Trends in Technology

What Are Backlinks and Why Do You Need Them for Your SEO?

January 10, 2022 by Bobby J Davidson

Imagine promoting your products or services on another business’s property, and in return, they send their customers to check out or purchase your value offerings. As improbable and downright strange as this sounds, you’d be surprised to know that in the digital world, this is one of the most popular ways to generate organic traffic to your website, eCommerce site, or blog.

If you’re wondering how this is possible, let’s kill the suspense – Backlinks. Yes, backlinks often ignored by newbie or inexperienced digital marketers are fundamental to search engine optimization (SEO) and equally as important as keyword research and placement, quality content, and other technical elements, like crawling, indexing, and rendering.

This post will share what backlinks are, their types, and why digital marketers need them to maximize their SEO efforts.  

What are Backlinks?

Think of a backlink as a virtual word of mouth or vote of confidence – at least, that’s how Google’s search algorithm sees it. Simply put, backlinks are incoming links from a website, web page, blogs, news stories, guest posts, or web directory that represent another website’s traffic coming to your site after you successfully link with them. These inbound links are crucial for SEO because their quality and quantity can help you rank higher on Google and other search engines, as they consider your site popular with users, especially if you link to a prestigious or top-ranked website. Therefore, implementing and managing backlinks is one of the most essential aspects of organic digital marketing and SEO strategies.

Types of Backlinks

Not all backlinks are identical and hold the same relevance or weight. Therefore, you need to understand the different types of backlinks to learn how to add value to your site respectively:

1.     Do-Follow Links

Do-follow links are the most powerful and valuable type of backlinks as they foster a natural link profile in which other websites link to you instead of the other way around. Search engine bots crawl the web by following do-follow links and adding more link juice to your site.

However, you must build a stellar website and produce high-quality content frequently to attract other sites to yours.

2.     No-Follow Links

A no-follow or manual backlink is the opposite of a do-follow link. In this case, you’re the one creating a link on web pages, guest blogs, social media, blog comments, forums, press releases, and widgets. Even though this backlink type barely offers any juice compared to its counterpart, no-follow links are still essential for building a natural backlink profile since they balance out your do-follow links (something Google keeps an eye on). The main purpose of these links is to bring traffic to your website and increase exposure directly. Visitors on websites, forums, and blogs can click on your link and be redirected to your site to learn more about your value offerings after reading a comment or guest post.

3.     Self-Created Links

SEO professionals often spend hours commenting on different websites and forums, especially those related to a specific niche, topic,  product, or service. The practice involves creating a link in the comment section to redirect traffic to your site. However, this method has been overused for years and is considered spam by more modern sites. However, it can be useful for startups and small businesses to foster an online presence.

The Relationship Between SEO and Backlinks

SEO is one of the fastest ways to improve your online presence. However, it requires more than an optimized website and quality content. You also need a strong backlink profile to increase your chances of scoring a better position in Google search results, as the first page captures nearly 70% of search traffic clicks. Here’s how backlinks improve your SEO and overall organic rankings:

1.     Domain & Page Authority

Authority is a measure of your website or page’s rank in search engines on a scale of 1-100. Linking your site with a higher-ranked website can improve your authority score and build your link equity. As a result, you can get a higher SERP position which can set of a chain reaction that increases your organic traffic and attract visitors, buyers, advertisers, and sponsored sites to your guest post and site, thus, potentially increasing sales and improving online presence.

2.     Content Relevance

Google and other search engines aim to provide the most relevant content in the user search results. Backlinks from websites that have a similar niche or interrelated products/services can improve your online presence drastically. For example, if you’re a restaurant, backlinks from food review sites, magazines, recipe blogs, and travel pages will have high relevance.

3.     Website Diversity

By linking your website with a diverse range of websites, such as product landing pages, blogs, directories, magazines, press releases, and forums, your can naturally build your organic rank faster and gradually reduce spending and reliance on paid channels like PPC and influencer/referral marketing.


At a beginner level, the more backlinks you create, the better. However, you should aim to establish a balanced link profile since not all backlinks offer the same value as mentioned above. Nonetheless, they’re essential for improving SEO  and taking advantage of SERPs if you do it the right way. Remember, Google and other search engines have algorithms that can easily recognize any attempts to unethically rig the system and wipe the ranking floor with your website if the practice persists.