What Exactly Are Back Links and What Do They Have to do with SEO?
Backlinks are links that are directed towards your website. Also known as Inbound links. The number of backlinks is an indication of the popularity or importance of that website. Backlinks are important for SEO because some search engines, especially Google, will give more credit to websites that have a good number of quality backlinks, and consider those websites more relevant than others in their results pages for a search query. Be careful though and don’t ever purchase back links and block the address of anyone claiming to sell them. If you own a business and you have money invested in your website, and then you buy a link package ( that’s really just a link farm ), you could spend another additional year cleaning up this profile after it negatively affects your site’s position in search. These types of backlinks do not benefit SEO and can do the opposite and penalize the site more than if it had zero backlinks. Most of the time, zero backlinks is better than 500 from a link farm.
Backlinks Are Important, But …
When search engines calculate the relevance of a site to a keyword, they consider the number of good quality inbound links to that site. So we should not be satisfied with getting any inbound links, and must always keep in mind that it is the quality of the link that is what really matters. Most major search engines consider the content of the sites (that link to yours) to determine the relevancy and the quality of a backlink. When inbound links to your site come from other sites, and those sites have similar content to your site, they are considered more relevant to your site. If inbound links are found on sites with unrelated or irrelevant content, they are considered less quality. The higher the relevance of your inbound links as far as your site, the greater their quality will be and vice versa.
Search engines prefer websites to have a level playing field, and look for natural links built slowly over a period of time. Links on directory sites do little to nothing for your position in search. If you do notice a change after buying a premium directory liting, it’s most likely unrelated. Search engines are much smarter than that now.
Back Links for SEO Going into 2016
Expect Google to get even tougher as far as the criteria for what they consider “quality inbound links” going into 2016. Thanks to webmasters trying to achieve ranking by deceptive Black Hat or sneaky techniques, such as with hidden links, or automatically generated pages whose sole purpose is to provide inbound links to websites. These pages are called link farms, and the links from these sites are ignored by most major search engines and have little to no ranking power. Yet, linking to a link farm could get your site penalized and removed from the first page. Trying to manipulate search engine rankings with backlinks is a waste of time and money at best, and potentially damaging to your SEO at worst. I wouldn’t bother trying.