Why do backlinks play such an important role in SEO?

Last updated December 5th, 2023 23:08

If you’ve ever dealt with optimizing your website for search engines, you’ve probably come across the topic of backlinks. Backlinks are indeed a fundamental building block in any search engine optimization. So, why do backlinks play such an important role in SEO? Let’s try to briefly explain that in this article. Ultimately, you don’t necessarily have to search for something overly complex in backlinks. It’s just a matter of understanding their role in how search engines assess your domain.

Proč hrají zpětné odkazy tak důležitou roli v SEO?

Why do backlinks play such an important role in SEO?

First, let’s explain what a backlink actually is. In SEO, a backlink signifies that someone found your website’s content interesting. So much so that they reference you in their article. Here’s an example: Suppose you have a cooking blog with an excellent recipe for goulash. Now, an author on another blog about organic farming writes an article about beef. In the section discussing cooking beef, they use beef goulash as an example and link back to your recipe on your blog. That reference from the author’s site to your content creates a backlink. Simple, right?

In short, a backlink is a type of reference that directs attention to your website’s content, whether it’s a specific article, a page, or the entire blog.

Why are these links important?

Among many other factors, search engines evaluate something known as the website’s authority. When your site receives links from other reputable websites, the search engine sees it as a sign of trust in your content. To illustrate this point again, it’s like when a friend recommends a restaurant to you. Usually, you trust their recommendation, assuming the restaurant must cook well even without having tasted anything there.

Search engines work similarly. If they notice multiple links from various other websites pointing to your site, they automatically assume that other internet users perceive your content as high-quality and relevant to the given topic. Essentially, thanks to these backlinks, other users enhance the authority and reputation of your name.

Quality vs Quantity

Just like everywhere else, certain rules apply to backlinks as well. The first and most important rule states that quality takes precedence over quantity. In SEO, it’s not about whether you have thousands or just dozens of backlinks. What matters is the quality of the website linking back to you.

Let’s illustrate this with an example, or better yet, two examples. At the end, we can discuss which one is more suitable for SEO.

In the first example, imagine a website with a thousand backlinks. However, all these links come from sites with poor quality. Some sites don’t function properly, others are packed with ads and spam, some are infected with viruses, and the list goes on. In this case, you have a large number of backlinks, but they originate from sites with very low-quality content. One could say these sites are rather toxic.

In the second example, you only have 100 backlinks, but they come from reputable websites with high-quality content and substantial traffic. Compared to the first example, you have only a tenth of the backlinks, but the websites linking to you are highly relevant to internet users, and their content resonates within the community.

You probably already have an inkling of which example would be better for SEO. Of course, it’s the second one. In the second example, although you have only a fraction of the backlinks compared to the first example, their value and impact are significantly stronger. That’s why in the realm of backlinks, we emphasize that it’s not about quantity but quality. Sometimes, having many backlinks from low-quality websites can even be detrimental. Such links are referred to as toxic.

Why do backlinks play such an important role in SEO?

How can you build quality backlinks?

Let’s now move on to how you can actually build such high-quality backlinks. There are several possibilities:

  • Firstly, you need quality and relevant content that will be valuable to your readers, compelling them to link back to your site on their own pages.
  • Engage with communities interested in the topics you write about. You can contribute to various discussion forums where users discuss relevant subjects. You can have a link to your website in your account description or contribute articles discussing the current topic of the forum.
  • Write articles for external websites. Many sites allow authors to contribute articles on specific topics, enabling you to increase visibility for yourself and your website.
  • Collaborate with other websites. Many website authors have sections where they link to interesting websites and topics that caught their attention. Reach out to them.
  • Be active on social media. Establishing a page for your website on social networks can be beneficial. Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram could be ideal platforms.

Can backlinks be monitored in any way?

Certainly. There are many tools available for monitoring backlinks. Among the basic tools with limited capabilities is Google Analytics, where you can see referring websites. Various extensions for content management systems offer similar capabilities, working on the same principles as Analytics.

These tools monitor your users according to server logs, collecting various statistics. These statistics include not only geographic locations but also the topics and articles users visited, how long they stayed on a page, and, importantly, how they found their way to you (from a referring website, via social media, etc.).

If you’re interested in a professional tool for backlink monitoring falling under the paid category, you can use a sophisticated tool like SEMRUSH. This tool, available at the website address https://semrush.com, allows you to practically find out everything about the backlinks to your website.

What is the difference between a Dofollow and a Nofollow backlink?

Dofollow and nofollow links are two different ways a webmaster or site administrator can insert a link into their content.

  • Dofollow links: These are links that allow search engines like Google to track the linked page and transfer authority from one page to another. This means that when a dofollow link from another page points to your website, a portion of that page’s authority is passed on to your site.
  • Nofollow links: On the other hand, nofollow links prevent search engines from tracking the linked page and do not transfer authority or assessment of the linked website. These links are marked with a special attribute ‘rel=nofollow’ in the HTML code and are used when the website owner doesn’t want to transfer authority to the linked page. This could be due to advertising or unverified content.

Nofollow links are often used in blog comments, links to social media, or for links that have a promotional nature. Dofollow links are more common when there’s a desire to pass authority to the linked website, such as in cases of relevant content or partnerships between websites.

Why do backlinks play such an important role in SEO?


There’s a lot that could be said about backlinks, but that’s not the purpose of this article. Its aim is to help you understand the basic mechanism of how backlinks increase authority, relevance, and assessment of your website by search engines. So, if you’re struggling with optimization and rankings in searches, backlinks are one of the topics that should interest you, especially concerning keywords. As a first step, try at least registering on https://semrush.com and conduct a small analysis of your website. Not everything on this service is immediately paid, and you can get at least a basic overview of your website for free.

The website is created with care for the included information. I strive to provide high-quality and useful content that helps or inspires others. If you are satisfied with my work and would like to support me, you can do so through simple options.

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