Backlinks are links on other websites that point back to your own. They play a vital role in strengthening the credibility of your website so they’re an important element to be aware of. Chances are if you have a website on the internet, then there will be other websites that will be linking back to it. The trick is to ensure it’s only high quality links as bad links can actually damage your credibility instead of build it.

How to find backlinks to your site

The easiest way to find backlinks to your site is to connect with Google’s Search Console tool. The Google Search Console allows you to generate link reports that identify which external domains have links pointing back to your website, as well as other valuable information like the number of pages that include a backlink. There are also a number of online backlink tools which can be used to analyse incoming links to your site, as well as opportunities where backlinks can be created. Some examples include the Moz Link Explorer and Ahrefs tools.

Why are backlinks important for my site?

Backlinks are vital to any website because they increase search engine optimisation (SEO). To search engines such as Google, backlinks are a ‘site importance indicator’, meaning that they indicate how important or popular a website is. This then influences how high the search engines rank that particular website in their organic search engine results. In theory, a backlink is like an endorsement from another website that says “This website that I am linking to is relevant and important’. The more ‘endorsements’ you get from other websites, the better your site will look on the internet (in search results).

Why is it important to check on my site’s backlinks?

The simple answer: sometimes you may not want a particular website to link back to yours and sometimes a backlink may do more harm than good. Your website should attract high quality backlinks and avoid low quality backlinks. The general criteria of a high quality backlink is:

  • From a relevant source
  • From a trusted source
  • From a unique source
  • Located in-content
  • Actively sends traffic

Relevant source: Links that point back to your website should be linked from pages that are relevant to the page that is being linked on your website. As an example, if you own a restaurant, then a relevant source of backlinks would be from websites that review restaurants and food. 

Trusted source: Websites that link back to your website should be trustworthy and feature high-quality content. You want to avoid spammy websites backlinking to your site. 

Unique source: You should aim to attract backlinks from many different unique sources. It is much better to have 1 link each from 100 unique websites than 1000 links from one single website. 

Located in-content: Where the backlink appears in the source content is important. If your backlink is located higher up in your source’s content then Google will see this as your source treating your website as being more valuable. If your backlink is located lower down on your source’s page, or in a sidebar or footer then it will be less valuable.

Actively sends traffic: While having links are great, having your backlinks actively sending traffic to your site indicates that your site is important and valuable. Backlinks which just sit on websites that generate no traffic will score lower in Google’s eyes than links that do generate traffic.