There are a variety of ways to achieve this.

  • Add links to your website on your social media and/or edit links on special social media posts that are performing above all the rest.
  • Collaborations: Write a guest post for another website/blog or interview a subject matter expert that can link your website to theirs. 
  • Do NOT pay for backlinks: these toxic backlinks with spam robots could get you flagged on Google!

Final Thoughts

Creating backlinks in SEO can be a tricky business. You want to gain as much exposure as possible, but you do not want to carelessly seek out backlinks that will be labeled as toxic. When done well, authoritative domains within your niche will look upon you as a credible source and be happy to include links to your website on their own. There are no shortcuts with SEO, and good rapport within your industry is going to be worth it.

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