To put it simply, a backlink is one website mentioning another website and linking to it. A backlink must be a clickable link, not merely just a reference of the website or it’s web address. In order for a search engine to register the backlink, it must contain an actual link and is usually underlined in a different color text.

In order to have a successful website you first need quality content, eye-catching graphics and images, as well as SEO. So to continue boosting your page rank, your next step is to integrate some high-quality backlinks. When implemented effectively, backlinks can be a strong driver of website traffic.

Backlinks are essential for SEO campaigns because when one website links to another, search engines see that as a sign that the website being linked is safe and relevant to the topic being searched. When a website backlinks to your page, search engines will add a mark that your website is worth looking into, thereby boosting its search visibility. Google actually likes backlinks and relies upon them. The whole idea behind them is that they help to tell Google what is good and useful out there. If enough people are talking about how great your site is, and referencing it on other websites, Google will actually know.

So what’s the difference between good and bad backlinks? Good backlinks have a high domain authority and are highly relevant to your business and website. Bad backlinks are low-quality and have no relevance to what you do.

Internal vs. External Backlinks

An internal link is a backlink that you generate, such as directing visitors to another website. You’re providing useful information for visitors, but use these sparingly because you also risk driving visitors away.

External links are created by other sources, not on your website. Blogs, retailers, and businesses could link to your website, driving traffic there. This is referred to as “earning” backlinks because it’s a link-building opportunity that enriches your site and demonstrates that your peers respect you.

The Different Forms of Backlinks

Images, banners or badges — Websites can display your logo, a personalized banner or another attractive image that links to your website when clicked.

Hyperlinked text — A word or phrase in a piece of content that links back to your site. For hyperlinks to work, you want the anchor text (the text where the link is embedded) to be descriptive, such as the name of your business or a relevant phrase.

A URL — The actual web address of your website is displayed, also acting as a link. Be careful though, URLs are difficult to place naturally and tend to look more unpolished. Hyperlinks are a better option, wherever possible. Anywhere that a URL could be used, a hyperlink within the name of your website or a related keyword phrase could also be used. Plus, a website name or phrase looks much neater and gives readers a clearer idea of where the link is sending them.

Embedded in a video — If you can create a video that people will want to share and link to, you can embed a link to your site in that video which counts as a backlink. Videos are extremely popular and one of the most shared forms of content.

Embedded in an infographic — Infographics have the same visual appeal as video but they don’t require as many resources to create. For infographics to work through linking, they need to be informative and interesting.

Now that you know why backlinks are important, take time to research how to incorporate them into your website. But remember, Google and other search engines understand and rank your website. The more good links you have pointing to your site, the more you’re seen as a reputable source, and the higher up the rankings you go.