What Are Backlinks in SEO & How to Create them

Kaushal Thakkar is the Founder and MD of Infidigit. He has developed award-winning search strategies for various organizations, ranging from large enterprise and e-commerce websites to small and medium-sized businesses. Before Infidigit, he was leading digital marketing, product, and eCommerce initiatives at Myntra (a Walmart Company), Times Group, ICICI Group, Tata Group. Being an engineer and product manager in his earlier days, he loves to hack growth for websites via technical SEO strategies. He is a speaker at various forums and a Pro bono guest lecturer on Organic Search, Digital Marketing, Analytics & eCommerce. In X @

What Are Backlinks in SEO & How to Create them

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    If your website has slowly been building a repository of backlinks, you’re on the right track. Think of them as other websites “upvoting” your pages, and it’s a brilliant way to enhance your website’s online credibility.

    What are backlinks?

    Also known as inbound links, backlinks are hyperlinks from one website leading to a different site that contain additional information for the reader. If your page has been “backlinked” that means that another website considers your site to have valuable information that a reader should check out.

    Backlinks in SEO are vital because it informs Google that your website is a trusted source of information on a particular topic.

    What are Backlinks - Infidigit

    Why are Backlinks Important?

    Backlinks seem important, but why do they matter to the search engines? 

    Backlinks play a crucial role in sending a signal to search engines about the authenticity of the content on your website and its domain authority. Now, this jargon might be a little too much, so let’s break it down to a simpler explanation.

    If a resource on the web refers to your website’s content for developing something valuable, it sends out a signal to the search engines that your content is authentic. Look at it more like a referral. If you are submitting an essay and you refer to a source in it for a key piece of information, it will automatically send a message to the evaluator that the source is legit.

    Hence, as your page earns backlinks on other websites, your domain authority grows stronger. The frequency of backlinks and the legitimacy of the sites that have backlinked your site go a long way in showing its value. The more your site is backlinked by authoritative websites, the better its rankings on SERPs.

    Backlinks also have many other advantages that can carry a lot of weight in improving your website’s SEO and rankings, such as:

    • Raising Brand Awareness – Backlinks play a crucial role in raising your brand awareness amongst an untapped audience. Say a highly known website provides you with a backlink on one of their blogs. This will help your brand reach a whole new audience of the publishing website, who can turn into new potential reach, or at the very least, generate organic traffic.
    • Referral Traffic – Google Analytics records every click on the backlinks to your website and categorizes it as referral traffic. Referral traffic carries a lot of benefits with it, including lesser bounce rates, relevant search index, and much more. Hence, the more backlinks you have, the more Google will be able to know about your business, which will positively affect your SERP rankings.

    Difference between a link and a backlink

    Links, also known as hyperlinks, are items that when clicked take us to another section of the webpage or another website altogether. They are added to a content piece on the webpage and are usually made of images or texts, etc.

    Backlinks are links on a different website that link back to your website. They are created from external resources. This is an important part of SEO strategy for website ranking. When other relevant websites link to your website, search engines consider your website a reliable source and consider your content worthy for its users to read. 

    The main difference between hyperlinks and backlinks are: 

    • Hyperlinks are just HTML references created for website navigation whereas backlinks work as reference links to support the website and its content. 
    • A hyperlink allows the readers to search further whereas backlinks create relevance to the website or the website content to lead the visitors back to the website. 
    • Backlinks connect to web pages on other websites and provide context to the reader and add authenticity to the website.
    • Backlinks redirecting to a website indicate that the website has valuable content. This positively impacts organic search traffic, which ultimately improves the ranking in search engines. 

    Types of Backlinks

    Nofollow Links

    Let us assume you are Googling some information and come across a well-detailed blog. You think to thank the blogger for their insights but low and behold- you spot several other individuals linking their personal websites or other spam links. You also spot their desperate attempts to build backlinks and rank for specific keywords by piggybacking on blogs that are ranking. This activity can truly be damaging to the credibility and visibility of the blogger’s website. In order to protect against such spammy activity, Google introduced the rel=”nofollow” option in 2005 for bloggers who were struggling with the same issue.

    The nofollow element, which by definition instructs search engines not to follow the outbound link that is being labelled, essentially indicates that the website does not support the link.

    Follow Links

    Contrary to a nofollow link, a follow link is a desirable backlink that can positively influence your search engine rankings. Furthermore, more the credibility is attached to the linking site’s profile, the more credibility is delivered with the backlink. What can be referred to as positive interlinking, passes “link juice” from one site to another, letting the search engines know which websites have the most credibility among their peers. From this credibility, a search engine algorithm can establish a particular keyword’s search results, ultimately boosting your website ranking.

    Sponsored or Paid Links

    I’m sure you have spotted a label attached to the links showing up when searching a query on SERP. This label usually reads ‘Ad’, an indication of it being a sponsored link. To sum it up, a sponsored link is a paid advertisement in the form of a high-ranking results in a search engine (usually the first three links). A single click will redirect you to the advertised website, which in most cases, would serve your needs well.

    UGC Links

    There might have been situations where you were searching for public opinions on say a certain gadget or even a service. Often in such cases, you may spot links from Reddit or Quora. When such queries result in rankings from forums, blogs, or other user-generated content, these links can be deemed as User Generated Content links. Also referred to as non-sponsored links, these are the links that show up on SERP without any paid boost.

    How to Create Backlinks? 

    There are several ways to build your own backlinks in SEO or earn them. 

    • Linkable Asset

    When it comes to answering the question ‘How to create backlinks?’ linkable assets cannot be ignored. As the name suggests, linkable assets are assets used in digital marketing. They are referred to as the high-quality content pieces that attract social shares and backlinks because people relate to that content and consider it share-worthy. 

    This high-quality content helps in creating equally high-quality backlinks for promoting the content and ultimately increase the ranking of the content, driving more website visitors. This might seem easy but it is difficult to pull off because as a marketer you need to ensure that the content provides real value and should be:

    1. Focused on the audience and not the brand
    2. In-depth, well researched and long-form content 
    3. Should be useful and answer reader’s questions
    • Building Broken-links

    This method is a win-win situation because you are looking out for webmasters that have broken links, alerting them, and plugging your site in the process. Chances are, they are glad you have done them a favor, and you have got a backlink that could extend to a long-term relationship with the site. 

    • Infographics

    Who does not love a good infographic? Search engines surely do! Condensing niche and complicated information into easily digestible graphs makes your site more shareable and backlink-friendly. The odds of generating organic traffic and having news sites backlinking to your site for the simple breakdown of their complex information is high with infographics. However, keep in mind that staying topical and working with the trends will act as a catalyst.

    Infographics are also pretty transparent, so if they are full of fluff, you will be patronizing your readers, which is not ideal. A really good infographic ranks high in the shareability quotient based on gathering ample research and data on the topic at hand and translating it into a strikingly visual diagram.

    • Guest Posting 

    Some of the most effective ways to gain backlinks do not involve directly asking for links at all. Guest posting allows you to publish articles on other sites that open the platform to newer audiences and gives you the exposure you need to build your own online foundation. 

    These relationships with your expanding audience can be leveraged for backlinks over time. 

    Finding these audiences gives you a map of all the new spaces you can target to make yourself more visible. Find like-minded contributors and follow in their footsteps; it will help you understand where to find information that fits your niche and see what others like you are writing about.

    Another factor that search engines look for is whether your website is indexable and crawlable, wherein your website is evaluated on how usefully your information is assimilated to make the user’s experience more enriching.

    Building internal links by using shareable anchor text is the key to make navigation so much easier, not to mention a higher probability of getting backlinks. 

    • Testimonials

    Testimonials are very useful for marketers when they want to build brand awareness and sell their products. It simply means using the positive comments and reviews of customers and featuring them on the website. It is meant to capture word of mouth publicity in exchange for links from relevant domains. Relevancy is important here to maintain the authenticity of the testimonial. For example, a software company would not benefit from a testimonial from a flower shop in some other country. 

    • Link Reclamation

    Link reclamation is the process of finding mentions, broken or removed links to your website and updating them with URLs. It is an important part of gaining benefits from a website’s link profile. 

    It proves to be a useful way for marketers to gain SEO advantages and create backlinks by maintaining a positive user experience and building new links. 

    • Market Yourself 

    Every product, no matter how great it is, needs a bit of marketing. 

    The easiest way to market yourself is to look for keywords associated with your niche and keep up with the current bloggers doing round-ups. These sites are constantly on the lookout for great content, and emailing them with a basic introduction and requesting feedback can help you build a steady base with the right people, which will only prove beneficial over time.

    • Competitor Analysis

    One of the best ways of finding new backlink prospects is competitor analysis. Websites that link to your competitors are very likely to be relevant for your website. This helps save a lot of time in finding them, as your competitors have already done all the work. You need to find your true competitors to benefit from the competitor analysis, discover their backlinks and borrow the ones with the most potential. 

    Also Read 

    What Makes Good Backlinks? 

    Many elements make backlinks good. The most important of these elements are:

    • Being Organic 

    Backlinks should be organic, and webmasters have to consciously decide to link to your site because it actually provides value to their readers. 

    The organic approach is the best way of earning backlinks and sustaining a decent reputation over time. Unfortunately, too many sites have gone down the easy path of fooling search engines into thinking their site is actually more valuable than it is. That kind of content is often treated as spammy and can also be demoted in the search engine results in the worst of situations. 

    To avoid falling under the spam umbrella, these backlinks must be created with user intent in mind and offer value rather than come off as a promotional piece for your website.

    • Including Target Keyword in Anchor text 

    Anchor text is the visible words and characters of the link. It provides contextual information about the content of the website to the users and search engines. 

    A keyword-rich anchor text also helps websites rank higher. The link to your website should have anchor text that includes keywords, targeted and descriptive, to accurately describe the page that’s being linked. It should not be over-optimised using repetitive and keyword-rich phrases because Google might link it to black hat strategies. 

    • Being Reputable

    Gone are the days when search engines looked for only keywords. Instead, the algorithm clearly measures your site’s importance on two grounds, the number of backlinks you have acquired and the quality of the sites that have backlinks to you. 

    When both of these are fulfilled, it automatically boosts your page ranks, and your site is more likely to generate backlinks and organic traffic. This adds to your site’s “link power”, enabling you to pass it on to other pages through hyperlinks. As is the case with most earned backlinks, you do not have much say on how the anchor text pans out, so over-optimization is not important here.

    • Rel Attribute 

    The rel attribute is intended to tell the crawlers about the connection between the linking page and the linked page. An important subset here is the nofollow links, which tell the search engine that the linked page wants to have no association with the linking page. While this is not bad, it’s also not really as likely to pass authority like a sponsored or UGC link, i.e. a link without a nofollow tag. This indicates to search engines that the linked page and linking page have similar content or offerings or are related in some form.

    • Placement of the Backlink

    Any user would likely click a prominently placed link on any website. Hence, these links possess more authority than those usually placed at portions of websites like the footer section.

    If your backlink is present in a noticeable part of the main content of an authoritative website, it will likely gain more clicks. If you are able to secure a backlink from any high-ranking website, ensure that it is positioned well. A good practice to follow here is using a different font color to make it stand out. You can also use engaging anchor texts to make them more likely to be clicked on by the users.

    If the linking page offers you a backlink in a section like the sidebars where various other links are present, it is better to pursue other options as there is a significantly less chance that users will click on them.

    • Backlinks from trusted websites 

    It is quite easy to gain an inbound link for your website from an external website. However, the true testament to a good backlink is if you get it from a website that is trusted by search engines. Backlinks from websites with high domain authority can prove to be especially valuable.

    • Backlinks from relevant websites 

    Whenever a website contains a backlink to another website, search engines like to assess how both of these websites are related. For instance, if you have organized a sporting event and written a blog about it, Google will put significant weight on the backlinks obtained by the blog on the sites related to sports or sporting events. Hence, it is important to obtain backlinks from relevant sites in your own domain.

    • Dofollow Backlink 

     Dofollow backlinks help in the sharing of authority between the origin and destination sites. Acquiring dofollow backlinks can help in increasing the destination site’s domain authority and rating. This can help in improving your keyword rankings.

    How do I Check my Backlinks?   

    You can choose from two methods to check your backlinks for two different scenarios. The first method is solely for checking backlinks on websites that you own. The second method is for checking backlinks present on other web pages.

    1. Google Search Console

    Google Search Console (GSC) provides users with comprehensive reports and data about their owned websites. The data includes metrics like the website’s overall performance, organic search traffic, number of visitors, and much more. This free-to-use tool is quite efficient in checking backlinks on your website.

    All you need to do is sign-up for GSC, create your account, and verify your ownership of the website/s that you want to assess.

    Once you are signed into the account, click on the “Links” button on the sidebar, and it will show you all the external links on the URL you put into it and the total number of unique backlinks present for the said webpage.

    There are three types of reports that GSC gives you:

    • Top Linked Pages – This report provides you with the web pages that are linked the most on your website.
    • Top Linking Text – This report presents you with the most commonly used anchor texts that are used to link your website.
    • Top Linking Sites – This report lets you know the websites that have the most backlinks for your website.

    2. Third-Party Backlink Checkers

    There are many backlink checkers present on the web that you can use. One of the most efficient backlink checkers is Ahrefs. This tool can help you in finding the total backlinks, along with the best referring domains.

    Each backlink brings along the following details:

    • Domain Rating (DR) – The strength and rating of the linking website.
    • URL Rating (UR) – The strength and rating of the linking webpage where you are aiming to put your backlink.
    • Referring Pages – The web pages that link to the target.
    • Organic Traffic – The organic search traffic of the linking page to assess whether it is a frequently visited page or not.
    • Anchor Text – How strong the anchor text is and if there is scope for improvement.

    Ahrefs Site Explorer is a very comprehensive tool that can come in handy for websites wishing to surpass their competition. It shows you how many backlinks your competitors have in the domain and how well they perform for them.

    This subsequently helps websites in drafting a backlinking strategy that can elevate the competitors’ strategy to outrank them.


    Backlinking is a crucial element of any SEO strategy and has stern importance in attaining a high ranking on search engines. 

    This is where the expertise of an established SEO company like Infidigit can give you a major assist. With a diverse team of SEO professionals, Infidigit provides its clients with high-quality backlinks by using similar methods and tools as mentioned above.

    Attaining backlinks can be a daunting task and prove to be unsuccessful if not done carefully. Contact Infidigit today to know more about how we can help you upscaling your backlinks and ensure that they are as accessible and beneficial as possible.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is an example of a backlink?

    A great example of a backlink would be, Infidigit creates a backlink to SEMRush to further inform readers about a certain SEO topic.

    How do backlinks improve SEO?

    If there is one thing that the Google algorithm supports are links that offers resourceful content that is both relevant and offers valuable inputs when a search is conducted. This is perfectly true in the case of backlinks as they signal to Google that another resource finds that linked content valuable enough to link to it within their own content. That said, a website earning additional backlinks help create the impression that the website possesses valuable content that is worth ranking well on the SERPs. Therefore, we can surely say that backlinks help optimise your website for search engines.

    How many backlinks per month are good for SEO?

    While it can be difficult to predict a particular range of backlinks, the count per month varies significantly on the size of your website and its relevance. That said, however, 10 backlinks per month is safe for a new website on average. One must remember that as long as these links are built organically and with Google’s webmaster guidelines, your website should be fine. A wise idea would be to start with a low number of links and increase the quantity each month.

    Which is the most powerful type of backlink?

    When it comes to SEO, guest posting, an activity of promoting a website through a blog,  is a crucial link-building strategy. That said, guest posting backlinks are the most powerful backlinks as they will not only provide you with more “link juice” but also help you to grow your brand.

    Which backlink is the least important in SEO?

    One type of backlink that can significantly impact your ranking are paid links. Even if it is on a very small scale, buying links is still a bad idea that you must avoid at all costs. This is a type of backlink that can get your website penalised as well.

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    What Are Backlinks in SEO & How to Create them