What is a backlink in SEO?

4 min readFeb 6, 2024


Website linking can be a minefield of myths and misinformation, especially when it comes to backlinking. We explain the fundamentals of backlinks, how they affect your website’s SEO and address one of the most common mistakes that can be punished. You’ll want to know this…

What is a backlink?

An online link is when one website page links to another website page. But there are different types of links. A backlink is when one website page links back to an external website page. The backlink may do this because the first website page wants to reference something or point to data on the other page.

You often see backlinks to high-authority websites. For example, a financial advice business may include backlinks to the Financial Conduct Authority website, Citizens Advice or government webpages, including the popular MoneyHelper site. A link that sends the user to another page on the same website is not a backlink; this is called an internal link but they are also important when they enhance navigation and the user experience.

How important are backlinks for SEO?

Backlinks are fantastic for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), which is a way of improving your website so it ranks higher on search engines and receives more attention. However, the backlink mainly contributes to improving the SEO performance of the website being linked back to — not the website that inserts the link on its page.

The reason that backlinks are acknowledged by search engines and improve SEO is that it shows that the website receiving the backlink is creating valuable and respected content. Think of it like a vote of confidence from other websites. The more backlinks a website receives, the more it should rank higher on search engines. And let’s not forget, the link itself can send more website users to the other website directly.

How to get backlinks

There are two ways people get backlinks to their website, namely:

  • Create valuable content that other websites want to reference and link to
  • Pay for backlinks which is when a business will pay bloggers to add content to other websites and insert a link to their content

However, only one of these methods should be used!

Search engines are getting better at identifying when a link has been paid for. They do this by looking at backlink patterns among other data. When a search engine notices that backlinks are being paid for to try and cheat the system, it punishes those websites so the reverse happens. Instead of enhancing their SEO performance, their ranking decreases and they become less visible.

This is why you should only encourage backlinks to your content by producing and publishing valuable content that can genuinely contribute to industry conversations. The good news is that content creators want to link to worthwhile sources and information, so they will automatically look for valuable content. It’s just your job to put it out there enough to get noticed.

WEBPRO offers high-quality content creation with a long-term vision that improves your chances of earning valuable backlinks — the right way!

Important things to consider

When trying to encourage other websites to link to your website, there are some important things you must consider. The first is that earning backlinks isn’t going to happen with one good piece of content, and it isn’t going to happen overnight. You will need to create interesting and valuable content, often with your own research and data, for a long period to get attention.

But there are things you can do on top of this, such as promoting the content you create. Leaving it on your website may not generate the attention it needs to get linked to by others. You will probably need to promote it through social media and even upload it to higher-brow platforms like LinkedIn.

How can you tell if backlinks are working?

You can check the number of backlinks to your website by using the Google Search Console which is completely free. You can then compare this information with other data regarding your number of website visitors to see if the backlinks have had a positive effect. Sometimes the benefits may not be seen for many months but they should be sustained.

Recap: A backlink is a hyperlink from one website to another. Backlinks are crucial for SEO, as they signal content quality and credibility. They should be earned through valuable content, not bought, as search engines penalise paid links. Building a backlink profile requires consistent, high-quality content creation and strategic promotion through various platforms. It’s a long-term effort that can be worth it.


SEMrush found that over 92% of the top 100 domains have backlinks to them. Similarly, half of websites without a backlink never made the first page.

Originally published at https://webpro-it.co.uk.




Notoriously knowledgable, intuitive & talented web professionals who’ve got all your online marketing needs covered. Web design & development… and much more.