SEO backlinks

What is a backlink?

A backlink (or “inbound link”, “incoming link”) occurs when one website links to another website.

According to Google, content and backlinks are two of the biggest factors in SEO website rankings, so not having backlinks on a website will limit ranking potential and referral traffic.


There are a variety of backlinks and they are ranked in different tiers by Google.

  • Tier 1
  • Tier 2
  • Tier 3

Tier 1

Tier1 backlinks are the most valuable. They include:

  • Editorial Backlinks
  • Relationship-Based Backlinks
  • Guest Blogging
  • Niche Directories

Editorial Backlinks

Editorial links come from credible sources that have high traffic and lots of backlinks. These types of notable links come from sources like popular publications and blogs. Most of these backlinks will occur anonymously and without your knowledge.

This occurs when someone finds your online content valuable and shares it by creating a link on their website, blog, publication, social profile, or other means directing people to the content on your website.

An editorial link is the purest form of a backlink because it communicates authenticity and relevance. People only share what they like or find interesting, so a backlink is a vote of confidence or a thumbs up for the content being shared.

Search engines crawlers also take notice of backlinks, and more links on a page often results in higher page rankings on SERPs.

Relationship-Based Backlinks

Relationship-based backlinks are links based on a relationship developed with a content contributor, writer for a publication, journalist or blogger.

In these cases, websites will often reach out and solicit content to “influencers” to try to and earn backlinks.

Despite this type of backlink being less organic or “natural”, they are still valuable and relevant in the eyes of Google and other search engines.

Guest Blogging

This process involves getting permission to write a blog or article on another website, publication or blogger site to increase attention to your content and, hopefully, drive traffic to your website.

This type of backlink was seen as more valuable by Google and other search engines a few years back, although they still produce some SEO value as a genuine backlink.

Niche Directories

The internet is littered with general directories once used to exploit search engine algorithms but Google got smart and made these types of site listings irrelevant within their revised ranking methodologies.

There are still niche directories and online profiles that Google see as relevant and providing SEO value.

Here are a few examples:

  • Yellow
  • Yelp
  • Better Business Bureau
  • All Business Now

The strategy for these types of backlinks is to write specific content for each directory . It is important not to use the same content for every listing.

Google frowns upon duplicate content on any site. They believe it can negatively impact a user experience when people find the same information on different searches and sites. Also, duplicate content makes life more difficult for search engine crawlers so they classify these pages as having “spammy” content. This classification basically eliminates  any chance of a webpage being included in a SERP.  

Tier 2 and Tier 3 Backlinks

Tier 2 and Tier 3 backlinks should be avoided altogether, as Google (and other search engines) views this backlink strategy as an attempt to exploit their algorithms.

These types of backlinks include: 

  • Guest Posting at Scale
  • Links on Headers, Footers, and Sidebars
  • Paid Links
  • Comment Spam
  • General Directories
  • Backlinks from Irrelevant Websites

These types of backlinks reduce the relevancy, value or usefulness of content – thereby, leading to a poor user experience.  Google frowns on this strategy and doesn’t rank websites on SERP’s when they employ it. 

The key to a successful backlink strategy is to find relevant topics and create content around those subjects that others will find value in and will share with others.

Why are backlinks so important to SEO?

Backlinks are an online “stamp of approval” or “vote of confidence” from one website to another based on the significance and value of a website’s content. 

The quality of a website’s content is a ranking factor for Google as they aim to provide valuable search results to users. The quantity and quality of backlinks on a website/webpage provide powerful signals about the value people are finding in the site content.

Google pays close attention to these signals because the volume of backlinks (or “votes”) on a site is a good predictor of value. Also, backlinks coming from publishers deemed “authoritative” carry an even higher value within Google’s ranking algorithms.

Finally, keep in mind that quality of content is more important than the quantity of content. Take the time to pick the right subject matter that offers values to its readers (and includes valuable keywords about your business) because it takes time, strategy and investment to produce quality content. Despite requiring lots of hard work, quality content is rewarded organically with higher engagement, more backlinks and higher ranking on SERPs.

How does Organix Digital approach backlinks?

Organix Digital approaches backlinks in the following ways:

First, we start with scanning your existing backlinks to categorize them individually.

Second, we remove (or disavow) Tier 2 and Tier 3 backlinks off of your website.

We then begin adding additional Tier 1 links and profiles on niche directories.

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