SEO Backlinks Explained

A backlink is a link from one website to another. The term “backlink” is commonly used when discussing links pointing to a particular website. These links, also referred to as inbound links, come from external websites.

If you put a link on your site to another site, this may be referred to as an external link. This external link is considered a backlink for the webmaster or owner of the website you are linking to.

The Significance of Backlinks in SEO

  • Backlinks are one of the critical ranking factors that Google and other search engines use to determine whether a particular website is trustworthy and relevant.
  • Backlinks are often referred to as “votes” or “signals” from other sites.
  • Having high-quality, relevant backlinks can increase the likelihood of your webpage or content showing up in organic search results, as it indicates to Google that the content is providing value to the end user.
  • When search engines notice several trustworthy websites pointing to a specific page (whether it’s an article, blog, image, or video), it increases the likelihood that this page will come up for search terms related to its topic.
  • Not all backlinks are created equal. As Google’s algorithm develops and updates, it has become savvier in identifying high-quality, authoritative, and trustworthy content. For example, a link from The New York Times has a better backlink authority than a link from a recently created website with a smaller domain history and quality content.

Backlink Profile

Backlink profile is a term often used to describe the overall view of a website’s backlink health. There are several factors that influence a site’s backlink profile. Each link within your backlink profile has several attributes that determine its overall quality and usefulness to your website’s performance.

Common Backlink Terminology

We know backlinks can seem confusing. Further breaking down the elements of a backlink sounds even more intimidating, but it’s quite simple. That’s why we’ve provided a list of common terms involving backlinks to help you get more comfortable with the technical terminology. These include the following:

NoFollow vs. DoFollow: This refers to a very simple HTML attribute associated with the a href tag that links the web page. By default, all hyperlinks follow a “DoFollow” approach unless explicitly specified. (DoFollow is not a tag that Google recognizes or uses as a directive.)

NoFollow Links: NoFollow Links aren’t very useful in determining and influencing the ranking of a webpage. NoFollow linking is typically followed by social media posts, where users try to spam the number of backlinks. The only advantage of such NoFollow backlinks is that some users are likely to click and bring traffic to the website. Search engines other than Google may also consider some weight of these backlinks in their webpage indexing.

DoFollow: Search engines follow the DoFollow links on external websites, making it a good way to expose your own webpages. Such links also carry the domain authority or domain rating of the referring domain and will influence the ranking of your webpages. Domain authority or domain rating are measured on a scale of 0-100, with a higher number indicating a better domain.

Anchor Text: The display text used for hyperlinks is called the anchor text. It’s recommended to have unique or relevant anchor text for backlinks whenever possible.  For backlinks directing to your site, this may not be something you have control over. However, it is a factor you want to monitor when reviewing the health of your backlink profile. It can also be useful in identifying potentially toxic links.

When searching for potential link building opportunities from competitors, you can use anchor text to find specific websites to reach out to. Currently, our preferred way of link building is to develop high-quality content that will naturally build links over time. If you create content people want to link to, your backlink profile will strengthen organically over time. This will help your website rank for particular keywords and avoid penalties from Search Engines.

What does your own website’s backlink profile look like? Analyze the quality of your site’s backlinks and 60+ other SEO factors with our LXRSEO tool.