If you are new to SEO or doing it for a while you have often comes to the term backlinks. These backlinks are considered major ranking factor since the beginning of search evolution. Still today backlinks plays major role to rank higher on search engines. In this article I’ll discuss why & how backlinks continues to be one of the top ranking factors & what is good and bad about them.
Let’s start with the definition of backlinks and then we will know different parts of it and what are do’s & don’ts of building backlinks.
What is Backlink?
Backlinks are links or hyperlinks on web pages which links other web pages, files or different part of current page. When a website links your website or a particular page of it, then it is considered as a backlink for your website.
In real world as we often refer good resources, like a good restaurant, movie theatre or a shop to our friends & family, backlinks provide same word of mouth value for a website. The more a website have backlinks from relevant sites the more value it will get from search engine.
Backlinks are created by simply adding anchor tags for an URL. Anchor tags start with “a”, hyperlink reference (href) of a URL and ends with another “a”. In between start and ending tag we mention text which are displayed to visitors.
<a href=“http://www.example.com”>Some important reference</a>
Here “Some important reference” is the text which is linking to http://www.example.com by href attribute of anchor (a) tag.
Types of backlinks
There are 2 types of backlinks in SEO.
If a website is providing a link to your site by the process mentioned above, then you get a do-follow link. By default all links are considered as a dofollow link and these links provide link juice to the linked site. Which means it tells search engines to consider the link as a trusted reference for the words on which it provides the links. It basically instructs search engine crawlers to crawl the linked website as well, while crawler indexing the current page.
If a web page provides an anchor tag with a rel attribute with nofollow value in it, then it is considered as a nofollow link. Here is an example:
<a href=“http://www.example.com” rel=“nofollow”>Some important reference</a>
This tells search engine crawlers to not give importance to link within it. If a crawler see this nofollow tag then it will not go to the linked site for further crawling from this site. By doing this the linking site will not get the link benefit from this site.
What is the value of links for Google
Google basically uses them for 2 reasons
- To index more pages on the internet.
- To determine which page should get more priority in ranking than others
While crawling web pages on internet if Google bots finds you link on a page, then it comes to your page as well and crawls its content and while crawling your page it will check for the links within your page and go to next site. This process continues to get more indexes for Google to provide best search result. In this video Google explains the process. In this process you’ll get your site indexed faster.
By getting backlinks it will increase your organic traffic as the crawlers comes your site from the sites which links back to you, visitors also will come from those sites as well.
After crawling, Google checks how relevant and authoritative are the sites which are giving you backlinks. How much quality you put into your content, how well your content is optimised for your targeted keywords?
So every other ranking factors are coming later in the process. By this you already have a better idea of the value of links for Google. But this doesn’t mean that you just focus on getting more & more links.
In the early days of Google, it provides so much value to pages by the number of backlinks and then as expected all people started manipulate it, by focusing more on getting links by directory submission on any site, spamming the comments section of different blogs. Then google started devaluing the number of backlinks & focuses more on quality backlinks.
Do’s & Don’ts of Building Backlinks
While building backlinks we have to remember that the quality always win over quantity. A link from high authority site will give more value than many links from low authority sites. Links from low quality site will have low impact on rankings. Also links from spammy websites will cause penalty from Google.
In the beginning of Google, Larry Page, one of co-founder of Google, invented a metric called PageRank to determine the value of a page. If a webpage has more PageRank then a link from this page can provide more value than a page with less PageRank. But later Google makes it private and now SEO guys cannot get the PageRank of a page.
Then moz developed 2 metrics called DomainAuthority (DA) & PageAuthority (PA) to determine the value of a site. It helps people to find more valuable sites with high DA to get backlink to their site. Also moz provides another metric called spam score to find spammy website. These spammy sites will harm your site so bad that your site can totally remove from Google, so stay away from getting links from these sites.
Now I believe you got a clear overview about backlinks and why they are important for SEO. If you have any suggestions & queries regarding backlinks then comment down below.