What is a backlink in SEO and how to build them?

In short terms, a backlink is a link that links one website to another. A more important question is true, why are they important and how can I build them? Backlinks represent a “vote of confidence” in your website. The more votes you accumulate, the higher you rank in search engines, leading to more traffic.

Building backlinks is known as link earning or link building. Backlinks from popular, trustworthy websites are the most desirable. Even just being displayed on really popular websites can give your traffic a huge boost. Backlinks are a great way to improve your SEO, continue reading to find out more.

What is a backlink?

Backlinks are links from one website to another. Google uses these backlinks to rank and determine the authority of websites, thus improving search results for the users and giving more exposure to websites with high-quality backlinks. Each backlink can be considered a vote of trust that users can use to determine the legitimacy of a website.

It is important to maintain a good reputation as a news outlet or blog. Your users look up to you for clean and real facts, while this system discourages regurgitation of existing information or scams.

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What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, it is the practice of configuring a website to rank higher in Search Engine results like Google, Bing, or Yahoo. SEO is important because it has the potential to drive a huge amount of traffic every day. It will magnify the amount of attention your company receives because millions of queries are processed every day.

You as a company should look to take advantage of that positioning then. There are many things that you can do to improve your website’s SEO. Try to display relevant content, use well-labeled images, use relevant links and references, use complete sentences and good spelling, use Standard Compliant HTML and finally be unique and have relevant page titles.

What does a backlink look like?

A backlink can be any form of media, such as text, image, or video that when clicked on, redirects the user to another website. Of course, it can be easy to fill your websites with external backlinks, but this won’t help your SEO at all. It is more important for the ranking algorithm for you to receive backlinks from different authority websites.

Let’s call these incoming links, a good balance between incoming links and external backlinks is what is most beneficial for your SEO. The best way of course is to create engaging and great content for your audience.

How do backlinks help SEO?

Backlinks are one of the many factors that determine the positioning of a website on a search results page. They determine the legitimacy and trustworthiness of your content. Since users value good content, whether it be well researched or well documented. For this reason, the algorithm takes into account the number of backlinks your website receives.

If for example, you and another website are competing for the number one spot on a search results page, the number of incoming backlinks, that is, the number of links from other websites to your site may determine which of your two ranks above the other. If the number of backlinks is the same, the quality is also taken into account, thus preventing creators from creating fake websites dedicated to spamming external links to their websites. All for the sake of determining the legitimacy of your website.

What are the types of backlinks?

There are two types of main backlinks:


These links are more desired because they are the ones considered as votes of confidence. Google uses this type of link to increase your Ranking score. By default, all links are dofollow and do not require you to set the rel=”dofollow” attribute. These are simply the links that Google considers good.


On the other hand, no follow links are not necessarily bad links. What it means is a directive to simply not pass authority from the origin site to the destination site. Although it has earned a backlink, a nofollow link is not enough to be considered a vote of trust. You should consider these just simply as basic backlinks, without any consideration from Search Engines.

What makes a high-quality backlink?

There are three core qualities all high-quality backlinks possess, they are Natural, Reputable, and Relevant. Natural means that websites link to your site without necessarily you trying to ask for backlinks, that is a good indication that your content is making an impact in the community.

Reputable backlinks also add quality because the more authority a page has, the more traffic it may direct to your site. And finally, Relevance is important because it is common practice to spam backlinks from sites that are dedicated to providing spam instead of meaningful content.

Can you rank without backlinks?

Yes, you can. Although backlinks are important, Google does punish websites that abuse them or use them in ways that go against their guidelines. It becomes significantly more difficult, however. You need to implement additional strategies for ranking such as having good keyword research, creating high-quality content, and implementing other marketing strategies.

It is better to deliver great content and try to naturally obtain backlinks, as that is the best way to attract traffic and keep your ranking score stable.

How can I check my backlinks?

You can use an online service such as ahrefs.com or semrush.com. Be sure to also check out neilpatel.com/backlinks, one of the most popular online backlink trackers. Note that additional features may come at an additional fee.

However, most of them offer a free trial that can help you decide if it is for you. Some of the more powerful features they offer are Backlink history, External backlinks, Referring IPs, and Referring domains. Other backlink checking services include SEO Spyglass, Google Search Console, and Majestic.


Web designer & digital marketer based in Las Vegas Nevada