What is Backlinking?

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By Vijay Singh Khatri

You’re going to miss out on a lot if you don’t succeed in getting your webpage on top of the search engine results page (SERP). When a user conducts a relevant keyword search, low-ranking websites are largely left behind in terms of traffic. According to several sources on the Internet, the websites listed on the first SERP snatch away as much as 42% of the total traffic for that particular keyword. The second page receives only half of that, and so on and so forth. To be honest, missing out on such a huge margin is a lot of loss!

Evidently, your website must be among the initial few results a user sees on search engines. This will ensure that it gets greater credibility and trust, both of which are important factors in attracting increased prospects and revenues. But getting to the top means outranking the competition, and for that, you need to master SEO practices. Among such practices, Google gives high weightage to website speed, bounce rates, and number of backlinks.

Backlinks are a great way to get your webpage on a higher search engine index. Simply understood as targets for citations, they’re vital for SEO since search engines consider them as votes of confidence and proof that your content is unique and credible. A search engine will surface your content more often if a large number of websites backlink to your page, enhancing your rankings for the relevant keyword.

The term “backlink” is commonly used in the realm of SEO, but people who’ve just entered the world of blogging may find it difficult to understand what it means. That’s why we’ve put together this article so that by the end of it, you can have a clearer picture of what exactly backlinks are and why they are crucial for SEO.

What are Backlinks and Why are they Important?

Inbound links or incoming links to a webpage are generally known as backlinks. A backlink interconnects one or more web pages.

Backlinks are among the most important factors in determining a webpage’s position on the search engine index. Most search engines, including Google, incline towards a webpage that has a lot of backlinks as compared to those which don’t have a significant amount of backlinks.

To understand what backlinks are, consider this scenario. If a website’s content contains some information, say related to dental treatments, and that website cites an article from another source like NCBI or Healthline, the citation is regarded as a backlink to that source. Hence, a backlink is a vote of credibility and trust between two websites. Not only does it benefit the website visitor with more in-depth information on the topic, but it also helps the source website establish authority across the Internet and rank high on search engines.

To put it plainly, backlinks incoming to your webpage are essentially a signal to web crawlers that people approve, support, and encourage your content. When many websites are backlinking to the same site, search engines get a signal that the information on that site is worthwhile connecting to, and hence worth displaying on the SERP.

Now imagine how much your website would benefit if a number of other websites backlinked to it!

The Good, the Bad, and the Grey Backlinks

Good Backlinks

An appropriate outbound link to a trustworthy, reputable site is a good backlink. A website is normally regarded as credible if it has verified and proveable information that has been cited by several other websites. Incoming citations are one of many ways for Google to verify that a site includes useful and high-quality content.

Backlinks must improve the reader’s experience, not just take up space and act as an SEO parameter. They must be relevant to the content in which they appear, and provide additional detail into the topic. They’re useless if they go to totally irrelevant websites.

Bad Backlinks

Don’t believe marketers who tell you that all backlinks are great, because search engines prioritize quality over quantity. They monitor and evaluate backlinks to identify potentially spammy practices.

Here are a few red flags that indicate a set of backlinks is unreliable.

  • They’re all from the same website:

The cliché “variety is the spice of life” might not always apply to backlinks, but it’s a motto that one can use here. When a website seems to have a lot of backlinks but practically all of them originate from the same source, search engines will consider it as spam. Building powerful backlinks from a variety of relevant sites is the way to go.

  • It’s either disguised or paid:

Yes, a hidden backlink is exactly what it looks like: disguised from the user and the search engines. Isn’t it a little shady? Yes, it is. A disguised backlink is a “black hat” SEO approach that breaches the search engine’s core values, either through changing text and surrounding colors or hiding inside a punctuation mark.

Grey Backlinks

Sponsored or paid backlinks often lie in grey areas because certain paid link strategies are considered acceptable. Even if a link has been paid for, it doesn’t mean it’s a poor link. Because this is a tricky topic, you should be extremely cautious when using commercial approaches. You won’t be penalized for buying ad space if the website’s results are significant to your sector.

How to Get More Backlinks for Free?

Everyone loves free things, but while working in the digital marketing industry, one finds new costs every week. You have to cover expenses for high-end data services, pay-per-click services, and whatnots. There might be instances you have to pay for getting backlinks too, and it could easily get expensive for new digital marketers. In marketing either you can spend money or time, and investing your time getting backlinks can be great since you can get long-term benefits from them.

Here are some ways to get free backlinks:

  • Repurposing existing content: Creating quality content is hard, but once you’ve written an article that gets a lot of traffic and attention, you can use the same content for making a YouTube video. All you need to do is make some changes to it and leave the link or URL of the original article in the description. You could even try making a presentation out of it and share it on SlideShare leaving a link to the original article.
  • Reaching out to online tabloids, publications, and websites: Everyone wants to get featured on popular avenues like Forbes and The New York Times, but this isn’t an easy path. The best way would be to focus on niche publications of your industry, reach out to them, and write a guest blog for them with your content.
  • Write high-value comments on blogs: Though not all blog owners give permissions to share links in their comments section, some do. Write a long comment on a blog related to your niche, also tell them about your website, and provide them with a link.
  • Monitor your competitor, get inspired, and implement better: There are various tools that can help you to find how your competitors are getting backlinks. You could use the same strategy and implement it in a better way.
  • Use your social media profile: Social media is a great place to get free backlinks. You could add links to profiles, social media posts, and updates from other people.


Backlinks are crucial to increase the credibility and authority of a blog in the search engine index. They help propel a webpage upward on SERPs. But while you may want to accept every backlink coming your way, it is critical to pay attention to the type of links you’re generating. Not all backlinks will help your rank higher as per Google PageRank.

So stay aware, and implement ethical SEO practices.

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