A few of our current & potential clients have asked us why backlinks are important for SEO. So, we’ll explain what a backlink is first, then why they’re important for SEO.
A backlink is a link from one website to another. For example, this link is a backlink to the Bing search engine from our website, viztvmedia.com.
The following link for VizTV Media Services is not a backlink because it doesn’t “link back” or “link to” another website but links to our home page. That kind of link is referred to as an internal link.
A Link Back (or a backlink) is a Vote of Confidence
In general, folks won’t link to a website unless it provides some form of value. Be it a link from a social share, an embedded link on a website, a link embedded in a PDF hosted online, or a link from a video description; backlinks are usually embedded to add context to a discussion, provide more information, refer or “link back” to the original information source or a source for more information on a given topic. Backlinks help add to “the discussion.” Thus, the value of backlinks and why they’re a serious matter in the eyes of search engines.
For all the reasons previously outlined, for DuckDuckGo, Google, Bing, and other search engines, backlinks are a heavily weighted factor when determining the credibility of a website. The assumption is that a site with lots of backlinks from other websites must be relevant. This “assumption” is the basis of search engine ranking algorithms and one of the main reasons why backlinks are essential. However, all backlinks are not created equal.
High Quality vs. Low-Quality Backlinks
In general, all backlinks are valuable, but some more than others. The credibility of the backlinking site will largely determine the value of the backlink.
For example, a backlink to VizTV Media Services from an authoritative property like CNN, FOX News, or Microsoft’s website will provide far more credibility or “link juice” (more on link juice in the next section) than a backlink from a Tumblr post, a new blog a from a small business, or any web property of lesser authority.
However, a backlink from a smaller site that’s relevant to VizTV Media Services might be better than a backlink from one of the previously mentioned “authoritative websites.” With that said, if CNN, Fox News, or Microsoft’s website had a section with information relevant to the services we provide, then I’d take the link from them as opposed to the smaller more relevant site. (Well … To be honest, I’d get them both.)
The Nature of Backlinks
As we mentioned earlier, a backlink is like a vote of confidence from one website to another. However, all backlinks aren’t equal. Let’s discuss the term “linkjuice.”
In this example, we’ll assume that the VizTV Media Services website is a bucket filled with juice. And, we poke a hole in the side of the bucket, causing juice to trickle out and drip down the line into another bucket. Thus, causing this other bucket to gain juice from VizTV’s bucket.
The hole in the example outlined above is a metaphorical link from one bucket (or website) to another. The juice leaking from one bucket to another is what we refer to as linkjuice but should be interpreted as “authority.” So, the more “authoritative” a website, the more valuable its linkjuice, which translates to more authority to the recipient or “the site being linked to.”
To make sense of it all, search engine robots assume that a site with lots of backlinks from trustworthy sources must be reliable and an “authority” on the topic or industry. This is a valuable tool to help search engines rank websites that might be useful to their users. In a limited nutshell, this is how one of the main search engine ranking factors work, and the reason (good) backlinks are so valuable. This is especially true for backlinks from authoritative websites like Microsoft.com, Amazon.com, Adobe.com (which we can get), and others.
However, there are ways to link from one site to another without leaking linkjuice.
Back to the Nature of Backlinks
Now that we understand linkjuice, we can discuss the nature of backlinks. Not all backlinks provide linkjuice. There are methods of linking to another website without giving them a vote of confidence.
Let me explain.
Deep within the HTML code of a hypertext link is the option to tag a link with a “rel=nofollow” tag. A link with such a tag is referred to as a no-follow link, while links lacking the tag are called regular links or “do follow” links.
So-called “do follow” links are default and represent over 90% of backlinks on the interwebs. Anytime a website links to another website with no-follow tags, it means that it’s a specific action for a particular link or a global website policy because by default, backlinks are “do-follow.”
Special Note: No Follow tagging tells search engine spiders not to crawl back to the website being linked to. If for whatever reason, you need to link to bad neighborhoods like gambling sites, XXX sites, or websites that fight or promote extreme wokeness, and you don’t want to give them linkjuice, a “vote of confidence,” or help their SEO by helping them rank, a rel=nofollow tag might be due. Also, Google policies demand that affiliate links be no-followed. Additionally, websites that don’t want to leak any linkjuice at all might nofollow all outbound links to other websites.
So, just because a person has a link from Microsoft.com or another highly authoritative website doesn’t mean it’ll pass linkjuice or do them any good.
Does this mean a nofollow link from Microsoft.com is not valuable?
Asking me the manner in which I’d prefer a backlink from a super-power of a web property like a Microsoft.com is kinda like asking me the manner in which I’d like to take ownership of ten million free dollars; I’ll take it any way I can get it.
FYI: We get links from our clients from Microsoft.com (and others) ALL THE TIME that don’t have the “no follow” tag. … Not bragging, Just speaking the truth.
Why Are Backlinks Important for SEO?
We already touched on it.
- Backlinks Imply Trust.
- Backlinks Imply Credibility.
- Relevant Backlinks Imply Authority on a Subject.
- Backlinks are the fundamental basis of the internet.
- Backlinks are one of the fundamentals of SEO.
Backlinks are a key factor in why some websites are on the first page of Google for terms related to their market while others are not. If you have a quality website with a plan to develop quality backlinks, getting through the competition to the top of Google for a search phrase that’ll make money for you is within your reach.
Are backlinks the only search engine ranking factor?
No, but they’re in the top 5 or 10 of 150+ ranking factors.
Fun Facts About Backlinks
(Some already covered.)
- All backlinks are not equal.
- Two backlinks from the same site could have a different impact on the target website.
- Not all backlinks are good, and some should be avoided.
- Backlinks can have hidden tags embedded within them.
- Backlinks can be embedded in images.
- Broken backlinks can be a problem that needs to be resolved either at the source or the recipient.
- Backlinks are major SEO & Search engine ranking factor.
- A website does not need backlinks to rank in Google.
- Some backlinks are easy to secure, while others are harder.
- Some backlinks can be purchased on the cheap, while others are expensive.
- It’s against Google’s policy to intentionally develop backlinks or to attempt to rank a website.
- Backlinks are associated with the hosting website’s IP.
- Bad backlinks can result in a website being scrubbed (de-indexed) from search engines.
Looking for an SEO Company in Texas?
If you have any questions about SEO, a link-building campaign, or even if you’re an SEO seeking an audit of your backlinking strategy, don’t hesitate to reach out to VizTV Media Services for help. Call us at 713-443-7578 or send us a message via contact form. In any case, thanks for reading and good luck!