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What Are Backlinks and How Do They Help My Website? 

Are you puzzled by link building, or stumped by backlinks? Not sure why links are so important? We�re here to help. As a leading SEO and link building firm, WebpageFX has created this informative page to teach you everything you need to know about backlinks and why they are so important.

On this page, you�ll learn what backlinks are, why they are so important, and how they help your website rank better and higher in search engines. We�ll also give you some tips to build your first links from other sites, and the code you need to add links to your site yourself.

We�ll start by telling you what backlinks are.

A backlink is, simply put, a link from another website to yours. Backlinks can also be called hyperlinks, incoming links, inbound links, or just links�they all mean the same thing.

In the context of search engine optimization (SEO), a backlink is an important factor in determining how well your pages rank. However, on a larger scale, links can determine how those pages are discovered in the first place.

Search engines like Google rely on links for a number of reasons. Putting your website�s SEO and ranking aside for a moment, the �World Wide Web� was named as such for a reason: with its series of pages and websites connected together by links, it really does resemble a web. Links add context, and tell the �spiders� that crawl the Internet that there are more pages to be found through the backlinks that exist there.

Let�s say you have a brand new website. No one links to it, and you don�t submit it to Google, either. How do you expect it to be found? You can�t! However, if someone links to your site, a search engine spider can crawl through that link, discover your site, and index (or make findable) your newly created content. This is one reason that best backlinks are so important: without them, search engines won�t know that your content is there, nor will users.

Now let�s return to SEO. Links are an important part of Google�s ranking algorithm. Generally speaking, the more relevant, high quality backlinks you have pointing at your website, the better you will rank in searches for your targeted keywords. So it is desirable to have these kinds of backlinks, because ranking highly can increase your traffic, purchases, conversion rate, and so on.

This doesn�t mean that you should go out and try to acquire links from every powerful-looking website on the Internet. Google�s algorithms are so complex that a link�s relevance will be just as important as its source. So while it may feel good for your pet supplies store to get a link from your friend�s popular marketing blog, it may not help you rank any better.

On March 24 2016, Andrey Lipattsev - a Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google - has officially confirmed what Google�s top three ranking factors are: 1 & 2 (he wouldn�t distinguish between first or second) are backlinks and content, with number 3 being RankBrain.

Even in 2016, with all of Google's contextual search updates, backlinks are one of the most important ranking signals for Google�s algorithm.

How Do I Get Backlinks?

Getting backlinks to your site isn�t always quite as simple as creating content or doing something newsworthy and waiting for the links to roll in. If you are a new company, or are still working on scaling your website traffic, you�ll need to do some work to get backlinks from other sites.

Here are a few easy ways that you can gain links to your site, based on what has worked well for us and our clients in the past:

Set up Google Alerts for your brand or business name. If you spot a mention of your company on a website that doesn�t include a link, send a friendly email asking for one.

Pitch a story about something you�ve done recently to your local newspaper. Chances are good that they�re probably looking for an interesting piece of news, and local success stories are always a big hit.

Find a website or blog looking for guest contributions from industry experts. If you can write authoritatively about the topic in question, send them a pitch. You can include a link to your website in your author bio, or in the body of your contribution, as long as it�s relevant.

Create an engaging infographic and pitch it to multiple websites. They�ll attribute your website, which can be a powerful backlink if you get the graphic reposted somewhere popular!

Link someone else first. This might sound backwards, but if you include a link to someone�s content or mention them in one of your own pages or blog posts, they may notice, become aware of you, and later return the favor.

This practice of trading a free product for a review has long been utilized by some SEOs, although it's always fallen into a rather gray area of Google�s guidelines. The penalties Google leveraged to those who didn�t heed their warning demonstrate how important it is to keep up with Google news. Penalties can result in total or partial de-indexing of your content, which is detrimental to organic traffic.

It�s very important to stay up to date with Google�s Webmaster Guidelines when building backlinks. For example, Google recently handed out manual penalties to websites with �unnatural outbound link� profiles. This was a direct follow-up to the warning they had sent out weeks earlier, telling bloggers to disclose free product reviews and nofollow any outbound links regarding the product in question.