November 28

What The Hell Is A Backlink And Should You Care?


If you are curious, don't worry. Some of these terms just seem a bit out there and some of them are straight forward.

SEO is sexy. People love to talk about it and backlinks are no exception.

Frankly there are so many strategies and tips and ideas about it that it is a bit nauseating.

There I said it!

Whew, I feel better.

So let's talk about backlinks but first here is a definition.

What is a backlink?



noun: backlink; plural noun: backlinks

  1. an incoming hyperlink from one web page to another website."the more backlinks you have pointing back to your site, the more popular it will be"

So what does that mean?

A backlink is when someone links to your site from their site.

Why do you care about backlinks?

Well, they are a ranking symbol of excellence to the search engines. In theory if quite a few people link to a blog post or page on your site, that means it must be a darn good one. If it is a darn good one that people link to and spend time on, then it has a higher likelihood of showing up on the first page of Google.

Here is what Brian at Backlink found after analyzing 1 million sites. Yes, you read that correctly and it is insane:

1. Backlinks remain an extremely important Google ranking factor. We found the number of domains linking to a page correlated with rankings more than any other factor.


So that is awesome but now what?

On the surface this sounds super simple right? But how do you get backlinks to your site? That is the real question and the answer is varied between asking people and getting lucky.

Luck really?

Ok fine maybe luck isn't exactly accurate but it feels like it to me.


There is something that you never ever ever want to do.

Whatever you do don't buy backlinks. That is super spammy and Google is super smart. They will figure it out and they will either ignore those links and/or punish you for it.

Option 1

You have to earn your backlinks honestly. Now, with that said you can ask for them. Just today someone sent me an email that was super awesome and it was an ask for a backlink.

Here is an example of a link share ask in action.

Email Title: Loved your post


My name is Emily and I work at Xsight Technologies, where we’ve created an amazing product: Magic PictureⓇ - a tool that truly sharpens images AND compresses image size simultaneously.

I noticed that you recently wrote about image file size here: I found your piece to be very interesting!

We created a well-written and extensive piece on reducing image file size that really complements your piece:

It’s already received a lot of positive feedback since it was published and I really think you and your readers would enjoy it.

Would you be interested in sharing our post with your audience? We’d really appreciate it!

If not, just let me know and I won’t follow up. Thanks!


This kind of effort takes time. You have to do research and find people who are blogging about your topic and then send out the related email. However, this is incredibly effective. As you can see, I just gave them the link.

Option 2

The other method is relying on organic backlinks. There is only one primary strategy to getting organic backlinks and that is to create content that is worth referencing. At the beginning of this post I linked to a blog post by Backlinko because it was an incredible post.

You really should read it.

Brian doesn't create a ton of blog posts, at least in regards to number of posts but he creates outrageously great content. As a result he gets a ton of backlinks to his blog.

Now that you know the power of a backlink, make sure that you are considerate of this with your own content. Don't just link to anything and everything with your blog because the more links that you have the less value that those links have.

Wait what?

Yes, this backlkinking thing can become quite complicated. There are plenty of nuances to it. For example, if you have a blog post with 10 links in it the power of each link is weakened.

Now before I go on, just know that you can fall into a pit of despair to never to be found again with SEO. The most important thing is to not be spammy.

A good example of a spammy blog is someone who gives all of their friend backlinks just because they are friends.

Backlinks should be relevant to the content.

If I suddenly gave a backlink in this post to a crochet blogger, it would be wildly out of place. Google would catch that the link is out of context and possibly punish the crochet blogger and me.

Site Quality & Content is Paramount

Google wants to see links coming from high quality sites that are associated with the outbound link given. Therefore, if you have a link from a completely unrelated site, it won’t be as valuable as a link from a related site.


Backlinks matter and can have a big impact on your search engine rankings but above all things they should be motivation to create content that matters. If you are a new blogger my advice to spend the majority of your time creating great content that really matters to your reader. If you are an advanced blogger now may be the time to start sending out emails asking people to share / link to your content.


Do backlinks matter, What is backlinking

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  1. Great post! I’ve just started to ask for links and permission to include other bloggers links on relevant posts. So far, everyone said yes. Great strategy. Thanks for explaining backlinks in more detail!

  2. Hey Renee,

    Nice to see you talking about a topic very dear to me. :)

    I love the way you explained how reaching out for links works whilst rewarding that person with a link, I’m sure they will be over the moon.

    The key to that situation is they have found a piece of content that is very well related to what they are offering. You’re blog post clearly shows your interest and expertise with the topic and is why their email is incredibly relevant. It does take quite a bit of time to do this, but the reward is high.


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