What is Backlink in SEO – Understanding the Importance of Backlinks & How to Build them?

In the ever-evolving world of SEO, backlinks remain a crucial component of any successful SEO strategy. They play a pivotal role in determining a website’s authority, visibility, and ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs). In this comprehensive article, we will understand what is backlink in SEO, the importance of baclinks, and provide valuable insights on how to build an SEO backlink effectively.

A backlink, also known as an “inbound link”, “incoming link”, “one way link”, or an “external link”, is a hyperlink that directs users from one website to another. In simple terms, it’s a reference from one web page to another. These links are essential for search engines like Google to evaluate the credibility and relevance of a website. Backlinks are viewed by Google and other top search engines as “votes” for a certain page, demonstrating its authority, quality, and relevancy. 

Here’s what an SEO backlink looks like:

SEO backlinks serve as a vote of confidence or a citation, indicating that one website trusts the content and authority of another. Therefore, the more backlinks or “votes” your website has, the higher it may rank on Google and other search engines. As per an article by Search Engine Land, SEO Backlinks are one of Google’s top 3 search ranking factors. 

Take a look at some of the benefits of backlinks in SEO:

1. Improved Search Engine Rankings

Backlinks are a core factor in search engine algorithms. Search engines view them as a sign of trust and credibility. Websites with high-quality, relevant backlinks tend to rank higher on SERPs. When multiple reputable websites link to your content, search engines perceive it as a signal that your content is valuable and trustworthy, boosting your ranking potential.

2. Increased Organic Traffic

High-quality backlinks can drive substantial organic traffic to your website. When users click on these links, they are directed to your site, thereby, increasing your visibility and potential customer base. Additionally, users who come from reliable sources are more likely to interact with your content and become subscribers or customers.

3. Enhanced Domain Authority

Domain authority (DA) quantifies the overall strength and credibility of a website. It is a metric developed by Moz. Backlinks from authoritative and reputable websites significantly contribute to increasing your site’s DA. A higher DA not only helps with SEO but also instills trust in your audience.

4. Building Relationships and Networking

Connecting with other website owners and influential people in your niche is a common step in the backlink-building process. This process fosters valuable relationships and networking opportunities. Collaborating with other industry players can lead to guest posting, co-marketing ventures, and a broader online presence.

5. Referral Traffic

Backlinks act as pathways that direct users from one website to another. These referral visits can lead to increased engagement, longer session durations, and lower bounce rates on your site. When users find valuable content through backlinks, they are more likely to explore your website further.

Dofollow links are hyperlinks without additional attributes; in other words, they are standard hyperlinks. A dofollow link instructs Google to grant authority and trust to the website that it is being linked to. In the absence of an attribute, all links are automatically regarded “dofollow” links.

In HTML code, a dofollow backlink appears as follows:

<a href=”https://www.domain.com/”>this is a dofollow link</a>

By linking to a website, you are basically endorsing it (and by default using a dofollow link). 

But in some circumstances, you might prefer not to use a dofollow link. For instance, you may want to link another website’s page for reference but don’t want to pass any authority.

Nofollow links instruct search engines like Google not to convey authority to that page. Nofollow links use the rel=”nofollow” feature.

A nofollow backlink looks like this in HTML:

<a href=”https://www.domain.com/” rel=”nofollow”>this is a nofollow link</a>

A sponsored link is a paid advertisement that appears as a top-ranking search engine result. When a user types in a relevant word into a search engine like Google, the first few pages of results are sponsored links.

When a website provides money, service, or a product in exchange for a link, the rel=”sponsored” link attribute is used.

 In HTML, a paid or sponsored link appears as follows:

<a href=”https://www.domain.com/” rel=”sponsored”>this is a sponsored link</a>

As the name suggests, user-generated content (UGC) links indicate to Google the links that were created by users. This indicates that webmasters do not editorially endorse any of the links on their pages. Two examples of UGC links include links in blog comments and forum posts.

Editorially placed links are earned naturally. For instance, when a website links to your blog post because it considers your content to be a valuable resource. The link is an editorially placed link. 

These links are valued by Google since they aim to improve user experience rather than manipulate search engine algorithms.

Link schemes, also referred to as link spam, are links used to manipulate rankings in Google Search results.

A few examples of link schemes include:

  • link exchanging 
  • exchanging links for money, products, or services
  • using tools that generate links to your website automatically

Participating in link schemes could result in a Google penalty on your website. It may have a detrimental effect on your rankings.

If you have ever been a part of a link scam, you should disavow any backlinks that could be damaging. To do this, tell Google to ignore some backlinks to your website.

Note: Google advises against disavowing links unless you have paid for them or taken part in any kind of link scheme.

Not all types of backlinks are equally valuable in SEO. Therefore, if you want to rank higher on Google, you must create quality backlinks. This is because even one quality backlink can be more effective than 100s of low-quality backlinks. 

Here are some traits of high-quality backlinks:

  • They typically come from authoritative and trusted websites.
  • The website you get a backlink from is topically related to your website
  • These links also include the target keyword in the anchor text of the link.
  • The backlink is a Dofollow link.
  • The backlink is from a site that hasn’t linked to your site earlier

Now that you have understood what is backlinks in SEO and the importance of backlinks, let’s explore how to build them effectively.

The two main ingredients for building high-quality backlinks or link building is a strategic approach and a commitment to providing valuable content. Here are some tried-and-true methods to help you build backlinks for your website:

1. Create Exceptional Content

The cornerstone of any successful link building strategy is outstanding content. Content that is informative, well-researched, and engaging naturally attracts backlinks. When you consistently produce valuable content, other websites are more likely to reference it as a reliable source.

2. Guest Posting

Guest posting is defined as writing and publishing content on other websites within your niche. In return, you can include a link back to your own site. Look for reputable websites that accept guest contributions and ensure your content aligns with their audience and topic. Guest posting not only builds backlinks but also establishes your authority in your field.

Identify websites in your industry that may benefit from linking to your content. Reach out to them through email or social media and politely request a backlink. Be sure to explain the value your content provides to their audience. Personalized outreach can significantly improve your success rate.

4. Content Promotion

Promote your content on forums, social media platforms, and online communities. When people discover your content and find it valuable, they are more likely to link to it. Utilize platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Reddit to share your content with relevant communities.

The broken link building tactic involves identifying broken links on different websites and offering your content as a replacement. Tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush can help you identify broken links on authoritative websites. Contact the website owner, and notify them of the broken link. You can offer your content as a suitable replacement.

6. Collaborate and Network

Building relationships and collaborating with influencers and industry leaders can lead to natural backlink opportunities. Attend conferences, webinars, and networking events to connect with others in your field. Collaborative projects, such as webinars or interviews, can result in backlinks from your collaborators’ websites.

Develop comprehensive guides, infographics, or tools that serve as valuable resources within your niche. These resources are more likely to attract backlinks as they provide substantial value to users and other websites seeking to inform their audience.

8. Utilize Social Proof

Display social share buttons on your blog posts to persuade readers to share it with their followers. If your content gains traction on social media platforms, it can catch the attention of websites looking for relevant content to link to.

Use tools like Google Search Console, Ahrefs, or Moz to track your backlinks. This will help you identify new opportunities, monitor the quality of existing backlinks, and quickly address any issues that may arise.

10. Avoid Black Hat Tactics

Avoid engaging in practices like buying backlinks or participating in link farms. Search engines penalize websites that use black hat tactics, which can result in a significant drop in rankings or even deindexing.


Backlinks are the backbone of SEO. They are not just about quantity but quality. Earning high-quality backlinks from authoritative sources can significantly impact your website’s search engine rankings, traffic, and overall success. Remember that building backlinks is a continuous process that requires dedication, patience, and a commitment to creating valuable content. You should implement the strategies outlined in this article to enhance your website’s authority, visibility, and SEO performance over time.

What is backlink in SEO with example?

An anchor text link from one website to another is referred to as a backlink in SEO. Any article that includes a link to another website or source is an example of a backlink. Examples of website backlinks can be found all over the internet, particularly on well-known blog sites that link to relevant information.

What are the three types of backlinks?

The three most common types of backlinks include dofollow, nofollow, and paid or sponsored links. Other SEO backlinks also include UGC links, editorially placed links, and link schemes.

How do backlinks improve SEO?

Backlinks are important for SEO as they increase the website’s authority and help in ranking higher for the target keywords in SERPs. Therefore, the higher backlinks a website has, the better it is for the website. However, the quality of the backlink matters more than the number of backlinks for any site.

What backlinks are best for SEO?

Dofollow backlinks are the best for your SEO strategy and hold high value. These links help in improving search engine rankings and also contribute to boosting domain authority for the website. 

How do I get an SEO backlink from high-authority sites?

The best way to get an SEO backlink on a website from high-authority sites is to write quality content that follows Google Helpful Content Guidelines. High-authority websites usually cite their sources, so if you can create unique and interesting blog posts, infographics, and videos, sites will be more inclined to link back to you. You can also link sources in your content to boost visibility.

About the author

I am an SEO Marketer with expertise in Link building, Auditing & Technical SEO, I have been helping startups and companies with their SEO needs for more than 6 years now. In my free time, you will find me playing cricket or reading something about financial literacy.

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