What are Backlinks? and Ways to Build Backlinks to Your Website

What Are Backlinks?

Backlinks (also referred to as “inbound links”, “incoming links” or “one way links”) are links from one website to a page on another website. Google and other major search engines consider backlinks “votes” for a selected page. Pages with a high number of backlinks tend to possess high organic program rankings.

What are backlinks?

For example, here may be a link from Forbes to my website.

Forbes backlink

Because that link points on to a page on my website, it’s a “backlink”.

Why Are Backlinks Important?

Backlinks are basically votes from other websites. Each of those votes tells search engines: “This content is effective , credible and useful”.

So the more of those “votes” you’ve got the upper your site will rank in Google and other search engines.

Number of backlinks

Using links during a program algorithm is nothing new. In fact, backlinks formed the inspiration of Google’s original algorithm (known as “PageRank”).

PageRank citation

Even though Google has made thousands of changes to its algorithm since then, backlinks remain a key ranking signal.

For example, an industry study that we conducted found that links remain Google’s key ranking signal.

Total external backlinks

And Google has confirmed that backlinks remain one among their three most vital program ranking factors.

Search ranking factors

What Types of Backlinks are Valuable?

Not all backlinks are created equal.

In other words, if you would like to rank higher within the SERPs, specialise in quality backlinks.

Put another way:

A single quality backlink can be more powerful than 1,000 low-quality backlinks.

As it turns out, high-quality backlinks tend to share the same key traits.

Trait #1: They Come From Trusted, Authoritative Websites

Would you rather get a backlink from Harvard… or a random guy’s website?

As it turns out, Google feels the same way.

This concept is understood as “Domain Authority”. Essentially, the more authority a site has, the more authority it can expire to your site (via a link).

Domain authority

For example, here’s a link that I got from TechCrunch.

Techcrunch backlink

According to Ahrefs, TechCrunch is an particularly authoritative domain.

Because that link comes from an authority site, Google puts many weight thereon . In fact, I noticed a lift in my organic program traffic right after TechCrunch linked to me.

Are these links hard to get? Definitely.

Are they worth it? Absolutely.

Trait #2: They Include Your Target Keyword In The Link’s Anchor Text

As a reminder, anchor text is that the visible text a part of a link.

What are anchor links?

In general, you would like your links to possess anchor text that has your target keyword.

In fact, a recent industry study found a correlation between keyword-rich anchor text and better rankings for that keyword.

Keyword rich anchor text

Now, a fast word of warning:

You don’t want to travel overboard with keyword-rich anchor text. In fact, Google features a filter in their algorithm called “Google Penguin”.

Google Penguin filters out websites that use black hat link building strategies. And it specifically focuses on sites that build backlinks with exact match anchor text.

Trait #3: The Site (and Page) Linking to You Is Topically Associated To Your Site

When an internet site links to a different website, Google wants to ascertain that the 2 sites are related.

This is sensible if you think that about it:

Imagine you only published a piece of writing about running a marathon.

In that case, Google will put far more weight on links from sites about marathons, running, fitness vs. sites about fishing, unicycles, and digital marketing.

Contextual backlinks

Trait #4: The Link may be a  “Dofollow” Link

Google and other search engines ignore links with the “nofollow” tag attached to it.

Nofollow links

(In other words, nofollow links don’t count program ranking algorithms).

Fortunately, the overwhelming majority of links on the online are “dofollow” links.

And most of the links that have the nofollow tag aren’t that valuable to start with. for instance , links from these sources tend to be nofollow:

  • Blog comments
  • Press releases
  • Paid advertisements

These links aren’t super helpful for SEO anyway, so it’s not an enormous deal that they’re nofollow.

Trait #5: The Link Is From a Domain That Hasn’t Linked to You Before

Let’s say you get a link from Website A.


Well, let’s say Website A links to you again. And again. And again.

Are the 2nd, 3rd and 4th links as powerful as the first one?


As it turns out, links from the same website have diminishing returns.

Ranking power

Or put another way:

It’s usually better to urge 100 links from 100 different websites than 1,000 links from an equivalent website.

In fact, our program ranking correlation study found that the amount of web sites linking to you (not the entire number of backlinks) correlated with Google rankings quite the other factor.

Number of referring domains

Now that you’ve seen what sorts of backlinks are the foremost helpful for your Google rankings, it’s time on behalf of me to point out you ways to start out building them.

Best Practices

Create a Linkable Assets

If you would like people to link to your website, you would like something on your site worth linking to.

(Also known as “Linkable Assets”).

A Linkable Asset are often a blog post, a video, a bit of software, a quiz, a survey… basically anything that folks will want to link to.

In most cases, your linkable asset are going to be a tremendous piece of content (which is why program optimization and content marketing are so closely tied together).

For example, once I first started my blog, I published this list of 200+ Google ranking factors.

Backlinko – Google Ranking Factors Post

One day I read that Google uses 200 ranking signals. Which made me curious: “What are these 200 signals?”.

Of course, Google wasn’t close to announce them to the planet . So I started compiling statements from Google and patents that I found online.

Compiling these 200 factors was extremely time-consuming (it took me over 2 weeks). But within the end, I FINALLY compiled an inventory of 200 ranking factors that Google might use in their algorithm.

To date, this single piece of content has generated over 19,600 backlinks from 4,810 domains.

Google Ranking Factors Backlinks

How about another example?

One of my most successful posts so far (in terms of backlinks and organic traffic) is my ultimate guide to YouTube SEO.

Backlinko – How To Rank YouTube Videos Post

When I started scripting this post i used to be beginning to have some success with YouTube marketing. So i made a decision to compile and share what I learned within the sort of an ultimate guide.

I also decided to include a lot of examples in my guide:

How To Rank YouTube Videos Steps

(Something that the majority of the opposite content on this subject lacked)

Even though this post hasn’t generated nearly an equivalent amount of links as my Google Ranking Factors post, it’s still racked up quite few backlinks.

How To Rank YouTube Videos Backlinks

Build Backlinks from Link Roundups

Imagine if people published blog posts with the only purpose of linking bent quality content.

(The sort of quality content that you simply publish on your site already)

It’d be pretty great, right?

Fortunately, that’s a true thing. And they’re called link roundups.

Here’s an example:

Link roundups

Link roundups are daily, weekly or monthly blog posts that link to outstanding content.
Here’s an example of a backlink that I recently built from a roundup:


Here’s the step-by-step process.

1. Find Link Roundups In Your Niche: Use search strings in Google search, like ““Keyword” + “link roundup”.Pitch

2. Your Resource: (Gently) suggest that they include your linkable asset to the roundup.

And if your post may be a good fit that person’s roundup, you’ll get a high-quality link.

Backlink email

(They may also share your content on social media)

Use The Moving Man Method

Here is the 3-step process:

  1. First, you discover sites , resources or businesses that are outdated, rebranded or recently changed names.
  2. Then, find the sites that are still linking to those outdated resources.
  3. Finally, you email people to allow them to know that they’re linking to something that are out of date.

Let me show you ways this works with a real-life example…

A while back I read that an internet site for an enormous SEO agency website suddenly pack up.

Moving man method

This meant that that they had many pages on their site that weren’t working anymore…

…pages that many people were still linking to.

Specifically, I noticed that an infographic about SEO on their site wasn’t working anymore. Which was perfect , because I had just published my very own SEO-focused infographic.

So that was the primary step.

Next, I had to ascertain who actually linked thereto infographic.

So I fired up Ahrefs and pulled all of their links:


Finally, I emailed everyone that linked to the infographic to allow them to know the image wasn’t working anymore. I also allow them to know that my infographic would make an excellent replacement for the BlueGlass one.

Here’s the script I used:

Hi [Name],

I was checking out some content to examine [Topic] this morning. and that i found your excellent post: [Post Title].

Anyway, I couldn’t help but notice that you simply mentioned [Outdated Resource] in your article.

As you’ll have heard, [Problem With Outdated Resource].

Here’s a screenshot of where that link is located: [Screenshot]

Also, I recently published a bit of content about [Topic]. it’d make an honest replacement for the [Outdated Resource].

Either way, I hope this helps you and have an excellent day!

[Your Name]

As you’ll see, people were quite happy to link to me:

Backlink email

Broken Link Building

This strategy is similar to the Moving Man Method you just learned about.

The difference is that with broken link building, you’re only looking for pages that have 404 errors.

To find these 404 links, you want to focus on resource pages in your niche. So if you’re in the fitness niche you’d search in Google using these search strings:

  • “fitness” + “resource page”
  • “fitness” + “resources”
  • “fitness” + “recommended sites”
  • “fitness” + “links”

And you’d find pages like this.

Broken link building

Now you could email the site owner and ask for a link. But I’ve found that begging doesn’t work very well.

Instead, let the site owner know about any broken links that you find.

You can easily find broken links on any page. Just use the nifty Check My Links Chrome Extension.

This program quickly finds any broken links the page happens to have. It also highlights them in red to make them easy to find:

Broken links

The last thing you need to do is email the site owner about their dead link.

Guest Posting

Is guest posting dead?

Not really.

In fact, when you’re first starting out, guest blogging is one of the BEST ways to get links to your site.

In fact, when I first started Backlinko, I wrote over 50 guest posts and interviews in 12 months!

Guest posts

And the links I got from guest posting definitely gave my organic traffic a boost.

That said, I was very strategic about things. I made sure to only write guest posts for quality sites in my niche.

So if you run a site about the Paleo Diet, and write a guest post on a site about iPhones, that’s going to look spammy to Google.

But when you write mind-blowing guest posts for quality websites in your industry, those links DO help.

The thing is, finding places to guest post can be a HUGE pain.

But there’s an easier way…

Here’s how it works:

First, find someone in your industry that writes a lot of guest posts.

Next, go to one of their published guest posts. And grab the headshot they use in their author bio:

Larry Kim guest posting on Inc.

Finally, pop the URL of that screenshot into Google reverse image search.

And you’ll get a list of places that published guest posts on.

Larry Kim – Reverse image search

Infographics and Other Visual Assets

Do infographics work as well as they used to? Probably not.

But they’re still an effective link building strategy.

In fact, when we looked at what types of content generate the most links, infographics came out near the top.

"Why posts", "What posts" and infographics are heavily linked to

For example, one of the first infographics I ever made took only took a few hours to put together (I also hired a professional designer to make it look professional).

On page SEO

Even though this infographic didn’t go viral, it led to some solid backlinks:

Infographic backlink

To be clear: I didn’t just publish my infographic and hope for the best.

Like any piece of content that you simply publish, you would like to strategically promote your infographic. And to try to to that, i like to recommend employing a strategy called “Guestographics”.

I outline exactly how Guestographics work in this post.

Submit Testimonials

Companies big and little like to boast customer testimonials.

And you’re employing a product or service that you simply love (or a minimum of like),

To show that you’re a real person they’ll often add a link to your website… without you even having to ask.

Here’s an example:


Blogger Reviews

If you have a piece of software, physical product, consulting service or ANYTHING of value that you sell, you can easily turn that into dozens of high-quality backlinks.


By offering your product to bloggers for free.

Here’s how:

  1. Find bloggers in your niche that might be interested in what you have to offer. If you sell an information product that teaches people how to make their own soaps, you’d Google things like “soap making”, “make soap at home” etc.
  2. Your results will be a mixed bag of blogs, news websites and “how to” websites like eHow. Filter out how-to sites or news sites. You’ll be left with a solid list bloggers that might be interested in your offer, like this one:

    Blogger reviews

  3. Reach out to them with this email script:

One word of warning: you would like to be VERY careful about the language you employ for this strategy.

Note how you don’t offer your product in exchange for a link or review… which would violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

Instead, send them the merchandise and allow them to decide if it’s worth a mention on their blog.

Link Reclamation

Link reclamation is simple:

First, find mentions of your company that don’t link to your site.

Here’s an example:

Backlinko link reclamation example

See how the author of that article above mentioned my website… but didn’t link to it?

That’s where link reclamation comes into play.

Instead of saying “I wish they linked to me”, you proactively reach out and ask them to link.

In my experience, a friendly reminder is typically enough to urge most of the people to log into WordPress and add your link.

Here’s the step-by-step process:

  1. Use a tool like BuzzSumo and to find mentions of your brand online.When you do, you’ll get a heads up whenever someone writes about you:

    Unlinked mentions


  2. Check to ascertain whether or not the person who mentioned you furthermore may linked back to your site (either your homepage or internal page). If they linked to your site, you’re set.
    If not, move onto step #3…
  3. Send them this friendly email.


HARO (short for Help a Reporter Out) is one of the best ways to get high authority backlinks from news sites.

Here’s how HARO works:

  1. Sign Up To HARO as a source here.
  2. You’ll get three emails per day from reporters looking for sources, like this one:

    Using HARO

  3. Respond with your credentials and some helpful tips.

Easy right? You give a reporter a quote and they’ll hook you up with a backlink.

That’s all there is to it.

For example, recently got a sweet link from by replying to a HARO request:

HARO request

Reverse Engineer Your Competitor’s Backlinks

Every industry has its own set of link building opportunities.

So i like to recommend setting aside a while to reverse engineer your competition. That way, you’ll find link opportunities that only exist in your niche.

How about an example?

Let’s say you run a health and fitness blog.

And one among your competitors is Nerd Fitness.

Well, once I inspect that site’s link profile during a backlink checker, I notice that tons of their links come from podcasts:


Specifically, people from that company (especially the founder, Steve Kamb) appear on other people’s podcasts as guests.

Just like that you simply simply have a pleasant list of places that you can attend get links.

(Obviously, you would like to succeed in bent the folks that run those podcasts and pitch yourself as a guest. Which takes work. But a minimum of you recognize where to start).

Stick to Content Formats That Generate Links

Like i discussed earlier, infographics are one content format that’s ideal for building backlinks.

But it’s one among many.

We also found that, albeit they didn’t generate many social media shares, “Why posts” and “What posts” attended get linked-to fairly often.

Referring domains .vs. Average social shares



This Topic Source:


Learn More

Link Building: How to Get Powerful Backlinks: Video tutorial that shows you how to build backlinks to your site using white hat SEO techniques.

How to Get High Quality Backlinks (7 New Strategies): This is an updated list of link building strategies that focus on building new backlinks from authority websites.

15 Awesome Link Building Tools: If you’re serious about link building, you’ll need tools to help you do the job. Here’s a list of the best of the bunch.

How to Do a Basic Backlink Analysis on Your Competitors: Learn how to evaluate your competitors backlinks.



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