What are Backlinks and why are they Important for SEO? - Toronto SEO Expert

If you have read anything about Search Engine Optimization you’ve probably come across one of the most common terms used in SEO – ‘backlinks.’   However, if you are new to SEO, you might be wondering what backlinks are and what role they play in improving your websites ranking. Backlinks have become so important for search engine rankings that they are an integral part of any good SEO campaign.

What are Backlinks?

Backlinks, also known as Inbound links (IBL’s) are not as complicated as they sound, they are simply any link on a website like this one or this one.

What is anchor text?

Anchor text is the text used to create a link, for example the anchor text in this link is “this link“. Anchor text is important because it provides guidance to the user and gives Google a idea of what a link is about. If my anchor text is “Google crawler” than Google is going to assume that the page I’m linking to has something to do with the Google crawler.

Backlinks are a useful indication of popularity or importance of a website to Google and most other large search engines, the more quality and relevant backlinks your website has, the more authority your website has and the bigger presence you have on the internet. Generally websites with more backlinks are considered to be more helpful to a particular topic or industry.Importance of backlinks for seo

Search engines use a crawler to crawl the web and find the number of backlinks a website has and their relevancy to a keyword. Google developed an algorithm dubbed “penguin” specifically designed for evaluating the quality of links a website has pointing to it. They use this to combat blackhat SEO tactics designed to create a mass amount of illegitimate links.

What is a nofollow link?

A no-follow backlink is a link that does not pass on the SEO benefits (link juice) of websites when they link to you. Google created the no-follow tag to help combat SEO spam. When SEO was first getting popular leaving links in comments and in forums was a common practice. The no-follow tag allowed webmasters to automatically make comments with links not pass any juice.

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The value of no-follow backlinks has been often debated within the SEO community with some people believing that they do serve a benefit and others arguing that they don’t pass any link juice and as a result are pointless in terms of SEO.

The other side of the debate argues that websites without any no-follow backlinks would look suspicious to Google. Since Google looks at so many factors (200+) it’s hard to say how much of a role no-follow backlinks actually play.

What is a dofollow link?

A do-follow backlink is a regular link that will pass on the SEO benefits (link juice) of a particular website when it links to another website. Do-follow links are generally the most common types of links people use.

Do-follow backlinks can be created from any website, backlinks from high authority websites will pass more authority (link juice) towards another website.

Importance of Backlinks for SEO

When Google first developed their search engine they created a metric called Pagerank that would evaluate a sites backlinks and provide a score out of ten. Pagerank provided a lot of insight to the SEO community and it was not long until people began to take advantage of the algorithm with low-quality backlinks. To get these links people would inject their link in unrelated blog comments, forum profiles and pretty much anywhere they could. It was not too long until Google caught onto this and began taking action. The Google Penguin update shook up the SEO community by evaluating not just the number of links but by also looking at the difficulty of getting a certain link and the quality of it. For example, if your clothing website was getting links from unrelated niche sites like a restaurant, dentist, digital marketing blog etc. these links won’t be as powerful and have as much influence on your ranking. Today it’s important to get high-quality links from sites relevant to your industry.

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More Referral Traffic

The sole aim of the SEO is to bring more traffic to your website and quality backlinks work not just for helping you rank but for bringing additional traffic to your site as well. With more quality backlinks to your website, you will get traffic not just from Google but from other relevant sites as well. For example, if you have a high quality guest blog post published on a popular blog in your industry and you link to your website in it people are likely to check your website as well.

Faster Indexing

The more quality backlinks your website has, the more seriously Google will take it. If you are regularly updating your website and have high authority Google will crawl it more often and index new pages faster. Hence it’s important to create good quality backlinks as much as possible, especially if your website is new. For more tips on how to get your website crawled more often check my guide on the Google crawler.

Increased Ranking

Try using some tools like Google search console to check the traffic you are getting from different websites and plan your campaign accordingly. These tools let you know the traffic you are getting from different websites so you can mold the campaign in the right direction.


Building quality backlinks from high authority websites is important for Search Engine Optimization. Backlinks from authority websites give search engines more trust in your website which results in more traffic, revenue and peace of mind.

A little understanding of backlinks can give you a big advantage over competitors who don’t understand why they are so important. Check out my post on Uprankly where I give my opinion on the most popular method for building backlinks.