A backlink refers to a link that leads from one webpage to another. Google and other major search engines consider a website’s backlinks as recommendations the site has received from other websites. The more recommendations a page has, meaning links from other websites, the better its chances of ranking higher in search results. For example, in this article, most of the words in colored font are backlinks to other articles and texts that I have used as sources for this article.
Why are backlinks important?
Backlinks are important because they signal to Google that the page being linked to is worth reading. The more a website manages to acquire backlinks, the more valuable Google perceives the content on that linked page. And the more valuable Google considers a page’s content, the higher it ranks in search results.
The use of backlinks in search engine optimization is not a new concept; it has been a part of Google’s original PageRank algorithm. Despite various algorithm changes over time, backlinks have remained a key element in search engine optimization.
What kinds of backlinks are valuable?
While all types of backlinks are generally desirable, not all backlinks have the same impact on a page’s PageRank scores. Understanding the effects of different types of backlinks is crucial for building a relevant link profile and achieving strong search engine visibility. Here, I will explain the differences that can exist among backlinks.
Follow and Nofollow Links:
Backlinks can come in two different varieties, one of which affects PageRank scores, while the other does not. Backlinks that are beneficial for search engine visibility, known as follow links, essentially instruct Google’s crawlers to follow the link, check the linked page, and give it credit. The more follow links leading to a page, the more “credit” it receives from other websites.
Google and other search engines exclude nofollow-marked links from their calculations, meaning they have no significance in terms of the ranking algorithm. The nofollow tag essentially tells search engines, “Don’t count this.”
Here’s an example of a nofollow link in HTML code: <a href=”http://www.example.com/” rel=”nofollow”>Link Text</a>
Most backlinks are of the follow type, but certain types of links are typically nofollow links, such as:
- Blog comments
- Links through social media, including Facebook and Instagram posts
- Various forum posts with links and user-generated content on forums
- Links from certain prominent websites, such as Wikipedia
Domain Authority – Page Authority:
The authority of the referring website also affects its impact on a page’s search engine ranking. Domain Authority refers to a website’s credibility and popularity, often measured on a scale of 1 to 100. It can be influenced by factors such as:
- The number of relevant and follow backlinks
- Website popularity and traffic
- High-quality content and search engine friendliness
Google’s PageRank algorithm itself does not directly use Domain Authority as a ranking factor, but it serves as a useful metric for assessing the value of your own backlinks or identifying new websites from which you might want to acquire backlinks.
Google recognizes when a link from one page to another is not related to the page’s topic or is entirely opposite in nature. For example, if a link is created from a food blog to a construction company’s website, the link is likely to be less relevant. Consequently, it receives fewer points from Google compared to what a website in the same category might receive.
The relevance of a link also relates to its anchor text, which is the visible text to which the link is embedded. For instance, if the anchor text of the link contains a keyword found on the page, it is better than a more generic link named “click here.”