What Is a Backlink?

Backlinks are essentially another term for inbound links, as in, links pointing from other websites to yours. They have an immense SEO value that shouldn’t be ignored. 

Why Do Backlinks Matter?

Why are backlinks so significant for SEO? Backlinks show that the website they’re linking to is a reputable one. Search engines take these signals as proof of trustworthiness. When one website is willing to link to another one, search engines see it as a sign that the target website is a credible source of information worthy of showing up in the SERPs.

That means backlinks can significantly affect a website’s search visibility and ranking position. The more domains point to a website, the better. However, it’s not just the quantity that matters, but also the quality of websites that link to another one. Not every external link is created equal, which is something that goes into consideration during link building.

Link Building

Link building is the process of gaining more backlinks for the target website. It’s one of the pillars of off-page SEO and a highly valuable strategy for every website out there. Google named links as one of the three most important ranking factors for SEO.

The goal of link building isn’t just to get more backlinks, it’s also the quality of those backlinks that matter. External links from high-authority, popular, and reputable websites are worth more than links originating from suspicious or spammy websites. Suffice it to say that it’s generally better to go for websites with high domain authority and avoid sites that could harm the website’s reputation in the eyes of Google’s crawlers.

While domain authority represents a crucial aspect of backlink quality, it’s by no means the only factor in play. Search engine accessibility, “rel” HTML attribute, anchor text, and meta tags all have a role in determining the total value of a backlink. The “rel” attribute, for example, can have a huge impact on a backlink. By setting the value of the “rel” attribute to “nofollow” you’re telling Google crawlers not to go that way. Even though a “nofollow” link is stripped of some of its SEO value, it still contributes to a healthy backlink profile and more brand exposure.

In short, gaining quality backlinks is all about maintaining a healthy balance of different kinds of links stemming from authoritative websites.

Backlink Profile

A backlink profile is the total number of all the external web pages and domains linking to a website. Link characteristics are also relevant to the backlink profile — factors such as anchor texts, link attributes, and topical relevance all contribute to a varied backlink profile.

A healthy backlink profile consists of different types of links (“dofollow” and “nofollow”), organic links from high authority websites, varied anchor texts, and links between topically related websites. It’s also important to keep an eye out for low-quality backlinks as they’re damaging to the backlink profile. Low-quality and spam links are bound to happen sooner or later, so it’s best to stay vigilant.

Also, while it’s good to have many high-quality backlinks, there is such a thing as too many. A spike in the number of backlinks could have a negative impact on your backlink profile and even lead to penalization. Getting too many backlinks too fast is a negative signal and it implies involvement in black-hat link building schemes.

Researching Backlink Profiles

One common way to find backlink opportunities is to research competitors’ backlink profiles. The backlinks they’ve gained over time might be the reason why they rank so well, so going after the same or similar backlink opportunities could result in more visibility.

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