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What Is a Backlink?

Backlinking is a SEO strategy that helps increase website traffic.
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  • Originally Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Revised By: A. Joseph
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 29 November 2014
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"Backlink" is a term that refers to links that point to a website or webpage from another website. This type of link also might be called an inlink or incoming link. Backlinks on other sites can increase a website's traffic. They also are tools used in search engine optimization (SEO), because the number and quality of backlinks that point to a website's often plays a role in the site's rank among search results.

Linking

A link allows an Internet user to click on it to navigate to or open a different webpage. When the webpage that is opened is on a completely different website from the one where the link appeared, the link would be considered a backlink for that new site. The backlink might appear as a uniform resource locator (URL), also called an Internet address or web address, or it might be a word or phrase that has the link embedded. The word or phrase usually will be highlighted in some way, such as in bold type or underlined, to let the reader know that it can be clicked on to follow a link.

Importance of Backlinks

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Website owners often try to increase the number of visitors that their sites receive by increasing the number of backlinks to their sites. There are several ways that backlinks can be created. All of them might increase a site's traffic, simply because Internet users will have more opportunities to click on links to the site, but not all types of backlinks will improve a site's search engine ranking. This is because most search engines will evaluate the quality of the backlink based on things such as the popularity and nature of the site from which it originates. For example, a backlink from a website that exists only to provide backlinks to other sites — usually for a fee — is unlikely to improve a site's search engine ranking.

Link Exchanges

One way for a website owner to increase the number of backlinks that his or her site has is by creating partnerships with website owners whose sites are focused on similar topics and exchanging links. For example, someone whose website focuses on techniques for making flower arrangements might seek to partner with websites for florists, gardening stores, wedding boutiques and home décor shops. By linking to these websites on his or her site in exchange for those sites linking to his or her site, the owner of the flower arrangement website will increase the site's number of backlinks and will provide backlinks for the partner sites. Although this type of link exchange is popular among websites that focus on similar topics, it is unlikely for competing websites that focus on the same topic or have the same purpose to provide backlinks to each other.

Reviewers and Aggregators

Sites that review other websites or aggregate news or interesting items are another source of backlinks. These sites often will summarize a news story, blog post or webpage, then provide a link to it. Others look for interesting websites, review them and provide links to them. Many of the websites that provide these backlinks allow website owners to submit websites for review or allow Internet users to suggest webpages and other items to be aggregated. Personal blogs can serve a similar purpose and are another source of backlinks, especially when the blog's topic is related to the website to which the link points.

Commenting

Some website owners create backlinks by linking to their sites in comments on related webpages. For example, the owner of a website for an auto repair shop might comment on a webpage that has a new item about cars and could include a link to his or her site. It can take time to create backlinks this way, but this method can be effective.

Link Spamming

There are some websites and services that will charge a fee to increase the number of backlinks for a site. Some of these websites will disguise themselves as news sites or other commercial sites in order to keep search engines from diminishing the value of the backlinks. Backlink services often will engage in what is called link spamming — placing links on as many websites as possible, no matter what the purpose or quality of those websites is. For example, a computer program can randomly "crawl" the Internet automatically place links on any webpages that allow it to post a comment, even if the link has nothing to do with that webpage. Most search engines will try to prevent these types of backlinks from affecting their search result page rankings.

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Discuss this Article

anon929471
Post 42

Sites that review other websites or aggregate news or interesting items are another source of backlinks. These sites often will summarize a news story.

One way for a website owner to increase the number of backlinks that his or her site has is by creating partnerships with website owners whose sites are focused on similar topics

anon356140
Post 41

You will often get better linking by linking your URL to your name/profile in your comment, rather than actually typing out your URL.Finally, the way I did it is generally considered spammy and not best practices, but it happens in competitive markets.

cthompson
Post 27

Great site! I too, am new at this. I've just started creating my web site and it's a work in progress. I understand the need to start getting back-links but am confused as to the mechanics of doing so. By that I mean: if I sign up for a blog, website, or forum, where and how do I enter my web site URL so that it can be found by the search engines and classified as a backlink? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

anon238756
Post 25

Wisegeek has done it again! For anyone wanting quality, organic and best of all, free traffic to their website, backlinking is an absolute must! And you don't have to be an SEO expert to apply this. It just takes a little hard work and determination.

Research your sites well and make sure they are high ranking, quality content sites that are applicable and correlate with your own, then keep consistent and repeat the process. Even if you are pushed for time, and hour a day should see you being able to link to 10 sites. That's 300 quality backlinks a month, folks!

Best wishes and get linking! --Andy B.

anon230364
Post 24

Well I have a few questions, as I don't understand this.

If I like, say, post my website, in any website will I then get backlinks to it? And how do I do the link to the website? I didn't understand that part.

inretrospect
Post 23

I'm so glad that I stumbled on this. A very informative and useful blog. In short, just perfect for a little old lady of 65 who is definitely non-tech savvy like my younger counterparts. I blog because I love to write. Thank you for putting up this site. Will be coming back every time I got a question in my little head. Thank you and bless you!

anon193590
Post 19

Very simple and straight to the point. Also when backlinking and leaving a comment, make sure you write something nice on the other person's blog/website or something that would be useful to them. Just saying a simple thank you or I agree with what you saying will only cause you to fall in line with the other people who are commenting. Be different and unique to earn credibility.

anon154211
Post 16

I'm trying to get my head around this - are you saying that if I were to write a comment here and say that I think this is a great article (which it is!) and that I think it is really important to help people using online platforms and social media to get their content and website to the top of google by making comments on someones articles that are relevant and then I say something along the lines of I am a social media trainer and share free content and videos to help people use facebook and social media for business success on my website at and then add my website address here (that you do not allow me to do) does that count as a backlink?

Thanks for your help. --Carol

anon143579
Post 13

Thanks for your great information sharing.

anon135633
Post 12

RE: link threading: How in the world can I post a link to my site "on someone else's blog"? And on top of that, "usually in the text of my blog"! Please clarify. I am totally, wholly confused.

anon126864
Post 11

I think I am glad to find this site! I am new at the website game and find myself totally confused at times. This website has helped me to understand more and realize I have a lot more to learn! Thanks. David

anon110407
Post 6

I'm so glad I finally took the time to find the answer to this question. Clear and concise info that I was able to easily understand. Thanks.

anon109997
Post 5

Thanks for this information. You made my day --Uzo

anon94903
Post 3

clear and helpful, thanks.

anon87432
Post 2

Thanks for this information. It really helped. --

AJ

Ajithmani
Post 1

thanks friend. your information was very nice and very full of information.

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