What is a ‘Backlink’ — and Why is it Important for SEO?


According to Wikipedia Backlinks, also known as inbound links, are incoming links to a website or web page. In basic link terminology, a backlink is any link received by a domain (web page or website) from another external website or domain.

The process of obtaining incoming links to your website is called link building or back-linking. Link building is an integral part of any SEO campaign.

The Importance of Backlinks

Back-linking is an essential component of an SEO or Internet marketing strategy. It is important for a number of reasons. Firstly, back-links are important for improving your rank on search engine results. All major search engines including Google, Yahoo and Bing take back-links into account when determining the rank of your website on search results.

Backlinks also contribute to the growth of your website and your business in other ways. Building links can bring direct traffic to your website from the sites that link to yours. Each incoming link whether it is from a blog comment, forum signature, social media profile or online directories, also offers extra exposure for your brand and directs visitors towards your website.

Backlinks and SEO

Search engines consider backlinks as votes. The more the websites that link to your site, the higher your website is likely to rank on search results.

A majority of SEO techniques employed by websites, focus on increasing the number of backlinks by obtaining new inbound links from other sites. Building links has the effect of sending our websites direct traffic, while at the same time signalling Google that our website is important. The latter leads to increased crawl rate, and optimally increased rankings. In this article we examine the SEO basics of valuing a prospective link.

Risks Associate with Backlinks

Link building should be done with care. In spite of its potential to offer benefits, there are risks associated with backlinks. If your website links to untrusted, banned or sites with malicious code or vice versa,  you could get into trouble with the search engines just for being associated with such sites via links. Similarly, too many reciprocal links where one website exchanges a link with another site purely for the purpose of increasing the number of links is also considered a bad practice by search engines such as Google. It is important to build backlinks as naturally as possible for best results and to avoid being penalised by search engines.

Are All Backlinks Equal?

All backlinks are not equal. If you are interested in back-linking for SEO, this is the probably most important thing you should know. The quality of an inbound links plays a very important role for determining your search engine rank when a user searches for a given search term. Simply the total number of backlinks to your site is not enough. It is thus important to focus on the quality of your inbound links.

What determines the quality of a link?

Search engines consider many factors to determine the quality of an incoming link. Simply the number of baclinks is not sufficient to achieve a top rank for desired keywords.

For best results, inbound links should be from sites that are relevant to your website. E.g. if your website is about “Web Design”, obtaining a backlink from another website about “Web Design” will be considered more relevant by search engines than a link from a site about “Property Services”.

The anchor text used in the link is also important e.g. a backlink with the anchor text “Web design” will be more valuable than a backlink from the same site with the anchor text “click here to visit the site”.


Although the number of backlinks to your site is important, quality is even more important. There are many other factors that determine the quality of a backlink. A full list of factors will be covered in a post tomorrow.

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