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What Is Backlink & How Does It Affect SEO?

updated on Jan 07, 2015
What Is Backlink & How Does It Affect SEO? Backlink should be a frequently mentioned term when the topic comes to SEO (search engine optimization). With the purpose to offer basic guidance to beginners in this field, we work out this tutorial to explain what is a backlink, and to make clear of the importance of backlinks to an effective SEO strategy.

What Is Backlink?

Backlinks refer to the links on other sites that point to your website, also called as inboundlinks, incoming links, and so on. Any link that is received by your web page, domain or category from another domain, page or directory is regarded as a backlink.

The number of backlinks to your website indicates the popularity and importance of your site, and those links from authoritative websites are more than useful, labeling your site as a trustful resource for a certain topic. Besides, quality backlinks drive significant traffic to your site as they give more opportunities for people to visit your website, especially when they are on popular websites with relevant topics.

How Does a Backlink Affect SEO?

How Does a Backlink Affect SEO Besides the influence on website traffic, backlinks also play an important role in SEO, because most search engines especially Google rank websites with more quality inbound links higher than those with little or no good backlinks. Therefore, websites obtaining relevant incoming links from quality resources are more likely to acquire good search engine rankings as the search engines consider them to be much more relevant to the keyword that is searched for.

Search engines often regard the number of backlinks as an important factor to measure the website's popularity, importance and search engine rankings. For example, Google considers each link from other sites as a vote to your website, so when your site gets more votes, it gains higher score from Google.

How to Get Quality Backlinks?

After learning the benefits that backlinks bring to your site, it's time to know how to get quality backlinks. In the following, we have listed some popular methods.

Tip 1: Try PR Releases.
One of the easiest and greatest ways of getting quality backlinks is to submit press releases. As press release websites get your content distributed to hundreds of or even thousands of news sites, you can easily get backlinks from those sites. Moreover, if your content is written with high quality and value, it may also be picked up by well-known news sites, which brings much more exposure to your site.

Remember that your press releases should focus on an attractive or newsworthy topic and contain a link to your site in the body. As there are many choices of press release sites, you'd better choose a reputable one that does contribute to SEO and offers record tracking to help you know the detailed record of each release.

Tip 2: Using Social Bookmarking and Networking Websites.
Using Social Bookmarking and Networking Websites The large number of social bookmarking websites are excellent opportunities that you should not miss. As the websites usually maintain high PageRank, when you submit your site to them, you get backlinks that matter to search engines. Some free and dofollow social bookmarking websites are of high value in building an effective backlink strategy.

Building social networking profiles is also a good opportunity as you can insert links to your site into the description or brief biography. When the profiles are popular and the contents you share are favored by a large number of people, the value of the backlinks increases.

Tip 3: Make Use of the Opportunity of Guest Blogging or Posting.
Guest blogging is a secure and effective way that gets backlinks of high value and authority to your website. If you post on a website that has always been publishing fresh and quality content and is always trusted by search engines like Google, you can rest assured that the backlinks brought by your post will certainly help in SEO.

You can search for guest blogging opportunities by contacting with the administrators of the target websites, or you can also have a try on some other methods. One of the effective ways is to search for the posts that link to resources that have been removed or websites that have been shut down.

For those posts with topics related to your business, you can post a sincere comment to advise the administrators to replace the old resource with yours. If your post is of high quality, it is probable that the website would pick it up.

Tip 4: Submit Valuable Materials to Document Sharing Websites.
Submit Valuable Materials to Document Sharing Websites This is a simple but efficient way that is ignored by many people. To try this method, you can convert some of your blog posts to PDF files, upload them to document sharing sites, and then leave backlinks to the related materials on your site. Usually, it only takes a few minutes to get everything right.

As many document sharing websites gain trust from search engines, the links from these sites are defined as being authoritative and valuable. And most importantly, most websites in this kind provide you with dofollow links.

Tip 5: Post and Answer Questions in High Quality Forums.
Firstly, you need to find some well-ranked forums with the relevant or same topics as your website. Secondly, create your own forum signatures with a link to your website, so that whenever you participate in an activity in the forum, the link exposes to the public.

When you have created an account in a forum, you'd better start relevant threads with links to your website or certain pages/posts. To be more involved in the forum, you can even take part in resolving issues for others. The answers are also opportunities for backlinks. In addition, when you have made some friends in forums, it is probably that they are willing to put a link of your site to their websites.

Tip 6: Avoid Improper Use of Backlinks.

Although backlinks are great, this does not mean that you should put as many inbound links as possible to your site and ignore where they are from and how they are placed elsewhere. Too many unnatural links that are regarded to be irrelevant to the page content do not contribute to better SEO, and instead, sometimes they even hurt the rankings of your site.

As search engines now have more strict criteria on determining the value of backlinks, those low-quality links on the pages that are created only to offer inbound links can form a link farm which causes your site to be punished. Therefore, when you build a linking strategy, you should attach more importance to the quality instead of placing the only focus on number.

How to Determine the Value of Backlinks?

How to Determine the Value of Backlinks The value of incoming links is calculated from 2 main factors. The first one is the source of the links, which means that the better and more popular the originating site is, the more valuable the links are to search engine rankings. If the link is from an authoritative site on a certain topic and there are related contents on the topic on both the site and your site, it will be highly favored by search engines.

Another factor is the anchor text of the backlinks. Search engine spiders usually detect the anchor text of a link to determine the relevance between the link and the webpage content. When the anchor text is contextual and natural in the content, the link is considered to be with high quality. Search engines like this kind of links.

Best Free Website Backlink Checker

After knowing the importance and the methods to get backlinks, now it's time to use the backlink checkers for better management. As it is hard to track each backlink of your site manually, a good backlink checker brings the convenience to check and analyze the links easily, which helps to perfect your strategies. In the following, we have listed some top options.

Majestic SEO

Majestic SEO is a professional service designed for SEO experts, large businesses, developers and anyone else desiring optimization opportunities brought by links. The service is claimed to maintain the largest link index database which contains fresh index data of nearly 200 million crawled URLs and huge historic index statistics of over 700 million crawled URLs in the past 6 years.

Majestic SEO comes with a backlink history tool which allows users to detect the inbound links on the given domains and subdomains, and compare up to 5 domains at the same time to discover the value of each link and domain. The service has both free and paid plans, among which you can have a try on the free plan for site exploring and backlink checking, and then make a upgrade for more features if necessary.

Best Free Website Backlink Checker - Majestic SEO


Ahrefs has kept a huge index of incoming links updated every 15 minutes. With over 360,000 registered users, Ahrefs provides people with a rich-featured backlink checker with a user-friendly interface and rich data analysis tools. Using the service, you are able to check the inbound links, linking domains, anchor texts, and the best pages of a certain domain to evaluate the value.

When you type into your domain or a URL, Ahrefs checks and collects the data and presents a single table with all results included. You are able to get knowledge of the number of backinks, social metrics, referring domains and more, sort the metrics, and export them. The backlinks report tool allows you to create detailed reports for both the domains you own and those of your competitors'.

Best Free Website Backlink Checker - Ahrefs

Monitor Backlinks

Monitor Backlinks offers a large number of tools to ease your life in dealing with incoming links. It connects with your Google Analytics account and sends you email notifications when your site gets new links or loses existing links. Also, it sends new links of your site on a regular basis, reports the broken ones, represents the statistics of your competitors, and makes suggestions on the building of a backlink profile.

With the tools, you are able to analyze all the links to see which ones are valuable to your SEO strategy thus to adjust your SEO and marketing plans. In this way, you can soon gain better search engine rankings and much more traffic. The checker is a right choice for both professionals and newbies, free for 30 days and then requiring a fee for using.

Best Free Website Backlink Checker - Monitor Backlinks

Link Popularity

Link Popularity from Web SEO Analytics is an easy-to-use tool for getting a view of the backlinks of your site. After you enter the URL of your site and the checking is finished, you are able to get a detailed report about the number of the backlinks, and the exact URLs that have links to your site. This helps you get information about the number and quality of your site backlinks.

With the report, you can carry out in-depth analysis, and also compare them with those of your competitors'. In addition to Link Popularity, Web SEO Analytics also offers a backlink analyzer which allows you to analyze the links on a particular page, analyze the linking strategy of your competitors and evaluate the quality of links. Also, you can analyze the anchor text and no-follow status.

Best Free Website Backlink Checker - Link Popularity

SEO SpyGlass

SEO SpyGlass is developed with the aim to help you find all the data you need to set up a good link building strategy. With more than 500,000 users worldwide, it monitors backlinks and helps you analyze and compare all the links that point to your website. There is a large backlink index available.

Within the customizable reports, you are able to take advantage of the details to identify the best link opportunities, build effective link strategies, keep your link profile away from harmful links, and analyze the quality of backlinks from 50+ factors that affect SEO. The reports are available in both the HTML format and a downloaded PDF file.

Best Free Website Backlink Checker - SEO SpyGlass