What are Backlinks? Here’s a Quick Guide…

Web Goddess Blog

by | 16 Jan 2023 | SEO Tips

Backlink Basics

Backlinks are simply a link from one website to another. In terms of your own website, these are links from external sites that link directly to specific pages on your website via an image or anchor text.

For example, here is a backlink to the Web Goddess website from a StartUps article we featured in back in July 2022:

Example of a backlink from Startups website to Web Goddess

So why are Backlinks important?

When you have a link from another website to your own, it shows authority. It means that there is value in linking to your website from another site on the web and gives search engines a reason to look at your own site as adding value and being credible.

The more backlinks you have from other credible sources, the higher your own site will rank on search engine results pages (SERPs).

Are all Backlinks Useful?

Well, no. And this is where it can get tricky. For a backlink to be valuable for your website you need to make sure that it comes from a trusted source – a website that also holds authority. This is known as Domain Authority.

Google and other search engines rank websites based on the quality of information that is shared on the site as well as other sites that link to them (amongst thousands of other metrics), so it pays to be picky about which websites backlink to your own.

Unfortunately, there are many companies that will offer to sell you hundreds of backlinks but the sites these are usually connected to are next to useless. In fact, by associating with these websites you could be reducing your own domain authority and not improving it!

When creating and sourcing backlinks, make sure that the source website is:

  • Trustworthy & Authoritative – does it meet your own expectations as a website user? Do you want to be associated with it? Having random links from list-type websites is not going to help anything but your backlink count.
  • Aligned with your business – if you have a financial consulting company and your site appears on a bridal boutique store website the connection is not obvious. Look for websites that are aligned with but do something slightly different to your own business. e.g. financial consulting and Will writing would make far more sense.
  • Offering ‘DoFollow’ links – backlinks are only useful for your own SEO when they are ‘DoFollow’ links. Many sites, especially directories or membership sites, will link to your website but in the form of ‘NoFollow’ links. These will still lead people to your website, but do not help your SEO.


Backlinks - difference between DoFollow and NoFollow links to the Web Goddess website

The graphic above shows the distribution of DoFollow v NoFollow backlinks to our own Web Goddess website (at January 2023). Data from SE Ranking software.

How do you get Backlinks?

Gaining good backlinks takes time and effort. There is no quick way of gaining hundreds of backlinks that is not associated with ‘black hat’ techniques – so if someone offers to do this for you please think carefully about the quality of sites they may be offering.

There are many ways to build backlinks, but here are my favourite 3:

1. Detailed Blog Posts

You know your own business and industry like the back of your hand, right? Why not write blog posts on your own website about what you know? Once you have written your post, do a search on that topic and see what other websites have to say about it. If their own posts contain links to posts that are outdated or no longer exist, you have a reason to contact them and ask if they would link to your updated article instead.

If you have written a well-structured and informative piece then you may get a link to your content for your trouble, but be prepared to email or contact many website owners for this as you can often be ignored or rejected, especially as you are building your own authority on a subject.

2. Infographics

Sharing infographics that summarise data in an easy-to-digest way can be a great way of getting links back to your website.

Do you have a new take on an existing issue, statistics you can share in a different way, or can you put some ‘top tips’ into a graphic? If it is part of a blog post then all the better!

Whichever type of infographic you create, ensure that it matches your branding and can be recognised instantly when shared to different platforms.

3. Guest Posting

Approach people within a similar industry to your own or business networks to offer to write a guest blog post for them.

Writing a guest post helps you with a link back to your own website, but it can also help the website owner as they can deliver more value to their own audience and it allows them to add interesting content to their site at the same time.

Just make sure you get that backlink!


Infographic: How many websites are created around the world each day?

In Summary

Gaining quality backlinks is not something that happens overnight, but with a good strategy in place and a willingness to ask for backlinks in return for your expertise, you can organically build external links to your website and build your website authority.

Be bold and notice those opportunities to share your voice when the arise!


Say hello to Holly Hinton aka the Web Goddess
About the Author

Holly Hinton, aka the Web Goddess, has over 20 years experience in the IT World. She loves translating technobabble and demystifying SEO for small business owners.  Connect with Holly on LinkedIn.


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