Skip to main content

What are Backlinks And How Do They Work?

I will honestly prefer to spend two grands on two pieces of chocolates than repeating this:

"Search Engine Optimisation had grown consistently over the years".

A countryside muchkin of the internet world should know that – Really!

Related >> How to make money from Google Adsense without a website.

Ok, It was June, 2013 – following the introduction of HummingBird that Google became the real bad Hulk.

A number of high ranking sites were punched on the cheeks and knocked off their SERP arm chairs.

The offence ?

Deceptive SEO techniques – Again Google rolled out series of algorithm shifts, consequently a number of SERP determining factors : meta tags, keyword density and prominence were relegated.

Here is a quick list of Major algorithm changes and dates
  • HummingBird – Introduced in September 2013.
  • Mobile friendly – April 2015
  • Panda Update – Febuary 2011
  • Penguin Update – July 24, 2014
  • Google Payday – June 11, 2013.

Fortunately, there is an important search engine ranking determining factor that has defied every algo shake-up – Backlinks

Matt Curtis recently stated that Google might come up with a new algorithm, but backlinks would still be around as one of the most trusted factors for determining site rankings – Not until search robots are advanced enough to understand actual human languages.

Matt cutts speaks on Backlinks and SEO

Now, what is a backlink ?

Also known as inbound links (IBL). A backlink is an incoming link to your blog. To wit, its a link targetting your blog from another blog of the same or relevant niche.

Almost every search engine algorithm treats backlinks as citations, votes or a recommendations for a blog.

Why backlinks are used as citations for blogs ?

Lets assume you want to buy a book on leadership qualities at a book store and you have just three of them left on the shelf:
  • The first book has citations from two of major world leaders – the president of United states and the queen of England.
  • The second book has no citation.

Now, which of the books would you pick up ?

The first book right? – The reason is really. It has citations from people whom you consider as authorities – Those who most certainly must have ganered more experience than the rest on leardership qualities.

Now, that's exactly what a search engine does. It treats every link directed at your site from a relevant and authority site as a vote of confidence.

How important is a backlink?

A backlink is so important that most search engines are yet to find alternatives to it. It had survived every algorithm shake. Like Matt said, backlinks as an important seo factor is never going to give way. Yea!!.

Bings as a search engine had a tradition of chaneling algorithm paths quite distinct from its major competitor (Google). Bing is a media centric search engine while Google is mostly text centric.

Funny enough, the astute minds at Redmonds are yet to come up with a better algorithm than backlinks. Backlink is the intercept for both search engines. Their search crawlers factor the number of links and most importantly the authorities of the refferent sites.

Now, I don't care what you might have heard withing the SEO cliques in the past. Here is the bitter truth: Forget about the SEO race without serious and authoritative links. Its a gonna!And I mean it.

Okay... I guess that this pie chart from Moz does a borderline excellent job at explaining it.

Here is another interesting result of a different study – The influence of Ranking factors in Google Algorithm. The data was collated after fielding the question to a cross section of about 150 Search engine optimisation professionals.

So, what next ?

Seeing the relative weight of backlinking as an SERP determinant. Now, what if you could persuade your grandma and a couple relatives to start linking to your blog ?

Boom! But sorry it doesn't work – Really! The number of backlinks to a blog is not as weighty as the authority of the linking sites.

Would you ever consider buying a book on leadership even if it had 500 citations from grade-3 pupils ? Most certainly not. Here is why the authority of the reffering site is a big factor for most search robot.

Qualities of a good inbound link

  • good backlink is authoritative
  • A good backlink comes from a blog of the same or related niche

To determine their relevancy, most search engines reckon the contents of the referee and the referent sites by considering the anchor texts, keyword density, keyword proximity and the HTML tags. Here's why a couple of backlinks from Grandpa's garden egg blog won't work.

How to get backlinks from Authoritative sources

Now, here is the real deal [ You may call it the next big deal ] . Its a frequently asked questions by the way. From all indications, the answer to this particular question is pretty simple – Create a link worthy content – What most marketers call a quality content.

Here is the secret gem : since all search engines are designed to deliver the best and the most quality contents for related search phrases, hence the subject of SEO boils down to a pretty summary: Create awesome contents and promote your contents.

A quality content powered by quality backlinks is a dynamo for any seo campaign – I mean it Its is a great fusion that can turn your content to the Husain Bolt of the SEO world.

Content Marketing and backlinks

Many SEO campaigns often end up failures due to this often overlooked but equally significant marketing strategy – Content marketing. Your quality content alone won't cut a cake in the world of content marketting.

If you have a different opinion, I would bet you to try it, learn from the failure and move on – or give me friendly smile and bid the world of blogging a farewell

"You can't sell anything if you can't tell anything" – Beth Comstock

"The sales department is not the whole company, but the whole company better be the sales department" – Philp Kotler

Photo credit :

Now, have you ever taken few minutes to follow Google results all through to the first twenty pages. Most people don't. Well, I do that occasionally – I get pretty lazy at doing something  serious at times, so don't mind me.

In most cases, we all assume that the best and most suited results top up on the first page. Alas, its not always so – A good number of times, I came across well optimized and great contents mouldering at the nether region of Google search results.

The publishers probably felt the content strength in itself would drive the nail – Beware!! The second blunder of the Seo world. The audience never got the chance to see those contents in the first place. So how could they appreciate and generate backlinks for contents they never got the chance to read ?

I read this interesting article by Nick Eubanks titled content is queen. He cited the case of this particular content. Great piece! Oh yea !  Lengthy and detailed, up to 7000 words. It could pass for my secondary school integrated science text in its printed format – Really.

Unfortunately, the same content sat comfortably at the base of Google result page with 4 backlinks including a consolatory link from Nick.

Now, you can't really get enough backlinks to ensure a front page rank on Google search engine or any other search engine for that matter without exposing your content to a wide network of people – Content marketing.

But many SEOs don't. They force themselves to create contents. Then they wait and pray for Google to be lenient... But Google bot is not. It simply sits on its rocking chair looks through such content: "Oh what a nice piece! But it's got no backlinks". Then it shakes its square head and toss it under the locker...

But, Its only due to a laid-back syndrome. 

Never lay back on your content – It bites really hard !

Have you created that content? Is it great, original, interesting and unique ? Good, but hey! its the time to stretch and wait for that 'master piece' to beat every other piece of content and fight its way to the top of the search engine like an Eastern Samurai. Sorry... it won't.

So, you either drag it or push it to the front page.

You need to help your contents to the top by creating relevant backlinks and bringing it to a wide audience of readers I like how this particular infograph by Rudy sums up yourpath to an highly effective content promotion.

Reuters, Diggs, stumble upon are great starting points. Adwords and Facebook ads are needed if you can afford to spare the next cup at your favorite coffee shop. Ha ha! A well optimised facebook ad gives your post a well targeted reach

Blog commenting and link building.

Apart from Guest posting, blog commenting is one of the most common ways of building links. To effectively harness its power, its advisable to select do-follow andhigh PR sites for most of your comments.

Apart from how it helps to draw attention to your blog, commenting helps your site to rank much better on the search engine result by amassing relevant links and building trust.

Do you have any addition to this post? How have you been able to harness the power of backlinks to increase your search rankings? What strategies drives the best results for you? Please share your ideas in the comment section.

Popular posts from this blog

10 Latest Ankara Short Gown Styles and Dresses For Ladies

Ready for these sassy short Ankara styles to blow your mind?

9 Latest Nigerian French Lace Styles and Dresses For Wedding

Howdy fashion geeks! Nigerian french lace styles are some of the most stunning designs of dresses for fashion conscious Nigerians.

9 Nigerian Native Styles for Men That Are Ruling The Trends

Hey fashionable ladies and cool guys! Hasn't Traditional form of dressing in Nigeria come along way?