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What is the Backlinks Importance in 2024?

Jeremy Ellens

What is the Backlinks Importance in 2024? - cover photo

The average backlink costs more than $300 and there are companies spending thousands of dollars on them every month. The SEO industry is growing strong and with each year, more companies increase their link building budgets. But why are backlinks so important for SEO?

Let’s find out how high-quality backlinks can give you real-world marketing and sales results.

What are backlinks?

Backlinks are links that other websites give to your website. When someone writes about a certain topic and adds a link to your post or home page, this is a backlink. When websites give out links to your web pages, they’re sending a signal of trust. It means that you’re an expert on this topic and that when someone searches for it in search engines, your website should be placed higher.

The more authoritative the website that is giving you a link, the more valuable this backlink is for your digital marketing and sales efforts.

You wouldn’t be wrong to assume that more backlinks means better SEO performance. However, building backlinks is all about quality, rather than quantity. You want to build quality backlinks that move the needle, rather than low-quality ones from spammy websites.

But more on how to identify great backlinks later.

Why are backlinks important for SEO?

Google’s algorithms have been changing for decades now, and they release a new one every other month or so. An algorithm is a set of rules that tells website managers and business owners what they need to do to rank well in search results and get organic traffic from Google. Throughout the years, one of the strongest ranking signals for websites has been backlinks.

Backlinks are a strong ranking signal

Google themselves have stated multiple times throughout the years that having relevant links helps with search engine rankings. If a website has more good backlinks (and quality content, of course), it’s going to perform better in the SERPs compared to websites with similar content but no backlinks.

What is the Backlinks Importance in 2024?

Independent research by SEO powerhouses such as Backlinko have also confirmed that backlinks are an extremely important vote of confidence that help websites get better rankings.

Over the years, Google has tried to downplay the importance of backlinks for search engine performance, but independent research has shown that a strong backlink profile correlates with higher rankings.

Inbound links correlate with higher traffic

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that with higher rankings, you get more clicks. While trustworthiness and better positions in search rankings are nice to have, most site owners care about other things. Higher website traffic means more people coming to your website, and that means potentially more purchases.

This is why almost every SEO strategy puts backlinks at its core – coupled with high quality content, it’s one of the few marketing tactics that brings a solid return on investment.

Backlinks can bring referral traffic

Imagine you run a small marketing app and you get a backlink from a website like Hubspot. Website links like these do not only impact rankings because not all backlinks are created equal.

When you get a high-quality link from a relevant page, you not only get a bump in organic search, but you also get referral traffic. In other words, people head from the website where the link was placed to your website. This makes links from authority websites especially valuable for your marketing and sales metrics.

How to recognize good backlinks

If you’re just starting with your link building strategy, you may be thinking that just about any backlink to your website is going to make a difference in your performance in search engine results pages. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Here are a few tips for website owners to help recognize high-quality links.

These links come from relevant websites

Imagine you have a store that sells baby food and you need a certain number of backlinks for your pages to start ranking. You hire an agency, they do some outreach and you see an influx of links… From camping gear websites.

While these may be authoritative websites in their own domain, the truth is that they won’t make much of an impact for you. Google considers links as ranking factors only when they come from relevant websites.

In this case, getting links from mom blogs and lifestyle magazines would be more relevant and would contribute to your SEO success.

And even when you find a website that fits your niche, you want to make sure that it covers the same topics consistently and that there are no random spammy topics around casinos, drugs, adult content and other things that could put you in bad company.

The website metrics are solid

The quality of a website can be measured in several ways. It’s one of the easiest ways to tell if a link is good, but it’s not the definite, end-all answer. However, this is what you should check for each website:

  • Domain rating: a metric by the SEO tool Ahrefs, on a range from 0 to 99
  • Domain authority: a metric by Moz, on a range from 0 to 99
  • Website organic traffic: you should aim to get links from websites with higher search traffic, showing that Google likes those sites enough to send them traffic
  • The number of referring domains and backlinks: the website you’re getting links from should have quality backlinks itself
What is the Backlinks Importance in 2024?

An example of website metrics as seen in Ahrefs

These are excellent starting points, but you should still do a manual check for the quality of the website as well. Sometimes, a website can be a PBN (private blogger network) that has amazing stats but is still not a good target to get links from.

The link placement is natural

For search engine optimization efforts to pay off, the links you build have to look natural and not forced into the content. This means that the link inserted should flow with the surrounding content and not feel like you spilled a can of beans on top of a cake.

For example, this is a natural placement:

As a mom, I’m used to shopping for most of my baby supplies alone. Buying baby food and clothes is something I do either alone or with my friends.

And this is an example of an unnatural placement:

It’s a great feeling to have your household stocked up and my pantry is filled to the brim with canned food and ready-to-eat meals in case of emergencies. Buying baby food is a necessity too.

Both are in the context of food, but only one of them connects the link with the surrounding text. With this in mind, here are some great ways to tell if link placement is natural:

  • The anchor text (the text of the link) has to be a natural phrase
  • The link should lead to a relevant page on your website with the right content (e.g. a page for buying baby food for our example)
  • The link should ideally be dofollow (but nofollow links are acceptable too)
  • It should be in a nice place in the article, preferably close to the top and not in the conclusion

With these guidelines, you should hopefully be able to find quality websites and get incoming links that boost your performance despite the ever-changing search engine algorithms.

How to recognize bad backlinks?

Bad links do more harm than good and instead of boosting your performance in Google search results, they drain your marketing budget and may even lower your rankings. Here are some of the tell-tale signs of a bad link.

  1. The link comes from a general type of website – e.g. news, lifestyle, magazine websites. The wider the range of topics, the smaller the chances that it’s a valuable link
  2. The page with your link has tons of other external links on it – this could be a case that it’s a guest post with lots of links in it. In any case, it’s not ideal to share the real estate on a page with many other websites, as this means the link is not as valuable
  3. The link is crammed in the conclusion – someone put it there so it does not affect the rest of the text. These links have less value and probably will not drive many clicks or improve your website’s ranking
  4. Directory links – anyone can get directory links and as such, their value is not that great
  5. The content is low quality – if the post that you’re getting a link from reads like it was written by a 5-year-old child from rural China, there are no types of backlinks that could be good from that content
  6. The domain rating of the website is low – you can check this in a tool such as SEMrush or Ahrefs. You should target websites with higher metrics
  7. The link is no-follow – sometimes, the webmaster can give the link a nofollow attribute to tell search engines to “ignore” it. Ideally, you should pursue dofollow links most of the time


Until Google changes their minds (which doesn’t seem likely any time soon), backlinks are one of the strongest signals for a website to rank well in search results. There is a catch though – your links have to be built naturally, from high-quality domains and from relevant pages.

For many businesses, this seems easier said than done. And if this is you – don’t worry. At ReportCard, we’re building hundreds of backlinks for our clients every month, from a wide range of industries and clients. Reach out to us today to see how we can help you get more traffic and sales from SEO!

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