Inbound link, backlink, or incoming link refers to a hyperlink on a different website that points to a page on your website. These links indicate that your site contains valuable information, acting as a “vote of confidence” from another site.
From a search engine’s perspective, the more high-quality, relevant links pointing to your website, the greater the likelihood your site is authoritative and should be ranked higher in search results. Essentially, inbound links are one of the most influential factors search engines use to determine where your pages should rank.
Beyond their SEO value in ranking, inbound links can drive direct traffic to your site. When someone is reading content on another website and clicking on a link within that content, it could lead them to your site, categorized as referral traffic. This is beneficial in increasing the number of visitors to your site and can also be a significant indicator that you are a trusted authority on a particular topic.
Additionally, inbound links can help to build your website’s online brand and authority. They often come as a result of relationships and partnerships with other reputable websites, which can enhance your website’s visibility and reputation.
But not all inbound links are created equal. Links from trustworthy, reputable websites are far more valuable than links from low-quality, spammy sites. In fact, poor or unnatural linking can lead to penalties from search engines. Hence, part of SEO work involves:
Therefore, cultivating inbound links—part science, part relationship-building—is at the core of an effective SEO strategy, balancing the need for quantity with the imperative for quality.