What is a backlink?
In order to understand the importance of the right backlinks, it is first important to realise what exactly a backlink is. A backlink is a link that is placed on a website and points to a web page of another website. They are also called external links. These backlinks can be placed on different pages. Usually you find them in blog posts, but also on other authoritative websites. They are references to a page where extra information can be found or to reinforce an article.
Apart from external links there are also internal links. These are links that are placed on one's own website and point to a web page within that site. When SEO marketers are asked how a website can best build up authority, they will usually answer with obtaining good backlinks. Experience shows that backlinks are indeed an important ranking factor for your website. However, this is not true for every backlink. If one does not pay attention to the collection of qualitative backlinks, this can even harm the ranking factor. That is why it is important not only to know enough about this, but also to engage the right people to obtain good links.
Quality over quantity
For a long time, people thought that the most important thing was to collect as many links as possible. The more links, the better. This is not without reason. For a long time, Google's algorithm was not that extensive. In the beginning of Google, it was still difficult to pick out qualitative sites. Over the years, however, this search engine has become increasingly intelligent. In order to maintain their good position and remain the largest search engine worldwide, they have to ensure that only qualitative websites are shown and that the searcher sees relevant information. As a result, today's algorithms are so elaborate that they can precisely pick out the qualitative links.
Nowadays, it is not directly about the quantity of links, but about the quantity of qualitative links. It used to be that you could get your website up in the search results in no time by randomly placing links everywhere. Not any more. Google soon realises this and will penalise you by sending you down in the search results.
So don't fall for those big ads where you can buy thousands of links for a few tens of euros. These are often spread haphazardly across the wide web, which is then considered as spam by Google. This affects both your ranking and the position of the source. Quality over quantity! Rather spend a lot of time finding the right links than a quick way out. There are no shortcuts when it comes to quality link building. By being patient, you can achieve the best results.
The function of backlinks
But what are backlinks actually used for and what causes these links to improve your position within Google? There are several reasons for this.
First of all, it is good to realise how important qualitative websites are for Google. This search engine has become the biggest search engine worldwide over the years. However, this does not mean that there are no other search engines. In fact, there are many other search engines that are used on a daily basis. Google must therefore - just like any other company - do its best to rise above them and maintain its position of authority. In doing so, it is important that the users of the search engine get what they are looking for. Relevant information, in other words. When less qualitative websites end up at the top of the search results and at the same time do not provide an answer to the questions of the searcher, then the users of Google will quickly look for another search engine that can provide this. Before they know it, they will lose a lot of users and slowly lose their position worldwide.
To prevent this, various algorithms have been devised. It is impossible for Google to search the whole wide web and rank every website manually. Therefore, this is done by Google robots. These robots use different algorithms to determine whether a website is of high quality and contains the right information. Some algorithms are known, but many remain a mystery. It is the job of online marketers to understand these algorithms and to base a marketing plan on them in order to make websites more visible.
Backlinks are very well read by Google's robots. Google sees these links as an excellent way to understand the authority of your page. Every backlink can be seen as a vote for your website. In other words, it seems that your website contains really relevant information if it is often mentioned in articles or on other websites. Many votes means that your website and the information it contains can be trusted. The number of websites on which the backlinks are placed is very important. More important than the total number of backlinks. It is better to place ten backlinks on ten different domains than ten backlinks on one domain.
Different kinds of backlinks
A backlink is a link that is placed on another domain and refers to your website or a specific part of your website. There is not just one type of backlink, but many different ones. We list the most important types below.
Nofollow links are mainly used when an article refers to another site, without associating yourself with this site. At that moment you are not transferring your authority. A good example is when you post a news article about a website that makes serious statements, but at the same time you do not want Google to associate your website with theirs. In that case, you use a nofollow backlink to show that you are not giving away the authority.
The use of nofollow links may seem a little meaningless. Why would you use such a link if it is of little value? What is in it for you? A logical reasoning, but several tests show that nofollow links do play a role in order to rank higher in Google. Dofollow is obviously better, but a nofollow link can also be effective.
Moreover, a nofollow link also makes your texts more relevant to the reader and easier to fathom. Referring to sources also simply ensures more qualitative texts and therefore inspires more confidence in the reader.
DoFollow links are by far the best known when we talk about link building. They are also the most frequently used. Simply put, this link is exactly the opposite of a Nofollow link. With this link you show that you transfer your authority and that you trust the link. These links are by far the most profitable for your website. Placing a DoFollow link is very simple. It can be added as a normal link in a text. No special attributes need to be added.
High Authority Links
It always sounds very easy to look for reliable sources to place a link to your website. Getting backlinks is not always that easy. Certainly not when it comes to very important websites. It's true that Google's algorithm evaluates links from reliable websites higher, but that doesn't mean you should only focus on obtaining these links. Indeed, it is not easy to get in touch with such quality sources.
Backlinks with high authority come from reliable sources. These sources can be very diverse, but usually include universities, Wikipedia and newspapers. Sources that are frequently visited and where people have the confidence that they provide the right information.
Of course it is good to investigate how you can get a backlink to your page on such sites. With High Authority Links you immediately score a lot better in Google. Moreover, it also increases the number of visitors to your website at once. Especially if it is a frequently read piece on a reliable source.
Then there are also the so-called bad links. These are the links you should avoid as much as possible if you want to score higher in Google. When many bad links point to your webpage, it can damage your reputation within Google and you will even receive a so-called Google Penalty. This means you will sink faster into the search results and your link building campaign will have the opposite effect.
Bad links can come from different platforms. This is especially true for websites with a bad reputation within Google. Good examples are 18+ sites, spam sites, gambling sites, etc. Websites that have already been penalised by Google for not following the rules can also give you a bad reputation. Just as quality websites can give you a better position, worse ones will do the opposite.
That is why it is important to avoid backlinks from websites of low quality as much as possible. Please note that not only the website is important for your position within Google, but also the way the backlink is processed in a text. When, for example, the wrong links are used or are processed in a non-organic way, this will also have a negative impact on your position. Think for instance of excessive use of links in one article, while the same anchor text is used every time.
How to get the right backlinks?
The collection of backlinks is quite complex. Most entrepreneurs choose to buy backlinks. If this is done in the right way (so don't buy a bulk at once, but write a guest blog for example and have it placed), this can be quite effective. However, you need to be very careful with this. Otherwise, you run the risk of it being seen as spam. Simply because Google does not like it when links are bought.
That is why it is good to invest time in the organic collection of backlinks. This can be done in different ways. There are also very simple backlinks that already have a good effect on your position within Google. For example, ask suppliers, partners, friends or other people who care about your website whether they want to place a reference.
In addition, you are also able to place backlinks yourself. For example, place a link on your various social media channels. Add internal links to your website. Start a blog and refer to important pages on your website. There are plenty of ways to get extra backlinks without having to put in too much effort. There are also a number of directory websites where you can register your website. That way you will immediately receive a backlink to your website.
Of course there are many other ways to get backlinks. A common method is to write relevant blogs for your website. You can then ask other large blogs to post them. However, it is important that you pay attention to the quality of the article. It's not just about the backlink that is included. Show the reader that you really offer relevant information. Only then will you not only have a chance of getting your blog published, but also of it not being labelled as spam by Google.
You can also respond to blog posts and articles on quality websites. Comment on the content of the article and include a link to a webpage on your site. This way you secretly ensure that various links across the wide web point to your website, without actually paying for it. Something that Google abhors.
Buying backlinks is of course still done. When this is done in the right way, it can have a positive effect on your position within Google. But then it must really be done in the right way. And that is where it all too often goes wrong. But what should you pay attention to when you choose to buy backlinks?
Engage a link building agency! It is not only important to collect more links, but also that they are of the right quality and not considered as spam. Therefore, you should not fall for the big advertising pitches where you can buy a huge number of links for little money. You can choose to use a link building agency. They have a lot of different contacts, so they can put you in contact with other relevant websites and blogs in no time. Moreover, they are able to set up a link building campaign that is not only effective, but also not so easily seen as spam. So you can be sure that this campaign will have the intended effect.
Also pay attention to the context behind the backlinks. Google's algorithm is nowadays not only able to detect the quality of the source, but also the context behind the backlinks. This means that the context in which the backlink is placed is also checked. Relevance is the key here. When an article is about gaming and then a link is placed here to a garden centre, this will provide little relevance to the corresponding link. It is therefore important to ensure that the page is at least partly about the subject of the backlink.
Ask critical questions when buying backlinks. Make sure that you at least know on which websites the backlinks are placed and whether they are relevant for the industry in which you operate. It is also good to learn more about the authority position of this website. Also find out if the site meets Google's technical requirements. Even if it is very relevant and offers quality content, it can be punished if the core of the website does not meet the requirements. This does not only affect the quality score of this website, but also yours.