What is an inbound link or backlink?

We often get asked what an inbound or backlink is and why they are so important for SEO (search engine optimisation) so we thought we’d put together this article to answer these questions and to clarify a few points.

An inbound link or backlink is:

Backlinks, also known as incoming linksinbound linksinlinks, and inward links, are incoming links to a website or web page. In basic link terminology, a backlink is any link received by a web node (web page, directory, website, or top level domain) from another web node.

Source: Wikipedia.

In simple terms if someone or a website wants to link to your website there must be something on that particular page or website that is worth linking to so the search engines and specifically Google see this as a vote and the more votes (backlinks) you have the more credible your website must be so the higher you should rank. This is the simplest way of looking at it but there are lots of other factors that can effect this.

Why are backlinks important for SEO?

When looking for backlinks there are some key points about the types of links you should have to ensure you don’t get a penalty from Google causing your website to be on page 20 or worse.

  • The links must be from relevant websites in your industry. This makes sense as logically if for example on our blog we decided to write a post about making cakes and decided to link to a cake tin supplier this would look un-natural as our website and blog is about the internet and web related items. Having unnatural links can cause you to be penalised by Google.
  • The anchor text must not be over optimised. (If you are unsure of what an anchor link is please read this definition on anchor links) The text used to link to your website must be varied and not the same text. In the past a common practice was to add the same wording and make this a link throughout the internet which is unnatural as you would expect to find varying text use as links to your website.
  • Quality is now more important than quantity. All websites have a rank known as Pagerank (Google) or Domain and Page Authority (Moz) but all equate to the same thing, the higher your score the more favourably your website is looked on. Getting backlinks from high ranking websites is now more important than how many you have. When a site with a high ‘score’ links to your website some of their ‘power’ is passed onto your website thus raising your score.

Google’s ethos is “Content is king”, always has been and always will be, this has never changed even though they are always being accused of moving the goal posts. Google simply wants to delivery the most relevant search results for your search and when they bring out new algorithms to their searches they are simple sorting out the good from the bad, in their eyes. So as long as your website has and continues to produce good original relevant content other websites will naturally want to link to your website and people will naturally want to come back and see that content.