Backlinks are hyperlinks directed toward your site. Backlinks are also called “Inbound Links” and the process of getting websites to link to yours is called “link building.”  In terms of search engine optimization and ranking in Google, backlinks are a very important factor.  Google uses the number of inbound links to your website as part of their ranking algorithm. The more high-quality websites that link to your website, the better your website will do in terms of ranking and the more traffic your website will receive.

The key to getting inbound links is the quality of the backlink. In the past, search engine optimizers tried to get as many links as possible to their site; often from low-quality directory websites and through link exchanges with other websites. Google now takes into consideration the relevance of the content on the site which links to yours. Sites that link to your website with unrelated content are considered less relevant to Google.

Google is also watchful of manipulative link building schemes such as hidden links on websites, or websites that exist solely to link to other websites also known as link farms. Google deploys regular updates to their search engine algorithm to try to discredit these schemes.  Getting links from the wrong websites or participating in a link-building “scheme” could negatively affect your website’s search engine rankings.

With so much at risk, what’s the best way to go about building links? Optimally, you want to do it slowly over time with good content and outreach.  In my next blog post, I will give some tips on how to do this.