Backlinks are inbound links from one website to another, in other words, they are direct links from websites, blogs, newspapers and other digital platforms to a website.
For example, imagine that a newspaper publishes an article about your company, and at the end of the article adds the URL of your website with a direct link to the site, that link is a backlink.
Although it can also happen in the opposite direction, i.e., you can link to an external site from your web page. In this sense, if a digital media links to your site, you have a backlink from them, but if from your website you link to another page, then they have a backlink from you.
Why are backlinks important for SEO?
Backlinks act as a vote of confidence, an extra point in favor of your website. The reasoning used by search engines to explain the importance of backlinks is as follows: «If someone is willing to talk about your business or you, and send their visitors to your website, it means that your site is good and is endorsed by the media that links to it».
For example, if an authoritative content marketing platform links to a BeeLinko blog post, it sends a signal to search engines that the two sites share a common theme and that it trusts BeeLinko’s content.
As we said, inbound links give clues to search engines about the relevance of the site, and that, added to other positioning factors, allows search engines to rank and display in the first results, the most useful and relevant websites to answer the user’s search.
Trust and authority are key factors for search engine rankings and search engines will not link to other trusted sites and will avoid spam and untrusted sites like the plague.
Trust and authority are two of the most important reasons why backlinks are important to search engines.
Backlinks are also important for SEO because they serve to bring highly qualified referral traffic to your website, and if your content is good and you have a high retention rate, that will indicate to search engines that your content is valuable to visitors, and that will help you improve your rankings in the SERPs.
Backlinks are also important to tell search engines how different websites and web pages are connected, like a street map.
What ranking value do search engines apply to backlinks?
No one knows for sure. The ranking criteria used by search engines are top secrets, to prevent manipulation of search results.
Everything we know in this regard is based on patents filed by Google and other search engines, from which all information related to data, analytics, user experience, backlinks, etc. is extracted.
Now, we know that backlinks are important, and that not all of them have the same value. The higher the domain authority, the higher the quality of the link.
The domain authority is equivalent to the relevance of that web page with respect to the rest of the world’s web pages, and this relevance is determined by the number of external links of authority pointing to the site in question.
The higher the authority of the site linking to yours, the higher the quality of the link, so when it comes to backlink strategy, it is better to go for quality rather than quantity.
In fact, if there are a lot of low quality backlinks pointing to your site, what you are telling Google is that your site is shady, and that can hurt your SEO.
It may seem counter-intuitive but, the basis of a good backlink strategy is in the creation of content on your blog. If you provide value, getting backlinks becomes much easier. After all, people want to share great content, and if you do it well, you will get other media to link to you.
Quality content should be the absolute core of any successful SEO strategy, so direct much of your efforts to creating high quality content and the backlinks will come.