What Are Backlinks And How Do They Help SEO?

Backlinks are the backbone of any strong SEO strategy. But don’t fall into the trap of focusing on JUST backlinks as your entire strategy. If you are new to backlinks, or have no idea what they are…no problem! This video from our SEO 101 video mini-series walks through everything you need to know about backlinks. Interested in checking out our SEO solutions? Check out our search engine optimization services here.


Have questions about SEO, or want to get started? Check out our SEO page and contact us for a free SEO Audit!


Video Transcription

backlinks. Today I’m going to be introducing the topic, what backlinks are, how they work, and how you can start to build your own backlinking strategy. Everybody, welcome back to our next video. My name is Jordan, CTO, one of the co founders here token Creative Services. Next up in our SEO video mini series is we’re going to be hitting a really important topic. And that’s going to be discussing backlinks.

Today I’m going to be introducing the topic, what backlinks are, how they work, and how you can start to build your own backlinking strategy. So get started, backlinks have a bit of a reputation around them, they tend to be the thing that everybody needs, but nobody wants to spend the time to do. And if you’re a business owner, then I almost guarantee that you have got one of these emails that typically involve somebody sending you a blog, a one pager or something for free, in exchange for posting it to your website in exchange for a link back to their website. And that is exactly what we’re talking about. That’s an example of a marketer doing a cold reach out to try to generate backlinks. And while I don’t necessarily condone that strategy, nor think it’s necessarily effective there in lies the heart of the issue backlinking it’s a very time consuming process with the perception that you need to be cold emailing or calling people just to be getting them. And that’s entirely not true. Alright, so hope you know everything you need to know about backlinks, let’s talk about what they are.


So a backlink is pretty simple. It’s a link on the internet, on a website pretty much anywhere that points back to your website. The idea being that there is something out there that points back to you. Now, let’s remember that SEO is a lot about building authority in building trust. And a backlink is one of the number one SEO search ranking factors that play into that strategy. So think of it this way. Google recognizes that when there are lots of people or lots of websites pointing to a resource, then more than likely, that resource is really strong or effective or is trusted. A backlink is the idea of getting different people and different websites all over the world to point back to your website. And in doing so they’re pointing to you in a symbolism of trust and authority. Google will look to see how many backlinks generally speaking a website will have and give them an extra level of trust or care if they do have a lot of backlinks. So typically, having a lot of backlinks is a sign of trust that there are a lot of people online showing your content. And Google will see that as a positive factor. And with those proper backlinks give you even more SEO power.


Now there are two different kinds of backlinks that we’ll talk about today, internal and external. And internal backlink is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a link within your website that points to a different piece of pages or content that’s still on your website. It’s internal, because it doesn’t really leave the context of your website or your domain. These are awesome. And this is really important, especially when it comes to Google crawling your website. So Google’s crawl boss will typically go to your website and look for something like a sitemap or just crawl your pages and look for links and the main navigation. When Google’s doing that. It’s really trying to go through and discover all of the different pages and content in your website. And as you can imagine, if your content isn’t really interconnected, or if it’s not referencing each other, then Google can have a hard time discovering all of those different pages. But think of that same concept from the workflow experience of one of your users. If a Google crawl bot can’t find all of the pages or content in your website, then how’s a user supposed to having a lot of backlinks internally is a very good thing to do. You want to be able to have pages that linked to each other, especially if you’re going to put the strategy something called pillar pages. pillar pages are a concept where you build a content strategy based on one run really, really strong article that points to dozens of different articles that all talk about a similar concept. You want to build authority and trust in the work that you’re doing. An internal backlinks are a way for you to help Google and your users find your content. If you lack in the navigation or are missing internal backlinks, this will seriously hurt your SEO. So if you’re a website owner Now, one of the easiest things that you could probably do to help improve your discoverability is to go add more links. Go add them anywhere where you can find FAQs, point back to your blog posts, and even make sure that from the contact forms or from the call to actions, then it’s really easy to get to those places where your users need to contact you.


Okay, so opposite to the internal, of course, is an external backlink. And that’s really the main concept of what we’re talking about today. An external backlink is anything outside of your website that points back to you. And these are the kind of backlinks that you really want to focus on because these are the signals that Google and other search engines use as a symbolism of trust of their and the idea is that online, every domain has no authority or reputation. These are measured by different companies like sem rush or H refs. And these are profiles built for websites, a domain that is a point scale from zero to 100. And typically what these companies will do is assess a score for different websites. Based off how strong they see their SEO profile to be the look to implementation factors such as backlinks, how long your domain has been alive for, among other factors. And this is a tough scale. Zero to 100 is something that typically takes a long time to grow.

The clients that we work with, we’re lucky if we see a one or two point increase month over month, no website is ever perfect. So on that scale of zero to 100, where 100 represents that perfect level of trust, nobody’s ever going to be perfect. Even some of the most popular websites like Facebook at the time of writing this really only have about a 98 out of 100. So Google will typically look to the number of backlinks that you have as a signal of trust. And to give you a little bit more SEO power. But know that backlinks aren’t all created equally, backlinks from trusted, highly credible sources with high domain authority or domain reputation will actually be a little bit more valuable for you in the long run. So when you think about the type of backlinks that you’re generating, don’t just think about the cheapest, freest easiest ones on really crummy websites or syndicate networks where that’s all they do. Google knows those backlinks aren’t quite as worthy, and it can understand where the context of your links are coming from. So more often than not, if you’re simply trying to create backlinks for the sake of backlinks, you might be hurting yourself more than helping.


okay friends, so to help you get a sense of what a backlink profile really looks for business, or how you can check that out, I’d recommend using the free hrs backlink check tool, it’s really simple. All you need to do is type in the domain of who I’m looking for. In this case, I’ll check out my site. As you can imagine, we might be able to check out a competitor site as well to get a sense of how competitively well they’re doing. So after a couple seconds, I’m going to get a couple of data points on my screen, that URL pulled by what h refs knows about my website and about my online presence. So number one, we have domain rating. So as I mentioned a little bit earlier, domain rating is where href sees how trustworthy I am on a point scale of zero to 100. This is a really hard add value to raise. As you can imagine, we’ve got 35 rating. And we’ve been at this for a couple years now. The higher domain ratings, the better. And this is another signal again that we’ll see on other websites. So websites giving my website a backlink that have a high domain rating are only going to be more valuable for me in the long run. Next, perhaps the obvious one that we would really be looking for is how many backlinks Do I have.


So you might notice that different websites count backlinks a little bit differently. And so different tools might give you a different number. But as long as you stay consistent with the tool that you’re using a couple backlinks here, there shouldn’t be too big of a deal. So you can see here that in total, our team has about 1066 backlinks, which is really good. We’re proud of that number. But as you can imagine, really large agencies that have been doing this for a year probably have 10s of 1000s here. Now an important factor to think about when it comes to backlinks is a value called do follow. So when you add a link, you can add a little attribute to its that says Do I follow this link or do I not follow it. There are some different values in SEO that I won’t go into too much here that ultimately determine how that impacts your backlinks profile. Ideally, you’ll have more follow links then do not follow links, but you want an even mixture of both. And then finally, referring domains. So this is not this is different to backlinks because unlike how many backlinks I have in total, this is how many different unique websites are sending traffic to me. So this number is much higher. And typically we would expect this. And in our example, if we have one client’s website that we’ve built, and that client say has 100 pages, or maybe like a small 10 page website, we get credit for all 10 pages when as long as we have our link in their footer. So if I have a link in there, and they have, let’s say 100 pages only have one referring domain, but a little bit of getting about 100 backlinks from that in total. Now getting 100 backlinks from the same website isn’t as amazing as getting 100 backlinks from 100 different websites, but it’s still good. And then finally, what you can see here, and this is just a preview because you’d be using the free scanner is one of those backlinks physically.


So this is really awesome, because you can physically come in here and actually take a look at the different websites all around the internet that are pointing back to your website. And it’s really helpful as well too, because as a marketer, I can come in here and start to understand, you know, who is the most trusted website that we’re linking to? Can I reengage them or maybe there’s a really, really low website that I want to get out of there with. So it’s really simple. You can see here that you’ll find out the recruiting page that your link can actually be found on. In this case, this is natural site reg.


This is the SEO company that we’ve been talking about for the last couple videos, you can see their domain rating it then you can see a URL rating there as well. You can see a little bit of information about how many referring domains that they have themselves. And then finally, you can actually see a little bit about the link itself. So in this case, we built this client’s website and help manage all of their marketing. So in this case of this, this is an image base backlink and this is the text that it physically reads inside of there. And this is the website that goes to now if I quickly open up their website, I can show you that if I scroll all the way to the bottom This is what I’m talking about. This is a backlink that we’re analyzing right now. And this appears on all of the NSR websites that we can appear. And if I were to click to edit it, you can see that the text would just be our text that we can see in here. And so this is awesome. This is just a really easy way for you to check in all of your backlinks. If you find this helpful, I would definitely recommend paying for the paid version of H refs, because not only that, you can see all of your backlinks. So this backlink check tool is really awesome.


And I would recommend as a very first step, use this as a benchmark before you start anything, write down these values, count how many backlinks that you have, and work towards a goal or a strategy that makes sense for your business. Alright, the golden question, how exactly can I generate backlinks? What does a backlink strategy look like? That’s a very good question. So let’s start with the easy one. Internal backlinks. Just like I mentioned before, internal backlinks are as easy as building additional links onto your pages. If your blog strategies are going off right now, that might be the perfect opportunity. What I would recommend is creating a series of blog posts that are all interconnected, perhaps find a common topic like search engine optimization, and build a series of blogs, or perhaps videos that all talk about the different topics that somebody might need to know about that, make sure that they all point back to each other such that anybody reading one of your blog posts can easily find some of the other content that you might have out there as well. If you go down this strategy, I might recommend creating something called a pillar page. A pillar page is a single large page that links out to other sub topics for more information. This was something really popular a few years ago and really solid for SEO was. The other way to generate backlinks internally is to simply just have those links on your pages. If you’re not really looking at your primary navigation, that might be the easiest way to start. When the Google crawl bots land on your website, they’re looking at the navigations to specifically know what are the most important pages that I shouldn’t be looking at.


So if you have really important content, then I would seriously recommend put that in the primary navigation at the very top level of your website. Google’s gonna see that and make sure that that’s one of the first and most important pages they crawl. I’m sure a lot of us have seen on different ecommerce websites, the amount of navigation sometimes that they have, they’ll have a primary navigation for some of the most popular products or just the list of their general categories. And then below that they’ll even have some subcategories or sub topics. Sometimes we’ll see two or three navigations in while I think there’s a rhyme or reason from an experience perspective to do we’ll have that much navigation, there’s a value in SEO and being able to do that as well. Having important pages in that navigation not only makes it easier for Google to crawl, but also make sure that Google knows that this is really important content that we need them to see. Alright, external backlinks. So as I mentioned before, external backlinks and trying to get them has a bit of a perception because we all get those cold emails and they’re never really all that helpful. So recognize that pain point in the way other people do it and try to find a more effective solution. Let’s be honest, cold emails are impersonal, sometimes irrelevant, and they might not make sense for the industry that we’re in. So it’s a very first step. And this might sound kind of obvious Chicka where your competitors are doing. I find more often than not generating backlinks is about giving something valuable to people something that they might actually be interested in. Think about it in the way of really helpful blog posts, one pagers, toolkits, media kits, press release kits, anything like that, that you can think of people need to find this content or what you want to give them helpful. And in exchange of that, typically you can get something like a backlink. But don’t think of a backlink just like a here’s a link, let me get that you have to build trust with these brands. build a relationship better yet build a partnership with these businesses, and help align yourself to make sure that you can solve their users needs and get free backlinks in return. And backlinks can seriously be anything. They can be text, they can be images on different websites. In the case of our team, because we make so many awesome websites. Every time we turn on a new product, we make sure to put a little image that says created by token Creative Services right in that client’s footer. And as you can imagine, that’s a really easy example of a backlink. Anytime you go to one of our clients websites, you’ll find that Google will see that as a backlink, give us a little bit of extra SEO juice with that. And not only that, if anybody ever sees a website they really like it might be interested in one, they know how to find us. So I think one of the easiest ways that I might recommend getting started with backlinking is to check out your local business directories. Think about Chamber of Commerce is better business bureau, even places like Yelp, there are hundreds and I mean hundreds and hundreds of regional specific industry specific niche specific citation directories. Sometimes they’re just business maps. And while you might not find a lot of helpful information on those websites yourself, giving your business a profile on there is extremely important. And a lot of these places are free. But if you ever noticed that there are a couple business directories that either ask you to pay or perhaps they’re paying Due to random reviews, those might be a little bit more difficult for businesses to plan. But I would seriously recommend those typically more premium solutions or solutions that validate the reviews that are coming in, are seen as a little bit more trusted and a little bit more authoritative. One super quick word of warning, if you end up going through the exercise of adding your business to local business directories.


My one word of caution that I’ll mention there is to make sure that your name, your address, and your phone number are always going to be consistent. The challenge with Google is that you might appear in 100 places online. But what if that information like your telephone number, or your email is different in all those places? How is Google better yet? Anybody else supposed to know? How do people get in touch with you, and you’d be surprised, but the consistency of your email address and your telephone number is an extremely important factor for Google. So make sure that if you ever change your address, or change your phone number, that you go back to all of these places, and change it in there as well. There’s lots of awesome free tools or even paint tools online that help you manage this sort of thing. So if this sounds a little bit time consuming, that’s because it is. But there are awesome tools or agencies that can help you out with this kind of thing. So make no doubt about it. backlinks are an extremely important part of your SEO strategy. And they honestly they shouldn’t be neglected.


You know, at the end of the day, SEO is about authority and trust. And building helpful content. Having people use that content are the easiest ways to signal that to search engines like Google or Bing. One word of caution that’ll give you though, is a lot of mistakes that beginners tend to make is they focus on just backlinks as their SEO strategy. And while that I think that’s important, you should never be working with an agency or a team on just your backlink strategy. Doing so would be omitting easily the other half of everything that you need to worry about on your website, like the technical optimization and your keywords and the actual content itself. So yes, backlinks are hugely important, but don’t waste your time getting those cheap, ineffective backlinks and certainly look at the look at your process holistically. Neglecting other parts of your SEO strategy will ultimately leave you wanting more at the end of those months. Okay, friends, well, I hope you learned a little bit of backlinks and I hope you have a sense of how you might be able to start getting backlinks for your own business now. We’re going to be back for our next SEO video topic. We’re going to be talking all about keywords, keyword research and how to check out what your competitors are doing. Thanks for watching our video. If you’re interested in some SEO services, or perhaps looking for a free SEO audit, all of our links for contacts will be in the descriptions below or in the post.


Thanks for watching.

Related Articles

SEO booster indicators

SEO Boosters: 8 User Experience Signals for Higher Rankings!

User experience is the key for business owners to generate more traffic, engagement time, ...
SEO Tracking - Key Metrics for Business Owners to Track

SEO Tracking: Key Metrics for Business Owners to Track

If you are a business owner, you must know how important it is to ...

Let Us help you!

Have a question for our team? Want to learn more about what we offer? Already know what your company needs and just want to have a conversation with us?


Let Us help you!

Have a question for our team? Want to learn more about what we offer? Already know what your company needs and just want to have a conversation with us?