Understanding Backlinks

Understanding Backlinks

Backlinks are probably the most problematic and difficult part of SEO World.
If you’re reading this blog post, you either heard of it, tried to do something about it, or, like the majority of backlinks starters, failed at it. That’s okay; that’s the best way to learn.

Most online experts consider backlinks to be among the top three most important factors in SEO and online presence, and for good reason.
Unfortunately, everywhere you read something about it, this expert wrote about how to acquire them and how he made a fortune by connecting a few of them to rank his website first on Google.

Although some actually did it, and some hold the magic touch and knowledge on acquiring good, beneficial backlinks, most small sites can’t generate enough backlinks without merit. So, to make sense of it all, I will try to simplify the subject in simple words that hopefully will help you understand the world of backlinks.

What is a Backlink?

Simple, Straight Answer – Backlink is a hyperlink that directes from one online entity to another. Simple, right? Well, not that simple…

Backlinks come in many forms, shapes, hidden agendas, and tricks.
The most simplistic backlink will be as straightforward as it can be – You wrote a blog post on your website about something, and you wanted to share an example of someone else’s post, image or website, you will mark the content, create a link, and send readers over to see the example. Done.

To understand backlinks and to actually make them work in your favor, you should have a basic understanding of SEO and Domain Authority.

The idea behind backlinks is to build a better online authority/presence for your website. Because the ranking world is built into so many little bits of information that each will play a role in the end result, it’s important to pay attention to the details.

Each domain has a Domain Authority Score, which I covered in a recent post titled “How important is Domain Authority?

To be fair and honest with everyone, Google repeatedly stated that there is no actual algorithm for domain authority and that it’s not a ranking factor. See? An outgoing backlink to Search Engine Journal—they earned it.


When you want to build up your authority, it’s important (to a degree) that whoever links back to your website has at least the same authority score as you or higher.
There are four main players in the domain authority score, and each carries its unique score system: Ahrefs, MOZ, Majestic, and SEMRush.

These four companies have algorithms set to provide your site with an authority score, also known as DR (Domain Rating) / DA (Domain Authority). The score is calculated based on the number of links referring to your website. But it’s not that simple. There are the number of referring links compared to the number of referring domains, types of backlinks, and the average score of the domains referring to the site. On top of that, the links can carry authority or not based on “rel” options. (yes, it’s starting to get a bit complicated).

Whenever a site links to another site, it tells the crawler/search engine/system that it is “providing further evidence to his case” by adding an entity to the content. By doing so, it gives that site some authoritive value.

If we discuss a broad topic, for example, we can use day-to-day known brands to describe it.

You invite a painter to paint your house, and when you ask him what type of paint he will use, he will probably use a specific brand, not the color he will use, with an explanation of why this brand is better for him than others. This specific brand gives confidence that it’s a good-quality paint company. By doing so, the painter gives you peace of mind. What he actually did was give the brand more authority.

Now, let’s move to an online entity. You are a food blogger, and you have an amazing recipe for Baked Salmon.
In your recipe, there will be different spices and elements that your reader will need to use. If you are a start-up blogger, you will recommend your favorite spice and link to a place where your reader can purchase it to get the same cooking experience you shared. By linking to the spice product page, you are actually helping to promote the product. As you grow, some companies might even pay you to link to their products and get some commission, but that’s a story for affiliate marketing.

You can link to this specific product through a hyperlink in the text, through a button, display an image from another site on yours, or even a clickable image. Each one of those features will deliver a different value to the other site.

Every time you create a link to another website, you must add a few different features, which will determine the link’s value.
For example, you want to link to a specific product, like a spice your reader can purchase on another site. Still, you don’t want to give them anything more than a reference, or, if there is no value in the link, just for showing purposes, you can add a tag to the link “Rel=”nofollow” “, this will indicate to search engines and crawling systems that you do not want to make a recommendation towards this entity. The default value for a link, without any added attribution, will always be “Follow,” which means to give them credit/authority.

If you are building an affiliate website that will promote products that are not shopable on your website, Google asks the website owner to mark those links as affiliates. This part is a bit advanced and has a lot of opinions as to whether or not to follow Google’s best practices, so I will leave it at that.

So far, we have discussed the basic definition of a backlink. Now, we will discuss link values and entities in depth.

What Is A Backlink Profile?

What Is A Backlink Profile
Think of your website as a well-connected social network, and each link from another site to yours as a recommendation. Your backlink profile is essentially the sum of all these recommendations, forming a crucial aspect of your online reputation.

With careful work or SEO services from a dependable online marketing company, the right backlinks can help your site stand out from the competition! Here’s what to keep in mind:

Quality Over Quantity: It’s not just about the number of backlinks but their quality. High-quality backlinks from authoritative and relevant sites carry more weight than a multitude of low-quality ones.

Diversity Matters: A healthy backlink profile is diverse. Having links from various sources, including blogs, news articles, and industry websites, adds credibility and authority to your site.

Anchor Text Variation: The anchor text (the clickable text in a hyperlink) should also vary. Natural, diverse anchor text not only looks organic to search engines but also enhances user experience.

How Many Backlinks Do I Need?

How Many Backlinks Do I Need
The million-dollar question – how many backlinks do you actually need? Quality takes precedence over quantity, and the answer may vary depending on your industry and competition.

Aim for backlinks from websites that are relevant to your niche or industry. Quality, relevant links can have a more significant impact on your rankings.

Analyze your competitors. Understanding the backlink profiles of successful competitors can provide insights into the number and types of backlinks that may be beneficial for your own site.

Natural link growth is key. Rather than aiming for an arbitrary number, focus on creating high-quality, shareable content that naturally attracts links. This sustainable approach pays off in the long run.

Search engines value quality signals over quantity. A few high-quality backlinks from authoritative sites can have a more positive impact than numerous links from less reputable sources. Remember that understanding Google penalties or penalties other search engines place on sites with poor-quality backlinks is essential to making sure your page gets seen!

How To Manage Your Backlinks

Managing your backlinks is akin to maintaining a well-organized library – it enhances accessibility and ensures everything is in its right place. Here’s how to keep your backlinks in check:

Use Backlink Tools: Leverage backlink analysis tools to keep track of your link profile. Tools like Ahrefs, Moz, or SEMrush can provide valuable insights into the quantity, quality, and diversity of your backlinks.

Regularly Monitor New Links: Stay vigilant about new backlinks. Regularly monitor your backlink profile to identify and address any sudden spikes or questionable links that may arise.

Disavow Harmful Links: If you come across low-quality or spammy links that could potentially harm your site’s reputation, use the disavow tool provided by search engines to let them know you want to distance yourself from these links.

Update Broken Links: Ensure that your existing backlinks are functional. If any of the linking pages become unavailable or the link is broken, reach out to the website owner to request an update.

Build Relationships: Foster relationships with reputable websites in your industry. Establishing connections can lead to more organic backlinks and collaborations that benefit both parties.

What Is A Backlink Audit?

Imagine a spring cleaning for your website – that’s essentially what a backlink audit is. It involves a thorough examination of your existing backlink profile to identify, analyze, and clean up any potentially harmful or irrelevant links.

A backlink audit helps identify toxic links that can negatively impact your site’s SEO. These could include links from spammy sites, link farms, or those with a high spam score.

Analyzing the anchor text distribution in your backlink profile ensures that it appears natural to search engines. An overuse of exact-match anchor text can raise red flags.

Assess the overall quality of your backlinks. Focus on acquiring links from reputable, authoritative sites, and be cautious of links from sites with a poor reputation.

In some cases, a backlink audit may be prompted by a penalty from search engines. Identifying the cause of the penalty and rectifying it through link removal or disavowal is crucial.

Compliance with search engine guidelines is vital. Regular backlink audits ensure that your link profile aligns with the evolving standards set by search engines!

Understanding backlinks is a journey rather than a destination. It requires a combination of quality, relevance, and strategic management. By grasping the fundamentals of backlink profiles, efficiently managing your links, and conducting periodic audits, you can harness the power of backlinks to elevate your website’s online presence!

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