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What are backlinks?

A backlink is a link that a Web site receives from another Web site. Backlinks have a big impact on the presence of websites in search results. This is why they are considered useful when it comes to improving a website’s SEO ranking. Search engines calculate ranking based on several factors. No one knows how heavily backlinks weigh in when it comes to calculating that ranking, but what we do know is that backlinks are definitely a fixed value in this calculation.

Backlinks should be natural, this means that a website should not use artificial ways to create backlinks for their own websites. Quality takes precedence over quantity here.

Example: website A is a restaurant and gets a backlink from Website B, a prominent restaurant review website. This is a valuable and, more importantly, natural backlink.

Because of the importance of backlinks, many bad practices have surfaced by other website owners. Some of these bad practices include: buying backlinks, selling backlinks, exchanging with other websites, … Websites caught doing this are often caught and penalized soon enough.

Think of backlinks as conversations between websites.

Example: Jan, a blogger, writes a very interesting article about a sporting event. Another blogger, Bert, disagrees with the article and writes about it in an article for his online magazine. Bert hereby links to Jan’s previous article so that readers can see the point of view from 2 sides. This way, Jan gets a valuable backlink. Although Jan received only one backlink for his article, the value of his backlink is increased.

The Web is a network of Web pages connected by hyperlinks. Each hyperlink that connects to a new document contributes to the overall growth of the Web. Search engines make it easier for you to find these Web pages. A web page linked by many other web pages on similar topics is considered more respectful and valuable. Backlinks are not only important for a Web site to gain “respect,” they are also important for search engines and the overall health of the Web.

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