Updated: Mar 12
Google’s algorithms are complex and changing over time. However, backlinks still remain a crucial factor in determining what page will be ranked on search engines. Although backlink building is one of the many tactics used in search engine optimisation, many search engine optimisers are contributing the majority of their time to build backlinks.
What are Backlinks
Backlink (aka inbound link) is a link from one page to another page of a different website. Backlinks are considered as ‘votes’ for the page. Page having more backlinks tends to rank higher on search engines.
Backlink building is the process of getting other websites to link back to your website. These links often appear in the form of hyperlinks. These hyperlinks are a way for visitors to navigate between pages on the Internet. If you have many of these hyperlinks, there is an increase in organic traffic from other websites to your website.
Why Backlinks are Important
Backlinks work in two ways
As another source of the traffic to your page
As a vote to your page
A website having many backlinks means that many websites cite your page as a reference. When users visit those pages, there is a chance they click on the links. Your website has more organic traffic. Simply talk, you are expanding your online presence.
In addition, Google uses backlink as a method to recognise your page as an authority. When your page has been voted by another page, these votes tell Google your page is valuable and useful for users.
How Backlink Works
When users search a keyword, Google crawls around to decide the retrieved results for users. Google doesn't just look at the content on the page, they also look at the number of links pointing to that page. If your page matches the keywords, and at the same time being cited by many pages; there will be a higher chance to appear on the first page.
So the higher quality and quantity votes, the more likely you are to rank well in search engines. What I mean by quality here is that the links you get should be from quality, authority, and relevant websites.
What is a Valuable Backlink
1/ Authority of the Page
The page will have a big impact on your rankings when this page is high authority. That's because links from an authoritative page pass more authority to your page.
In many SEO tools, page authority is determined as ‘Page Rating’ or ‘URL Rating’.
2/ Authority of Website
Would you trust the information from a government website or a random website? If you know the answer, Google thinks the same way.
One metric to evaluate the authority of a website is ‘Domain Authority or ‘Domain Rating’. Generally, the more authority a website has, the more authority it can pass to your site. This metric can be found on many SEO tools, and be the initial metric in backlink building strategy.
3/ The Anchor Text Includes Your Targeted Keyword.
Anchor text is the clickable text that leads to another page. The anchor text helps Google understand the relevance and content under the link. Generally, good marketers never use ‘click here or ‘link’ as anchor text, they use keywords.
However, don’t overuse keywords in the anchor text, unless it is relevant. Google knows when anchor text is named unnaturally!
4/ Relevance of the Page
A vegan recipes website can’t cite a meat selling website. Google recognizes the vote when it is from a related page.
So don’t try to get links from irrelevant pages because these pages will pass you low or no authority, and sometimes get you into the trouble of Google’s penalties.