If you’ve studied SEO for any amount of time, you’ll be familiar with backlinks. And don’t worry if you’re not — it’s a fairly simple topic.
A backlink is a link going from one website to another. For example, in this article from the Wall St. Journal, they quote Stephen Girsky and link to the original news article published on prnewswire.com.
That means prnewswire.com got a backlink from wsj.com.
A backlink is a trust signal to search engines. Website Owner A wouldn’t want to link to Website B if it was a scam, or not valuable to their reader. You want to keep people on your website as much as possible.
Linking to another site is you saying: “I’d rather have my reader go here because they have good information.”
Of course, that doesn’t mean all backlinks are equal.
Putting a link in your Instagram bio doesn’t carry much weight because anyone can create an account and add a link. The same goes for comment sections.
You could comment on the WSJ article with a link to your site, but it won’t mean much.
There’s also relevancy.
If you have a fitness website and link to a website about home appliances, it’s not very relevant.
So, backlinks have varying levels of impact.
But how important are they really? Many SEOs say backlinks are the #1 trust factor. And people spend many thousands of dollars getting more backlinks to their website.
Can your website rank in the search results without backlinks?
Here’s the short answer:
Yes, your website can rank without backlinks.
But it’s more difficult and your website is more vulnerable to competition.
Backlinks are a good thing. They’ll help your website rank higher in search results and you’ll get more organic traffic. Backlinks are still a basic trust factor for Google, so people who tell you they don’t matter are uninformed.