One of the core techniques in Search Engine Optimization is backlinking, or the process of adding hyperlinks to one site which direct traffic back to another site, often using anchor text in a blog post. Inbound links are ones directed towards your site and outbound links lead away. It is important to understand why these links matter and how they can help increase your search engine rankings to properly build, measure and track them.

Why Do They Matter?

Search engine algorithms use backlinks to help establish that your content is relevant to the keywords and that you are an authority on the subject. Inbound links are more important than outbound for the algorithms, but the first step in building links to your site is to offer to place one on your site in return. Search engines see these links as an endorsement of the content of the linked site, so those directing traffic to your site from a well-established authority will be more valuable to your rankings than those from an unrelated or new site.

How Do You Measure and Track Them?

An important part of backlinking is making sure that you know how the quality, quantity and diversity of those links over time. Luckily, there are many online tools you can use to track which sites are linking to yours and see where you stand. When using these tools, keep an eye on the total number of links as well as the quality of those links by measuring the authority of the other site. The diversity of your backlinks refers to how many different sites are represented in the total number of links to your website. Dozens of links from one webpage will still count as one backlink in the search engine algorithms.

How Do You Build Quality Backlinks?

Building quality backlinks means putting up unique and valuable information for others to link to. This means updating blogs regularly with insights into your industry, your company’s culture and even public opinion on the products and services you offer. You can also contact online journalists and offer to be a source for relevant stories, trade links with business contacts and much more.

Backlinking is just one of many SEO tools you can use to raise your rankings in search engine results lists, but it is arguably the most important in establishing your site as an authority on related keywords. You can see which sites are linking to you and monitor the quantity, quality and diversity of these links with online tools. You can also build quality backlinks through unique content and business networking.