What Are Backlinks and Why Are They Important for SEO?

By: Beatrice Aranton


13 Dec 2023

What are backlinks and Why are They Important for SEO Banner

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plays a vital role in digital marketing. It involves various strategies and techniques aimed at improving a website’s visibility and rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs). One crucial aspect of SEO is backlinks, which are external links that point to a website. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the power of backlinks and their impact on SEO success.

In 2024, mCommerce sales will reach $543 billion, accounting for 40.4% of total eCommerce sales, according to Insider Intelligence. It follows that for online businesses, Shopify mobile optimisation is essential.


  1. Understanding Backlinks
  2. Importance of Backlinks in SEO
  3. Quality vs. Quantity: What Matters More?
  4. Strategies for Building Backlinks: Boost Your Website’s Authority
  5. Common Pitfalls to Avoid in Backlink Building
  6. Tools and Resources for Backlink Analysis
  7. How to use these tools to assess your backlink profile

Understanding Backlinks

In the ever-evolving world of search engine optimization (SEO), backlinks play a crucial role in determining a website’s authority. But what exactly are backlinks, and how do they impact a website’s ranking in search engine results?

backlinks illustration

To put it simply, backlinks are incoming links from one website to another. Also known as inbound links, they serve as a vote of confidence for the content found on the target website. Search engines like Google and Bing consider backlinks as indicators of a website’s popularity, trustworthiness, and overall authority. The more quality backlinks a website has, the higher its chances of ranking well in search engine results pages (SERPs).

The Different Types of Backlinks

Now, let’s delve into the different types of backlinks. One distinction to be made is between dofollow and nofollow backlinks.

Dofollow Links

dofollow link illustration

Dofollow links, as the name suggests, allow search engines to follow them and pass on link juice to the target website. These links are seen as endorsements and hold more weight in boosting a website’s authority.

Nofollow Links

nofollow link illustration

Conversely, nofollow links do not contribute to a website’s SEO directly. They include a rel=”nofollow” attribute within their HTML tag, signaling search engines not to consider them when calculating rankings. Despite this, nofollow links still have value as they can drive traffic to a website and support a natural backlink profile.

Importance of Backlinks in SEO

Backlinks are not just links; they are the backbone of SEO. A strong backlink profile is a cornerstone of a website’s success in search engine rankings. In the ever-evolving landscape of SEO, understanding the multifaceted role of backlinks is crucial. Let’s delve into why backlinks are important for SEO

One of the Key Ranking Signal

Backlinks serve as a key ranking signal for search engines. A link from another site is like a vote of confidence, signaling to search engines that your content is valuable, credible, and useful. High-quality backlinks from authoritative sites significantly boost your site’s visibility and ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Google Search Central Guide about PageRank

According to Google Search Central, PageRank is “one of our core ranking systems” and helps the search engine “understand how pages link to each other as a way to determine what pages are about and which might be most helpful in response to a query. PageRank, is a Google algorithm designed to rank web pages by analyzing the authority passed through links,

Good Source of Referral Traffic

Apart from SEO benefits, backlinks are an excellent source of consistent and targeted referral traffic. A well-placed backlink on a popular site can drive a steady stream of visitors to your site, enhancing your online presence and potentially leading to higher conversion rates.

Brian Dean's Skyscraper technique case study traffic increase demonstration

Brian Dean of Backlinko shared a link building case study where he increased his search traffic by 110% in 14 days. This increase was attributed to his use of “The Skyscraper Technique” for content marketing, which resulted in a significant rise in backlinks to a specific page. This not only boosted the organic search traffic to his entire site but also brought in more than two million referral visitors to his site so far

Helps Search Engines to Find New Pages

Search Engines Crawling and Indexing Process Illustration

Backlinks are essential for search engines in discovering new web pages. Search engines crawl the web by following links, and a backlink to your site can expedite this process. This is particularly beneficial for new or lesser-known websites, aiding in quicker indexing and visibility.

Increases Your Credibility and Authority

Backlinks from reputable websites contribute to the authority of your site. They act as an endorsement, enhancing your site’s credibility in the eyes of both users and search engines. A diverse backlink profile, with links from various trusted domains, is instrumental in building your site’s reputation and authority in your niche.

studies from ahrefs about links authority and credibility

Studies from ahrefs have shown a clear relationship between page-level authority and organic search engine traffic. This transfer of authority contributes to the overall perception of a website’s credibility, as links from authoritative sources are a strong indicator of the quality and reliability of the content on the receiving end​.

Quality vs. Quantity: What Matters More?

While the quantity of backlinks may seem important, it is the quality that truly matters. Acquiring high-quality backlinks from reputable websites is crucial for SEO success. These backlinks are harder to obtain but have a more substantial impact on search engine rankings.

On the other hand, low-quality or spammy backlinks can harm your website’s SEO efforts. These backlinks may come from link farms, paid link schemes, or irrelevant websites. Search engines penalize websites with such backlinks, potentially leading to lower rankings or even removal from search results.

Search Engine Land State of Backlinks Article

According to a Search Engine Land article, the effectiveness of backlinks in SEO has evolved, with a shift in focus from quantity to quality. Modern search engines, using advanced algorithms and artificial intelligence, now evaluate backlinks based on factors like the relevance of the linking website, the appropriateness of the anchor text, and the authority of the linking domain. Consequently, having numerous backlinks is insufficient for enhancing a website’s ranking; it’s essential that these backlinks are high-quality and originate from credible sources. This change highlights the diminished importance of backlinks in SEO compared to earlier practices, underlining the need for website owners to prioritize creating quality, relevant content that naturally attracts organic backlinks from trustworthy websites.

Striking the Right Balance

To strike the right balance between quality and quantity, it is important to focus on building a natural and diversified backlink profile. Seek opportunities to acquire high-quality backlinks through guest blogging, influencer partnerships, or content marketing campaigns. Additionally, regularly monitor your backlink profile and disavow any low-quality or spammy backlinks to maintain a healthy website reputation.

Strategies for Building Backlinks: Boost Your Website’s Authority

Backlinks are an essential component of SEO and play a crucial role in determining the authority and visibility of your website. A solid backlink profile can significantly improve your website’s search rankings and drive organic traffic. Here are effective strategies for building backlinks, tips on earning backlinks naturally, and common pitfalls to avoid.

Overview of Effective Backlink-Building Strategies

Guest Blogging

Guest Blogging

One of the most popular and effective ways to build backlinks is through guest blogging. Find reputable websites in your niche that accept guest posts and offer to provide high-quality, informative articles. In return, ensure that they allow you to include a link back to your website. Guest posting not only helps you acquire backlinks but also establishes you as an expert in your field.

Broken Link Building

Broken Link Building

This strategy involves finding broken links on other websites and reaching out to the website owner or webmaster to suggest replacing those links with yours. You can search for broken links using various online tools or browser extensions. This strategy provides a win-win situation, as website owners can fix their broken links, and you can gain valuable backlinks.

Resource Link Building

Resource Link Building

Creating and promoting high-quality resources is another effective backlink-building strategy. Develop comprehensive guides, tutorials, or industry reports that provide valuable information to your target audience. Reach out to relevant websites or bloggers and offer them your resource as a useful addition to their articles or resource pages, along with a link back to your website.

Tips on How to Earn Backlinks Naturally

Produce Engaging and Shareable Content

The most effective way to earn backlinks naturally is by consistently producing high-quality, engaging content that people naturally want to link to. Create unique, informative, and visually appealing content that provides a solution, sparks curiosity, or entertains your target audience. Valuable content is more likely to be shared and linked to by other websites.

Network with Influencers in Your Industry

Building relationships with influencers and thought leaders in your niche can lead to natural backlinks. Engage with their content, share their posts, and provide valuable comments. As you build a rapport, they may naturally start to mention or link to your content.

Utilize Social Media and Online Communities

Leverage social media platforms and online communities to promote your content and engage with your target audience. Sharing valuable content on platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, or Reddit can increase the chances of it being shared and linked to by others.

Using Press Releases

Press releases can be an effective way to get backlinks, especially when you have newsworthy content or announcements. Distributing press releases through reputable channels can lead to your content being picked up by various news outlets and industry-specific websites, often resulting in quality backlinks.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid in Backlink Building

Buying Backlinks

Purchasing backlinks from dubious sources is a common pitfall that must be avoided at all costs. Search engines can easily detect paid links and penalize your website, negatively impacting your search rankings.

Low-Quality and Irrelevant Backlinks

Acquiring backlinks from low-quality or irrelevant websites can harm your website’s authority and credibility. Focus on obtaining high-quality backlinks from reputable websites that are relevant to your niche. Quality is more important than quantity in the world of backlinks.

Neglecting Backlink Profile Analysis

Regularly monitoring and analyzing your backlink profile is crucial to identify any harmful or toxic backlinks. Use tools like Google Search Console, Ahrefs, or Moz to keep track of your backlinks and disavow any toxic links to protect your website’s reputation.

Building a solid backlink profile takes time and effort, but the benefits are well worth it. Adopting effective backlink-building strategies, earning backlinks naturally through valuable content and relationships, and avoiding common pitfalls will help improve your website’s authority and boost your organic search rankings.

Tools and Resources for Backlink Analysis

In the vast universe of search engine optimization (SEO), backlinks hold a special place of importance. They are the building blocks that form the foundation of a website’s authority and rankings. As such, understanding and analyzing one’s backlink profile is crucial for any website owner or SEO professional. Thankfully, there are numerous tools and resources available to make this task easier.


Backlinks analysis tool - Moz

One of the most well-known and widely used tools for backlink analysis is Moz. Moz offers a comprehensive suite of tools that aid in understanding a website’s backlink profile. The Open Site Explorer tool, for instance, allows users to enter a website URL and retrieve a detailed report of its backlink profile. The report provides valuable information, such as the total number of links, the domain authority of linking sites, and spam score. By analyzing these metrics, website owners can gain insights into the quality and relevance of the backlinks their site has acquired.


Backlinks analysis tool - SEMrush

Another prominent tool for backlink analysis is SEMrush. SEMrush offers a variety of features to evaluate a website’s backlink profile. With their Backlink Analytics tool, users can view a detailed report of a website’s backlinks, including important metrics like the number of referring domains, anchor text distribution, and the geographic distribution of backlinks. This information can help website owners identify areas of improvement and develop a backlink strategy to boost their rankings.


Backlinks analysis tool - Ahrefs

Ahrefs is another highly regarded tool in the SEO community for backlink analysis. It’s known for its vast index of live backlinks and powerful capabilities in backlink research. Ahrefs allows users to see the websites linking to their site, the quality of these backlinks, and how they contribute to the website’s overall SEO performance. Its Site Explorer feature provides an in-depth look at a site’s backlink profile, including new, lost, and broken backlinks. Ahrefs also offers insights into competitors’ backlink strategies, enabling users to benchmark their performance and identify opportunities for improvement.


Backlinks analysis tool - Majestic

Majestic is a specialized tool focusing exclusively on backlinks and offers unique features like “Citation Flow” and “Trust Flow.” These metrics provide an understanding of the volume and quality of backlinks pointing to a website. Citation Flow predicts the influence of a URL based on the number of sites linked to it, while Trust Flow indicates the trustworthiness based on the quality of these links. Majestic’s detailed backlink database helps users explore their website’s link profile, identify authoritative backlinks, and pinpoint toxic or spammy links for disavowal.

How to use these tools to assess your backlink profile

So, how can these tools be used to assess your backlink profile effectively? Firstly, it is essential to enter your website’s URL into the respective tool and retrieve a comprehensive report. This report will provide an overview of your backlinks, including the number of backlinks, referring domains, and anchor text distribution.

Example from ahrefs:

 Verz Design's backlink profile

By examining these metrics, you can assess the overall health of your backlink profile. A high number of quality backlinks from diverse domains, coupled with well-distributed anchor text, is a positive indicator of a healthy backlink profile.

However, it is not enough to merely obtain the data. Interpreting the data is key to taking actionable steps toward improving your backlink profile. For instance, if your report indicates a low number of backlinks or referring domains, it may be time to focus on link-building activities. Guest posting, creating high-quality content, and reaching out to authoritative websites in your niche can all help attract valuable backlinks. Conversely, if your anchor text distribution is heavily skewed towards a particular keyword, it might be wise to diversify and include variations to avoid potential penalties from search engines.

Additionally, backlink analysis tools can help identify and address potentially harmful backlinks. Links from spammy or low-quality websites can have a detrimental impact on your website’s authority and rankings. By monitoring your backlink profile regularly, you can identify and disavow such toxic links, protecting your website’s reputation.


Backlinks are a crucial component of successful SEO strategies. They contribute to a website’s authority, influence search engine rankings, and drive organic traffic. By understanding the importance of backlinks, the different types, and the impact they have on SEO, you can unlock SEO success and improve your website’s visibility in search engine results. Remember, quality should always come before quantity when it comes to obtaining backlinks for sustainable long-term SEO success.

If you think you need assistance with your website, think about working with Verz Design for professional SEO consulting services. Contact [email protected] or phone 6841 1680 to arrange a free consultation right now!

Share to:

Starting your digital journey with us

With our 13 years proven digital results, we are here to help with your online business success.

Unsubscribe anytime.