Why you need backlinks in SEO strategy for growing traffic to your website

Design by Kiltz, Websites, marketing & strategy

What are Backlinks

Backlinks are links from other websites to yours. Google looks at the quality of the websites linking to you and the number of backlinks as votes to your website pages that they are valuable and worth ranking higher.

Building backlinks can be as easy as asking for a link from your customers website, sponsoring local events (where they put your logo or biz name on their site with a link), being a Chamber of Commerce member, etc.

But, in order to be effective, you need more than a handful. There’s no easy “goal” number because it all depends on how much competition you have for the keywords you want to rank on, the domain authority of your domain, and your competition.

The science of building backlinks is geeky… techie… did we say geeky? But, no worries, we’re not going to take you into the weeds on the nuts and bolts of how to do it. There are some awesome guides online that we’ll share with you. But before that, let’s talk about –

The Importance of Backlinks

Backlinks have been a part of the search ranking landscape since Google joined the search arena and introduced “PageRank”. But Google became serious about making sure that backlinks came from quality sources in 2012, leveling the playing field for everyone who had exploited the concept just to rank. There’s been a couple of adjustments since then, but having links to your website is an important ranking factor.

Backlinks boost site credibility

Backlinks act like endorsements from other websites to your website. Each backlink represents a vote of confidence for your website from another site, saying that your content is of great quality, accurate and useful. This gives a signal to Google that, combined with other factors, helps boost your rankings if everything aligns.

Backlinks help improve search engine ranking

Simply put, the more high quality backlinks your website has, the higher it will rank in organic search results. This is because Google uses backlinks as an important ranking signal where many backlinks are considered a high number of “votes” for your site.

If you Google “importance of building backlinks in SEO” (search engine optimization), you’ll find a long list of qualified professionals pointing out that while Google is paying attention to other elements, having great content with backlinks from high quality sites is very important.

It’s simple… Brian Dean with Backlinko.com shares this in his summary after analyzing 11.8 million Google Search Results:

“Pages with lots of backlinks rank above pages that don’t have as many backlinks. In fact, the #1 result in Google has an average of 3.8x more backlinks than positions #2-#10.”

Not All Backlinks are Equal

So, it’s true that you need to have a lot of backlinks, but numbers aren’t everything. As we hinted above, the quality of backlinks is just as important – if not more important than the number. Here’s a list of the characteristics of what counts as a high quality backlink.

The link is from a trusted and authoritative website

Would you better believe news from an established news house or from an underground random blog? Google needs to know that the websites that it ranks are quality – so it listens to “trust signals”.

A “trusted, authoritative” website is one that is ranking well, is following good SEO practices, and has a lot of links pointing to them (meaning they themselves have a lot of backlinks).

Your target keyword is part of the backlink’s anchor text

Anchor text is the visible text in a link. A good backlink will have your keyword forming part of its anchor text. What you don’t want is the backlink simply linking from the word “here”. It should at the very least include your business name, and even better a short phrase that includes the keywords you’re hoping to rank for by asking for the link.

The website that links to you should be in a related industry

If you’re a business coach, it doesn’t make much sense to have a link from a bunch of automotive websites unless they have taken your coaching and are talking about it on their website.

Google wants to see that the websites that are linking to you are connecting to your niche, your focus in your business.

The link to you does not have a  “nofollow” tag attached to it

Nofollow tags tell Google to not to follow the link – which is counterproductive for what you’re trying to accomplish. The good news is the default is to not attach a nofollow tag.

Just make sure if you’re requesting a link to confirm that the “nofollow” tag will not be used. Many requests that we get ask for “dofollow” on the link… even though there isn’t a setting for it when you create the link.

Without diving into all the geeky scenarios, there are times when you may want to provide a link on your site that you don’t want your site to be associated with the page you’re linking to (e.g. you’re posting on a forum, or another type of link that Google views as potentially ‘spammy’). Here’s a great article that explains the nofollow tag.

Get Backlinks From Websites That Haven’t Linked To You Previously

The “perfect/ideal” would be that you would have one or two links from a lot of websites with high authority. You can have more links from a single website, but you need to be strategic in having them placed on different pages, using varied keywords and linking to various pages on your website.

In general, you want to have more domain names linking to you. In the summary we shared above from Backlinko.com, Brian also shares this:

“Getting backlinks from multiple different sites appears to be important for SEO. We found the number of domains linking to a page had a correlation with rankings.”

Resources for Creating Your Own Backlinks

So, now that you understand the importance of backlinks in improving your SEO ranking, as well as what qualifies as ‘quality backlinks’, how do you get started on creating or enhancing backlinks to your website?

If you search “how to create backlinks”, you’ll get a huge list, and a lot of geeky detail. Frankly, it can feel overwhelming. For that reason, we like to encourage people to work with a professional that provides backlinks as a part of a well rounded SEO package.

But, we realize that you just might be a DIY die hard, so here are some good resources we found. The articles are longer, but if you take your time to absorb them, they are good and will bring you results.

Backlinko.com is a super resource for all things SEO.

Neil Patel is a powerhouse when it comes to SEO and marketing.


Your Online Partner… for Success

How’s your SEO strategy working? Ranking in the search engines includes a lot of moving parts with backlinking being the most tedious and technical. We’re here to de-geek it for you, and if you’re ready, become your partner for success.  Book a free session with Christy to explore your needs and available opportunities.