Skip to Content
Close Icon

Backlinks - What are They and Why are They Important?

The Silhouettes of 7 People Hold Hands, Connected the Way Backlinks Show How Your Site is Connected to the Larger Community..

What are Backlinks?

Backlinks are links from other sites to your site. Those links back to your site are an SEO ranking factor because they show how your site is connected and possibly even well-regarded by others. 

How Do You Get Backlinks?

Getting other sites to link to your own site can occur in a number of ways:

  1. You create or participate in content to be published somewhere other than your own site, linking back to your bio or other content on your site. This could be a guest post on another blog, a guest feature in someone else's video, a press release about a new product linking back to your own product page or a variety of other possibilities. 
  2. Something you've published on your site is referenced elsewhere. As an example, say you produce a video showing a method for getting SEO backlinks and another SEO blog references the method you outlined. It would be appropriate for that blog to link back to your site. The idea is similar to the "works cited" section of a research project.
  3. Charitable donations, sponsorships, organization memberships or other ways you might involve your business in different communities get recognized online, providing a link. Chamber websites and trade organizations can be good places to request these types of links.
  4. Relevant directories list your businesses and a link for those who want to learn more. 
  5. While the SEO value is debatable, social posts linking to your site are backlinks as well. 

How Do Backlinks Help with SEO?

Not all links to your site are beneficial. The technical rules are always changing, but remember that the reason backlinks are regarded as a ranking factor at all is because they show how you are connected to online communities. They show that other sites think your site is worth linking to. Industry publications linking to your site can show that you are active in that industry. Your local chamber of commerce linking to your site shows you are involved in that local community. The same could be said for sponsoring local events and charitable efforts. Links that don't genuinely show this - that instead are forced, bought or stuffed aren't likely to benefit you and may even harm your organic visibility. 

Is a Facebook Post a Backlink?

Because a backlink is generally seen as a sign of earned recognition, and because it is so easy to post a link to your site on social media, this is a subject of debate. SEO tools won't show these links in their backlink tools, and your own posts linking back to your site generally won't provide much value for your organic rank. However, those links can be beneficial in a number of other ways.

Can Backlinks Harm Your Site?

Yes, poor quality links to your site can be a sign that you are paying for links or trying to game the system in other ways. Search engines are sophisticated enough to see through tactics like that. Even if you get an inauthentic link strategy by Google or other search engines in the short term, at some point, the real value (or lack of value) of those links will be discovered and your visibility will reflect that. Most search engines want to help users find content that genuinely matches their needs. A site that uses fake, flimsy, black hat SEO tactics is proving that it can't thrive on it's own genuine merit. That's a good indicator that you might be skeptical of anything else the site produces. 

What Should You Do if a Low Quality Link Points to Your Website?

Any one low-quality link shouldn't cause much trouble for your site. Google and other search engines are pretty good at understanding what different links mean to the larger community. If a link isn't part of a larger pattern, the search engine will likely pay it little attention. However, it is a good practice to know where backlinks come from and to clear out any garbage links. If you see that a link from a poor quality website is linking to yours, there are a couple things you can do to keep it from becoming a problem.

  1. Let the site owner know. An email to the site owner describing where the link appears and why you would like it removed can sometimes get quick results. For best success with these requests, include as much detail you can about the link you'd like removed. 
  2. Disavow links from that URL. If you have good reason to believe certain links are harming your site's organic presence, Google provides a way to show that you do not appreciate those links. Create a list of any sites you believe Google should not regard as related to your site. Then navigate to the disavow tool in Google Search Console. Select the property (the domain name of your website), and upload your disavow list.

What is the Best Way to Identify Backlink Opportunities?

You may be able to identify and even create a number of backlink opportunities by being active in the communities where you want to be recognized. Have you been mentioned in local news outlets? Have you participated in local or industry organizations? Are you featured as a guest on sites other than your own? Ask those site owners to provide a link back to your website. 

Beyond that first level of links, you might look to professionals such as the experts on VGM Forbin's SEO team. They understand how different sites fit into their larger communities and can help you develop safe, effective links back to your website. 

Can an SEO Company Provide Backlinks for You?

An SEO expert can take care of some of this for you, but creating opportunities for links to your website may need to be a collaborative effort. Your SEO experts can look for existing mentions that could add a link and can contact those site owners to request the link. They can identify outlets where a guest video or post might fit well and arrange to have your ideas published. They can even outline and help you write scripts or posts to send to those outlets. But because authentic links from your communities are a sign of your connectedness, it can be very practical for your own work and voice to be featured. That isn't always easy to hand off to an SEO professional. 

You are reading this because you are ready to take steps to improve your organic visibility. If you have reached the limit of what you know how to do for your site's organic presence or if you don't feel you have the time, tools or talent to make progress, get in touch with the team at VGM Forbin. Forbin's SEO experts will listen, then help you develop a plan to help you achieve your business goals.


What are Backlinks? Backlinks are links from other sites to your site. Those links back to your site are an SEO ranking factor because they show how your site is connected and possibly even well-regarded by others.  How Do You Get Backlinks? Getting...