Backlinks: Definition, relevance and research

Backlinks (also known as inbound links, incoming links or backlinks) are links from other websites to pages on your website. Google and other major search engines consider such links as quality indicators for the pages that receive such inbound links. Pages with a large number of quality backlinks generally have a high position in the organic rankings.

Why are backlinks important?

Backlinks are indirect reviews from other websites. Each of these votes tells the search engines: "The linked content is valuable, credible and useful, otherwise it would not be linked". So the more of these links you have, the higher your website will be ranked by Google and other search engines.

The use of links in a search engine algorithm is nothing new. In fact, backlinks formed the basis of Google's original PageRank algorithm. They were a determining factor for the ranking - and still are today. Google itself has confirmed that backlinks are still one of the three most important ranking factors for the search engine and therefore for search engine optimization.

Nowadays, however, it is more about class than quantity. In the past, it was only important to collect or even buy as many backlinks as possible. Today, however, it is no longer necessary to have a large number of backlinks, but rather those that come from high-quality, trustworthy sources.

How do you find good backlink providers?

The acquisition of backlinks is an essential part of off-page search engine optimization. The process of generating such links is described as link-earning or link-building.

Some backlinks are inherently more valuable than others. Links from trusted, popular websites with high authority that are also in the same subject area as the link-earning pages are the most SEO-strong.

Building such backlinks can be very time-consuming. Beginners often don't know where to start. A very good starting point is competitor-oriented backlink research: by examining the backlink profile (the collection of pages and domains that link to a website) of key competitors, you can gain useful insights into your link building requirements.

There are various backlink tools available for this purpose. These help you in detail to uncover links that your competitors are receiving. You can then target the relevant domains in your own link earning campaigns.

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