What are backlinks and why are backlinks important in SEO?

What are backlinks?

Backlinks are also called inbound or incoming links and are links from other websites to your site.  They are useful as they promote your organization to readers at their site.  For example, if a veterinary clinic website links to a blog comparing pet insurance policies. 

Essentially, backlinks are another organization's way of giving your credit for quality content. They are vouching for your company online. In other words, if they see something on your site that is worth linking to, they direct their audience there. 

Benefits of backlinks

Having backlinks holds several advantages, such as:

Boosts your site's organic rank

The more other websites link to your content, the more authority you'll get online. The higher your authority rank, the higher you'll appear in search engine results. Search engines, like Google, will assume if you have several quality backlinks that you're a trusted and reliable source for the topic. 

Increases brand awareness

As more and more websites direct their audience to your website, the more traffic you'll get, and the more consumers will become aware of your company. Once on your site, you can use techniques like putting a 'related content' widget at the end of your post. This will direct new visitors to stay and see what other content you have they may be interested in. And the more they stay on your site, the more likely they'll convert to customers. 

Leads to referral visits to your site

Search engines track visitors to your site that were referred from another website. But referral traffic has another advantage. It is often more targeted than other visits to your site. That means those who end up on your site from a backlink are less likely to bounce than other traffic. 

Build a reputation as a subject authority

Backlinks to your website help position your company as an authority in your industry or subject matter. Search engines often use these backlinks to understand what your website is about. So, the more backlinks you have, the better search engines will be able to understand what subject matter you should be categorized into. 

Build connections

Backlinks between organizations demonstrate to others that there is a connection or relationship between the companies. It can create a higher level of trust in visitors who believe that your organization is connected to another one they already value. However, you need to establish a real connection with the other organization. Simply creating a backlink to an organization you want to be affiliated with may not work. 

What is backlink value?

Different factors give some backlinks more value than others, such as:

Follow backlink

You can get a follow or no-follow backlink. A no-follow link has less value than a follow link. However, if they come from authoritative sites, both types of backlinks can be valuable. 

Domain authority

The more authority the domain linking to your site has, the more value the backlink carries. It's best to avoid backlinks that come from low-authority sites. 

Link relevancy

The backlink should be directing visitors to content connected to the original website they were on. For example, if you have a mountain biking shop and there is a backlink to your site from a bakery in another location, search engines won't give the much value. 

Number of links

If your link appears on a page with dozens of other links to different sites, it will not carry the same value as being on a page with just a couple of other links. 

Why are backlinks important for SEO?

Search engines use a number of different factors when ranking your website, and backlinks are one of them. If your site has several other authorities pointing to it, the content on your site gets more creditability. And the more creditability your site has, the higher it gets ranked in search engine results. 

It's important to keep in mind that with backlinks, quality matters. It's not about getting a lot of other links to your website. You want to get quality links to your page. 

Here are some of the factors you'll need to understand if you're looking to use backlinks for SEO purposes. 

Total referral domains

You want to have high-quality domains linking to your website for the best possible boost to your SEO. 

Total backlinks

The number of backlinks you have matters, even if they are from the same domain. So, it can help boost your ranking if an authoritative site has several links to content on your website. 

Total number of anchors

Anchor tags on a website direct traffic to a specific part of your site. They serve as invisible markers and make it easy to navigate to sections on your page. 

Anchor keyword

Where the keyword is in the anchor also matters, especially with keywords that are popular. 

How to get backlinks

Usually, backlinks are earned. And it's best to establish a relationship with the organization you want to link to your website. Some marketing agencies will promise you a high number of backlinks, but they are often low-quality links. And that can hurt your credibility with online users and search engines. It's better to take the slow and steady route and earn your backlinks. There are three ways that you can do this, including:


If you create excellent content, other organizations will find it and link to you without any effort on your part. 


Another tactic to gain backlinks is to ask for them. Contact the organization you want to receive a backlink from and offer to write a guest post. You can add links to your website in this post. 


A self-created backlink is one that directs from an authority website to your site that you place in a forum or the comments section on their website. It's not advisable to do this as it can sometimes harm your SEO efforts. 

At Soap Media, 80 percent of our clients get first-page ranking within the first few months of working with us. If you'd like to strengthen your SEO approach, contact Soap Media for a discovery call today.