What are Backlinks and Why Are They Important?

Blacklink icon in flat design.Just like in any specialized field, SEO (search engine optimization) has its own share of insider jargon (and that’s not even counting the term “SEO” itself). When looking how to increase your website ranking on certain keywords or overall, you’ve probably seen responses such as “make sure there are backlinks to your website” or “backlinks are crucial to good SEO.” It’s maddening to find these terms without a definition of what they are and why they are important. Don’t worry; we’ll give you the low-down on backlinks.

Definition of a Backlink

At its most basic, a backlink is an incoming hyperlink from another website to your website. Let’s break this down a little further to really understand what this means. Hyperlinks (usually shortened to just “links”) are the backbone of the internet and are the most common way to move around the web. Every button, image, or underlined piece of text you click on that takes you to another website is a hyperlink. Therefore, a backlink is a link from another website back to your website, hence the name backlink.

Why Backlinks are So Important to Search Engines

So, why do search engines hold backlinks in such high regard? To answer this question, let’s talk a little bit about what search engine formulas are designed to do. Search engines use algorithms to produce search results; their goal? To produce useful search results from whatever the user types in. Therefore, the search engine is looking for qualities in a website that tell it a lot of users like this website. One way users do this is by linking to it on their blogs, listing websites, or forums. Search engines track these backlinks and rank websites with more backlinks higher than those without.

Common Backlink Examples (That You Can Actually Do)

Below we’re going to include some common places to have links back to your website. Of course, there are hundreds of places you could have them, from suppliers to fan pages, but we’re going to talk about ones you can actively do yourself or with a marketing agency.

  • Social Media: Any business can have a social media presence. Use that by filling out the information about your company (including your website) and post links back to your website, including sharing any blogs you post (in the news feed).
  • Review Websites: Websites that review your business, from Google to Yelp, can provide links back to your website. Make sure to go to these services, claim the page, and update them.
  • Listing Websites: Listing websites make it easier for people to find specialized services. Find the ones for your industry (from Angie’s List to ThomasNet) and make sure you’re on there.
  • News Articles: Involve the press in your business on your own terms. Release a press release for a grand opening, or invite reporters to sample your products and services.
  • Partners: Work with your industry partners to exchange links from their website to yours, and from yours to theirs. Link exchanges within complimentary industries are better than random links with no obvious connection to each other.

Backlinks as Part of Comprehensive SEO

It’s also important to not focus on just one part of Search Engine Optimization. Backlinks are a vital part of your website’s ranking, but they aren’t the only one. Good website design, content, meta titles,  descriptions, and much more goes into your website’s page rank. Here at Vision Advertising, we are experts in Search Engine Optimization and Marketing. Let us help you get your services and products to a larger customer base by contacting us today.

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About the author : Alex Geyer

Alex wears many hats, and not just because he’s bald. A writer by background, Alex writes “content” for Vision – anything from social media statuses to blogs to website copy and beyond. In addition, as Senior Brand Strategist, he builds and maintains all search engine advertising for Vision, manages multiple client projects, and herds many meetings. In his free time, he starts and stops writing novels, reads a copious amount of fiction, plays video games, and an enthusiastic chef at home. He’s trying to become a better plant daddy.