What is a Backlink? How to Get More Backlinks

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Links between pages on different websites are known as backlinks. The individual who links to your website has given it a backlink. You provide a backlink to another website whenever you connect to it.

In this guide, you’ll learn:

SIDENOTE.

 If one page links to another on the same website, that’s known as an internal backlink.

New to link building? Check out our

Beginner’s guide to link building

Why are backlinks important?

Backlinks help with three main things.

1. Rankings

Backlinks are seen as endorsements by Google and other search engines. Generally speaking, your web pages are more likely to rank for relevant search queries the more votes they receive.

How are we cognizant? One of the link-based ranking factors we’ve examined on numerous occasions, the number of backlinks from different websites (referred domains), has a strong correlation with organic search traffic.

2. Discoverability

Search engines locate fresh content by visiting previously visited pages again to seek for new links.

Search engines may find your content more rapidly if you receive backlinks from popular pages since they revisit popular pages more often than unpopular ones.

3. Referral traffic

Backlinks are labels for links that go to relevant websites. This enables clicking on them.

Every time someone clicks on a link to your website, you get referral traffic.

What makes a good backlink?

Not all backlinks are created equal. Here are just a few of the several elements that make a backlink valuable and of high caliber.

Relevance

Relevant backlinks are given more weight by Google since they are more likely to be clicked. In their patent for the “decent surfer,” they talk about this.

What does this mean in reality? If a plumber receives backlinks from both a boiler installation page and a page about cats, the latter is probably going to be more beneficial.

This idea is also demonstrated at the domain level.

Readers of plumbing.com are more likely to click on a link to a plumber’s website than readers of cats.com.

Authority

Through backlinks, strong web pages typically express more “authority” than weak ones.

We’ve taken a closer look at page-level authority and found that there is a significant relationship between it and organic traffic.

SIDENOTE.

URL Rating is the page-level authority metric used by Ahrefs (UR).

However, not every backlink from a reputable page has more authority.

According to Google’s original patent, every outbound link on a web page has the same authority. If you have backlinks from two pages, but one of them has more external links than the other, the link from the page with fewer outbound links will thus have more weight.

Are things today truly that simple? Probably not. A substantial number of Google patents describe various methods for valuing backlinks.

Internal backlinks also increase a page’s authority.

FURTHER READING

Traffic

Backlinks from high-traffic pages often result in more referral traffic than backlinks from low-traffic pages. This much is obvious. The real question is whether links from popular pages affect rankings more favorably than links from less well-known ones.

We have recently tried to answer this question. For 44,589 non-branded terms, we looked at the organic traffic to the pages that connect to the first-page rankings.

What we discovered is as follows:

Quick version: Although weakly associated, rankings and backlinks from pages with organic search traffic are clearly related. It seems that page-level authority and the sheer number of backlinks coming from different websites (referring domains) are more important, nevertheless.

Placement

Since individuals are more likely to click on links that are prominently displayed, certain links on web pages undoubtedly carry more authority than others.

Bill Slawski talks about this in his analysis of Google’s amended “reasonable surfer” patent.

If you’re looking for links, keep this in mind. If it’s probable that your link will appear in the website’s footer or in the sidebar with fifty other websites, put your work into other opportunities.

Followed vs. nofollowed

Nofollowed backlinks normally don’t impact the rankings of the linked page, while they occasionally do.

Due to the time and effort required for link creation, it is crucial to place the highest priority on gaining followed connections. In the event that you get a nofollowed link, just be silent. For SEO, it might still be helpful.

Recommended reading: What Is a Nofollow Link? Everything You Need to Know

Anchor text

“Anchor text” refers to the words that can be clicked to establish a backlink.

In their initial patent, Google asserts that anchor text has an impact on rankings.

Google uses a number of techniques to improve search quality, including page rank, anchor text, and proximity information.

Despite this, there was little correlation between anchor text and rankings across 384,614 pages.

Consequently, even though anchor text is important, other aspects are more important.

SIDENOTE.

If you’re gaining backlinks through outreach, you won’t often have much control over the anchor text used to link to your website. That is beneficial. It keeps things organic and highlights the excellent quality of the link you have obtained.

How to check backlinks

There are two ways to look at a website’s or web page’s backlinks. The first method can only be applied to websites that you own. With the second, look for links to other websites or web pages.

Checking backlinks in Google Search Console

Google Search Console may provide you with data on the effectiveness and volume of organic search traffic to your website. To use your website for free, just create a free account and verify your ownership.

After signing in, click “Links” in the sidebar.

The value under “External links” is the total number of unique backlinks to the website.

Below this are three reports.

  • Top linked pages: The most linked pages on your website.
  • Top linking sites: The sites with the most backlinks to your website.
  • Top linking text: The most frequently used anchors when linking to your website.

Checking backlinks using a third-party backlink checker

Examine the backlinks to a website you do not manage using a tool like the free Ahrefs backlink checker.

After inputting a domain or URL, click “Check backlinks.”

Along with the total number of backlinks and referring domains, the top 100 backlinks are also shown (links from other websites).

For each backlink, you’ll see a few details, including:

  • Referring page: The page linking to the target.
  • Domain Rating (DR): The strength of the linking website.
  • URL Rating (UR): The strength of the linking web page.
  • Traffic: The total estimated monthly organic search traffic to the linking page.
  • Anchor and backlink. The anchor and surrounding link text.

SIDENOTE.

Our free backlink analyzer only shows one backlink per domain.

To see which five anchors are used the most, look at the “Top 5 anchors” report.

To find the five pages with the most links, look at the “Top 5 pages” report.

SIDENOTE.

Only when a domain is being looked at, not a web page, does the Top 5 pages report work.

To see the full list of backlinks for any page or website, use Ahrefs Site Explorer.

How to get more backlinks

There are three ways to get more backlinks: create them, earn them, or build them.

Earning backlinks

This happens when visitors choose to link to your page after discovering your content on social media, search engines like Google, or by word of mouth. Therefore, earned backlinks are natural.

You might improve your chances of gaining more backlinks by creating extremely useful content that others would like to connect to.

Creating backlinks

At this step, you manually add links to your website from other websites. Adding your business to online directories, leaving comments on blogs, and taking part in forum conversations are a few examples.

Building backlinks

The time has come to request links to your page from other website owners, editors, or webmasters. For this to work, your value proposition must be unmistakable. Link-building tactics are applied in this case.

Here are a few tried and tested ones:

Guest blogging: Offer to write a one-off post for another website.

Broken link building: Find relevant dead links on other sites, then reach out and suggest your working link as the replacement. (You can use our broken link checker to do this.)

The Skyscraper Technique: Find relevant content with lots of links, make something better, then ask those linking to the original to link to you instead.

Unlinked mentions: Find unlinked mentions of your brand, then ask the author to make the mention clickable.

Learn more about these tactics and others in the video and posts below.

FURTHER READING

Final thoughts

Backlinks are essential for ranking in search engines like Google. But not all backlinks are created equal. The usefulness and quality of a link are influenced by its placement, relevancy, and other elements.

A link’s value decreases generally with ease of acquisition.

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By MuhammadJunaid

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