Backlinks 101 – Why You Need Links to Win SEO

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Here’s what you need to know about “backlinks”: links from other websites to your website are extremely important for organic search traffic.

What are Backlinks?

Backlinks are simply links from websites that “link back” to your website.

How Do Backlinks Help Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

Google’s algorithm was built on links. The original idea for Google was if a website has a lot of links from other websites, it must be important. Google combined the number and quality of links with what words were linked (“anchor text”) to create the search engine.

The Google search engine has two important features that help it produce high precision results. First, it makes use of the link structure of the Web to calculate a quality ranking for each web page. Second, Google utilizes link to improve search results.
- The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine by Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page

Google algorithm has evolved far beyond relying solely on links but links are at the core of how Google works.   

What is Anchor Text?

Anchor text is the phrase used in a link. If I were talking about the best air purifiers, then “best air purifiers” would be the anchor text. Anchor text is extremely important for letting Google know what the link is about. 


Authority is a broad term used to generally describe the importance of a website. Authority is measured in different ways by different SEO tools (ahrefs has Domain Rating, Moz has Domain Authority, and SEMRush has Authority Score). Acquiring links from higher authority sites generally passes more authority or “link juice” to your site. 

Nofollow vs. Dofollow Links

Links can be designated to tell Google to pass no authority to the linked website. In a link such as:

<a href=”” rel=”nofollow>example</a>

The link above is not followed by Google.

Links are by default “dofollow”.


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