What are Backlinks and Why are They Important?
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What are Backlinks and Why are They Important?

Today, you’re going to learn what backlinks are, why
they’re important, how you can check them for free, and how to get more backlinks to your site. Let’s get started. So what are backlinks? Backlinks are links from a page on one website
to another. From the receiving end, these are often referred
to as incoming links or inbound links. And from the linking side, they’re called
external, outgoing or outbound links. Take your pick. And there are three reasons why they’re important. First, it’s a factor that helps Google and
other search engines determine which pages should rank the highest for a given query. Second, links to your website can send you
more visitors through referral traffic. And third, backlinks can help search engines
discover your pages faster. Now, the easiest way to conceptualize backlinks
are to think of them as votes. When a page receives a backlink, it’s essentially
another website vouching for the content on the page. And the more “votes” you get from credible
sources, the higher the trust. But not all backlinks are created equal. At a basic level, there are two things that
separate “good quality backlinks” from the not so great ones. First is topical relevance. Google talks about this in their “reasonable
surfer” model which explains how the likeliness of a link being clicked relates to its importance. So let’s say that you have a web page on
“How to make slime.” If you were to label this topic with a category,
it would likely fall under DIY, crafts, or perhaps something for kids. Now, assuming this page had two backlinks, one from a tech blog and another from a kid’s
activity blog, the latter would hold more weight since there’s higher topical relevance from
the page and domain. Second is authority. Now, when I’m talking about “authority,” I’m
referring to the quality and quantity of backlinks from the referring websites and pages. Google places a score on this called “PageRank.” But since these numbers aren’t publicly available,
third party tools like ours use our own proprietary metrics like Domain Rating, which represents
the overall strength of a website’s link popularity, and URL rating, which represents the overall
strength of a page’s link popularity. To put this into perspective, let’s say your slime
article got a link from the Huffington Post. This website is highly authoritative with a DR of 92. And let’s say it got another link from a lesser known
site like KidsKingdom.ca, which has a DR of 17. Based on the definition of Domain Rating,
it’s fair to say that the Huffington Post is a more “authoritative” domain. And assuming topical relevance and everything
else were equal, a link from Huff Post would hold more weight than the other one. But let’s throw a little twist in here. Let’s say that the page from the DR 17 site
linking to you had collected hundreds of links from reputable sources, while the article
from Huffington Post had only collected a few or maybe even zero backlinks. Then the page-level authority of the KidsKingdom
page measured by Ahrefs’ URL rating score, would likely be higher, potentially giving
it an edge over the Huffington Post link. So as you’re looking to get backlinks, you’d ideally
want to get them from both topically relevant and authoritative pages to reap maximum benefits. So how can you check backlinks to your own site? There are two places you can do this for free. The first is Google Search Console If you haven’t already set up an account,
just go through the verification process to prove that you own the site. Then go to the Links report. Here, you can see your pages that have gotten
the most links, the websites that have linked to your site the most, as well as the link texts that are most frequently used, also known as anchor text. To see the actual web pages linking to you,
click on the More button here. Then click on a page you want to investigate, so I’ll
click on our post on free keyword research tools. You can then click on any of the linking websites
to see the exact pages where they’re linking from. The second way is to use Ahrefs’ Free Backlink Checker. Just enter the URL or domain that you want
to examine and you’ll be able to see the top 100 backlinks pointing at your target. And if you want the full backlink profile,
you can use our tool, Ahrefs’ Site Explorer, export the results or play around with the
filters to narrow in on data you want to see. Now, looking at your own backlinks can only
do so much. But you can also use Ahrefs’ Backlink Checker
or Site Explorer to get actionable insights on your competitors. Just enter the URL or domain of a competitor,
go to the Backlinks report, and you can see where their backlinks come from, allowing you to
get an understanding of how they get backlinks. This brings us to the final part: how do you
get backlinks? There are three methods to getting backlinks. These are to earn them, create them, and build them. Earning links refers to natural organic growth. This is when people discover your pages through
any medium like Google search, social media, or word of mouth, and choose to link to your page. Creating backlinks is when you add a link
on another website that points to your site. This might be through forums, directories,
blog comments, or some other method. Finally are building links. And this is usually done through strategies collectively
known as link building. You can build links by reaching out to other
site owners, editors, or webmasters and ask them to link to your page. As a general rule of thumb, the easier it
is to get a link, the less valuable it will be. And when you’re new to SEO, you’ll want to focus
on link building to really get traction for your site. Since people search for something and often
read the number one result, that results in some of them linking to that page from their
own website. And because of the new links, that first-ranking
page often stays at the top, creating something we call, “the vicious circle of SEO.” Now, we have a bunch of step-by-step tutorials
on various link building tactics, so I strongly recommend watching them now. And if you have any questions, leave one
below in the comments. I’ll see you in the next tutorial.


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