The relationship between SEO and backlinks is very much similar to that of bread and butter – you cannot have one element without the other. You still can, except that one element won’t taste great without the other. This is one of the reasons why hardly any SEO conversation concludes without backlinks being mentioned. It is common knowledge that it’s near impossible to rank highly without them. So what makes backlinks so important? Here is why these small virtual connections are so critical to a website’s ranking in Google’s organic search:
1. Google finds new pages through backlinks
Just like we would use maps to find new locations in a city or countryside, Google spiders utilize backlinks to locate new pages, and index pages of any website. Ponder over this: a small city in the countryside with no link to a big city would be harder to find but another similarly small city connected to a bigger city is easier to locate – why? Well, that means having a link to an authority figure makes you benefit from that figure’s influence. Therefore, furnishing your site with plenty of backlinks from authority sites drastically places you in the limelight.
Since backlinks are Google’s navigation tool, adding a lot of them to a website reduces the average time the SEO would begin showing a success.
2. Google uses backlinks as a reputation management tool
The main aim of Google’s algorithm is to point visitors in the right direction – the direction with best and most relevant results for their queries. The algorithm will try as hard as possible not to point the visitors to sites that provide irrelevant and worthless information. That means the algorithm will only point the visitors to popular websites – simply because popular sites can be trusted and have a good reputation.
To contextualize this, try out yourself. Of these sites, which would you trust easily? A website with just 4 backlinks or another with 300+ backlinks? You’ll definitely pick the second option. Google would easily decide the same way.
3. Relevant backlinks help boost the credibility of your website
Consider the case of a book publishing house with a backlink profile full of inbound links sourced from book publishing news and publishing blogs, you’re more likely to think the publisher’s site is more credible. If other entities in the industry are actively linking to the publisher’s content, it’s easy to assume that the publisher is sharing some valuable information on the website.
However, if the publisher were to have a backlink profile full of links from irrelevant sources, say, food blogs or pet websites, or if the profile is relevant but less robust, the effect would be opposite. So, Google’s algorithm would examine if the site is really authoritative in the publishing industry, and if not, the rankings of the site would drop.
4. Backlinks direct traffic to your website
Google Search is less likely to trust a site that receives minuscule or no traffic. Backlinks are a juicy source of referral traffic and such traffic helps place your site up in the SERP. It doesn’t matter where the backlink is located – it can be in a directory list, social media shares, freelance bloggers, or guest post submission – anybody would land on your site if they clicked your backlink.
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