How Important Are Backlinks to SEO in 2023?
Backlinks play an important role in your search engine optimization. They provide several indicators of your website’s reliability, industry knowledge, and trust levels. Earning quality backlinks takes time, though it is worth all the investment you give because backlinks improve your SEO authority, which can help your business’s site rank for more competitive keywords.
But how important are backlinks to SEO, really? Keep reading to find out!
What Are Backlinks?
So, what are backlinks, anyway? Before we explore why backlinks are important, let’s first define the term. A backlink – “inbound” and “incoming” links – is where one website includes a hyperlink to a different website.
How do you earn a backlink? This is part of what’s known as off-page search engine optimization (SEO). There are several ways you can obtain backlinks:
- Natural backlinks: This link is given to you by another website. The copywriter might have found your copy, product or service and realized its correlation to their topic, then decided to include a link to one of your pages.
- Manual backlinks: These links are the ones you ask others for. You can speak to customers, clients or influencers to promote your content in this scenario.
- Self-made backlinks: For this type of backlink, you delve into directories, blog comments or forums to add a backlink to yourself. Backlinks obtained this way are less valuable than either of the other methods and can negatively affect your SEO.
How Important Are Backlinks? 5 Ways Backlinks Can Boost SEO
Why are backlinks important for SEO? If someone on the internet links to your page, you have likely produced some relevant content or have a reliable product or service. Search engines like Google recognize the validity of backlinks, too.
Let’s explore five more benefits that show why backlinks are important below!
1. Earn Trust
Backlinks help tell search engines that you are trustworthy. If you earn backlinks from highly respected, authoritative websites, your website’s value can increase according to the search engine, leading to higher rankings.
2. Rank on Results Pages
A direct result of earning search-engine trust can be improved search engine results page (SERP) rankings.
If you earn enough backlinks from reputable websites, Google can evaluate your website as worthy of ranking higher on SERPs. The main goal of the results pages is to help the searcher find relevant content or the best answers to their question. Backlinks can help search engines understand the validity of what you say, influencing where your pages go in the rankings.
Backlinks are only one piece of the ranking algorithm, so you still need to engage in other SEO best practices for optimal results.
3. Build Authority
One of your primary goals should be to increase your page authority. Backlinks can help you do that. When you earn the trust of other businesses, it can lead to more confidence from the search engine. You can rank higher on the SERPs if you have the right backlinks and follow other SEO techniques.
Put all of these together, and you’re starting to build some page authority. The higher you rank and the more websites backlink to you, the more likely Google and your audience will trust you for their search queries.
4. Increase Brand Awareness
When readers see links to your website on a page they have decided to trust, they will be more likely to click on your page. Those readers – who may not have any prior knowledge of you – then land on the linked page and can learn more about your company.
More links to your page provides more opportunities for people to discover your content and engage with your website, leading to more potential conversions.
5. Get More Backlinks
One of the greatest benefits of backlinks is that they allow you to get more backlinks. When you start getting backlinks from websites with established authority and popularity, it can lead to even more links.
For example, if someone conducts research for a blog and chooses a reliable source from the first results page, they could see a link to your page from that point. They will probably trust the results of Google’s first page, so they may be more likely to click the link to your website and see the valuable information you’ve shared. Then, they may choose to backlink to you because another page helped boost your reliability through a backlink.
Gaining Backlinks to Rank Higher
As previously mentioned, search engines look at numerous factors when determining where to rank a particular page. You have to maintain a delicate balance between quality and quantity when it comes to backlinks.
Search engines do not favor websites with an excessive number of backlinks. It can look like spam when you have hundreds or thousands of backlinks. Google’s algorithm ignores pages with spammy backlinks because it is clear the content is likely, not valuable.
However, the number of backlinks can make a difference when it comes to keywords. If you’re trying to rank for a keyword used by businesses all over your industry, it will take many backlinks to make a difference – along with all your other SEO tactics.
Backlink numbers also depend on how much authority you and your competitors already have. Getting backlinks from low- and medium-authority websites will be much simpler than getting backlinks from high-authority pages.
You have to find a balance between quality and quantity. More backlinks can help you rank higher faster, though it can also be damaging. Quality backlinks take a longer time to establish, but yield more favorable results.
Ready to check the strength of your backlink profile? Get an instant breakdown of your SEO score — including a metric on incoming links — with our free SEO checker.
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