What are backlinks and why do you need them to get to the top?

What are backlinks and why do you need them to get to the top?

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What are backlinks and why do you need them to get to the top?


What are backlinks and why do you need them to get to the top? A backlink is a link strategically placed in the text to guide the reader to the page of your blog or website where relevant content awaits.

What are backlinks? A backlink is a link strategically placed in the text to guide the reader to the page of your blog or website where relevant content awaits. Its goal is to increase the number of surfers who know you and, at the same time, generate quality traffic to your blog. 

One of the most important strategies to succeed with SEO is Link Building.

Among the more than 170 ranking factors used by Google , two of them have the biggest impact:

  • Content quality: ability to respond to the user’s search intent.
  • Number of backlinks received: how many sites have links pointing to your domain.

That is why we will explain better what backlinks are and why they have such an impact within an SEO strategy!

Perhaps you have very relevant content on your site, a very good loading speed, but you still do not position yourself in the first positions of the SERPs. Lack of backlinks could be the main reason!


What is a backlink?


It is a link made from one website to another. Search engines like Google use the quality and quantity of backlinks as a ranking criteria. Therefore, acquiring backlinks is a fundamental strategy in SEO.

Currently it is practically impossible to position yourself at the top of the SERPs using keywords with a high search volume and a lot of competition.

Search engines look at backlinks as if they were an indication, after all, if another site has linked to yours, it is because they believe that your content is of quality.

In this way, with each link received, the sites gain authority. The higher the authority, the better your chances of achieving a good ranking.

But is getting backlinks from any site enough to gain authority? Certainly not!

We will see later how to identify quality backlinks, but first, let’s see in practice how links influence your positioning.


Why create a backlink strategy?


As we mentioned, backlinks work as a reference. If a quality and well-regarded site by Google links to yours, the tendency is for the search engine to trust your site more.

But backlinks not only influence the authority of the pages and your domain. They will also directly impact:

  • the acquisition of reference traffic (Referral);
  • the strengthening of the brand ( Brand Awareness );
  • relationship building.

Imagine if you get a backlinks on Rock’s content page that ranks first in Google for SEO.

The authority it transfers to you is incredible, as if Google trusts that content to the point of keeping it in the top spot for such a hotly contested keyword, it certainly trusts the content it links to as well , interpreting it as a recommendation.

That is the most obvious benefit!

Now, if we take into account that this content receives more than 10,000 monthly visits: how many of those people could click and visit your site?

How many people could know your brand? What if an association of more exchanges and collaboratively created materials emerges from this link?

This example shows that limiting backlinks only to gain authority is missing opportunities to impact more with our strategy.


What types of backlinks are there?


There are two main types of backlinks:

  • follow;
  • nofollow.

At first glance, they do not have any difference. Both are links on one page and when both are clicked, the user is directed to the designated page. So what is the difference between them?

The difference is in the signal that these backlinks will pass to bots and search engines. When Google bots visit your site and read a link code, they follow that backlink and visit other pages. Unless you find an attribute called “nofollow”.

Tracking links are normal links, they pass authority ( link juice ) and direct bots to these pages.

Links with the nofollow attribute tell search engines not to “follow” that link. It’s like they say “I want to send my user to this link, but you don’t need to go there, I don’t intend to give it any authority”.

Therefore, in a link building strategy, the ideal is to prioritize follow links, even so, nofollows are also of great value.

Later we will show you in detail why it is also important to receive this type of link.


How to start a backlink strategy?


Now that you know how important backlinks are, it’s time to learn how to get them. We will start with the most important factor: the first step in a backlink strategy is to have a website that deserves to receive links!

That is the main factor! Everything you learn in this content will only generate results if, in fact, you have a quality website that deserves to receive backlinks.

With that said, let’s move on to the first strategic steps of Link Building. We anticipate that it is useless to simply go out looking for partners and exchange links.

Like any good strategy, you need goals!


1. Define your goals

As we have seen, the number of backlinks received can bring several benefits. Therefore, your strategy will be guided by your ultimate goal.

You can have any of the following approaches:

  • improve the ranking of specific pages;
  • strengthen the brand and domain;
  • gain traffic and visibility.

Each of these strategies will require different types of backlinks, different amounts and types of partners, and will also use different text for the links. That is why it is essential to understand your objectives, as they will organize your strategies.

For example, if your goal is to rank for a page about lemon pie, you would prioritize links to that site using identical text (like: “lemon pie”) or variations of that keyword (for example: “lemon pie recipe” ).

If it is about traffic, you will avoid identical keywords to use in a text that presents benefits and convinces the click.

So you could use something like “click here for lemon pie recipes!” or “learn more about how to make lemon tart” and other variations. Goal drives strategy!


2. Identify your differentials

One of the most important points in a backlink acquisition strategy is understanding what your greatest assets are when it comes to making a partnership.

What do you have to offer for a potential partner to reciprocate with a backlink?

There may be several options:

  • Content: quality content that your partner will want to show their buyer person.
  • Data: Data that is new to the market, for example, a survey your company has conducted.
  • Product: offer a free month of your tool in exchange for a link, for example.
  • Service: the same as the previous one, but offering your service or part of it.
  • Authority: The authority of your site can be attractive to your potential partner.
  • Team – Your team may have strong names in your market, which can be used like in this exchange, participating in webinars, interviews and the like.

Here, it is important to be careful especially with your product and service. It may be a bargaining chip, but remember to give yourself the correct value . Identifying your greatest assets is a powerful weapon in gaining backlinks.

Many people think that all you have to offer is “a link back”. Get off the beaten path and earn valuable links!


3. Find good partners

Your backlink strategy will only be as good as the quality of your partners. An auto shop sending a link to an online poker site doesn’t make much sense, for example.

Consider the following factors:

  • market and similar topics;
  • companies and people;
  • similar people;
  • link probability.

Let’s present a good example of partnership. You have a candy company. And you want to publish the following material: The Complete Guide to Making Themed Cupcakes .

Look at examples of good potential partners:

  • food blogs;
  • recipe sites;
  • party websites/blogs.

All topics are directly related to the material offered and the public would therefore be interested.


How to identify a good backlink?


For the strategy to generate good results, it is necessary to know how to identify the characteristics of a good backlink. So let’s look at the anatomy of a perfect link and discuss each of these features in detail:

  • domain and page authority;
  • natural links;
  • anchor text/anchor text;
  • link type: nofollow/follow;
  • link position on the page;
  • text or image link;
  • market;
  • new domain.

Domain and page authority


As we said at the beginning of this content, the higher the authority of a site, the higher the authority transmitted by that backlink. You can find out the authority of a page using a few tools.

The most popular metric is presented by MozBar, a free tool from Moz. It has DA (domain authority) and PA (page authority). 

But there are also other very good metrics such as Majestic ‘s Trust Flow (reliability / authority) and the Citation Flow (volume of citations received by the page).

Another example, similar to Moz’s, are the metrics reported by the best backlink tool on the market, Ahrefs — you can check this information using their free tool, Ahrefs WebMaster Tools .

It shows the UR —URL rate, the authority of the page— and the DR —domain rate, the authority of the domain.

Now you may be wondering, how do you know if a partner’s authority is good or not? What is a good DA? Well, this can vary from market to market.

So my advice is to do a comparative analysis. Identify your metrics and compare with:

  • a great company in your turn;
  • an average company;
  • a small business;
  • your main competitors.

In this way, you will identify what is a good metric in your market. And, in addition, you will discover if the authority of your domain can be an advantage when offering a link exchange, for example.


Natural links


One of the most important factors for a backlink is its naturalness . Especially when we think about the authority the page is receiving when Google identifies it.

A natural link is a link that another website spontaneously creates to yours . That is, you received that link not because of a strategy or an exchange, but because they saw the quality of your content and it made sense for their buyer persona.

An example of a spontaneous link we made to SEMrush (a keyword, competitor analysis, and backlink tool).

The content is about the best tools for keywords. When mentioning the main tools, we made a link to each one of them, because it could be of interest to our buyer persona and they would want to know and/or use them: that is a natural link.

Imagine, on the other hand, that in the footer of our blog you find a link to “Mercedes cars” , next to other links to our institutional pages.

It does not make any sense. It’s probably a purchased link or a very forced trade. Of course, this is an exaggerated example, but the point is clear.

You may be wondering, so shouldn’t you do a link strategy? Should I have good content, a good website, spread it out and wait for the links? Nope! While you have to do all of that, you can’t stop there!

The idea is to keep in mind that each association, each backlink you receive, should be as natural as possible: a link that Google interprets as a spontaneous link from your partner .

Note: this topic is a suggestion for those who use UMTs —URL parameters— in a Link Building strategy. These links will never seem natural to Google. UMTs will only make sense in a direct link to a landing page or sales page (and even then we wouldn’t say it’s ideal).

Note: this topic is a suggestion for those who use UMTs —URL parameters— in a Link Building strategy. These links will never seem natural to Google. UMTs will only make sense in a direct link to a landing page or sales page (and even then we wouldn’t say it’s ideal).


Anchor text/Anchor text


Anchor text is the piece of content that links to another page. It is a very important factor in link building and is often overlooked. Although little is said about it, it has a direct impact on a strategy.

There are a few types of anchor text. Let’s get to know them using our Digital Marketing publication as an example:

  • Exact match: digital marketing.
  • Partial match: online marketing or digital marketing strategies.
  • brand: it would be related to the brand name.
  • Naked link:
  • Generic: “click here”.
  • Images: link in image, the anchor text is the Alt Text.

Alt text from image above (Legend: Alt text from our Basic SEO Infographic)

Ideally, the anchor text should be concise and relevant to the page that will receive the link, and should make it very clear what the topic of the page is that the visitor will be directed to.

Avoid generics at all costs! Remember that anchor text is essential for a link to look natural. You can have two objectives with this text:

  • build authority for the page;
  • generate clicks and visits.

In the case of authority, the closer to an exact match the link is, the better . That’s because the link basically says the following: “this page I’m linking to answers this question for a user.”

So exact match and partial match become natural links that strengthen the page.

An important detail: if you get 100 links to a page and they all have the same exact match anchor text, that will show the search engine how unnatural your backlink profile is.

So, explore keyword variations and anchor texts that are partially related.

If the intention is to receive clicks, you can work with more relaxed links, which in addition to showing what the reader will find, makes a promise and shows benefits.


Link type


The type of backlinks can also make a big difference in building authority for your website. The priority here is to get “follow” links, which are those backlinks that transmit greater relevance to the site they point to.

Nofollow links tell the search engine that it doesn’t need to “follow” that link or give it authority. So, thinking about the anatomy of the perfect link, ideally it should be a follow!

We’ll explain both types of links later and why nofollow links are important too.


Link position on the page


The position of the link on the page directly affects the amount of authority that page will receive.

This means that the links you make in the first paragraph of a blog post or in the header of your website, give more relevance to the pointed pages than the links in the footer or in the last paragraph.

In the structure of a website this is already a bit logical, since you will naturally point to your most relevant pages.

However, this concept is decisive, especially in blog posts. Remember to prioritize the most important links when getting a backlink.

Another positive aspect is the possibility of appearing on the partner’s blog or website.

Some blogs display an excerpt of the content, and if your link is there, it may appear not only in the post, but also on the front page of the blog (which is the most authoritative page on the site).




As we already mentioned, the market makes the difference. Receiving links from companies that operate in the Digital Marketing market makes more sense and gives Rock greater relevance than a company in the automotive market.

Despite that, there are markets that are similar or directly related, in which case the backlink will make total sense.


New domain


As we also mentioned, the more sites that backlink you, the better.

Better than receiving 10 links from the same domain is receiving them from different domains . This shows the search engine and the marketplace that not just one company, but many trust your business.

That’s why it’s essential to get backlinks from as many domains as possible, especially those that link to your competitors and don’t link to you. We will see how to find these opportunities later. 

So, in summary, the perfect backlink anatomy, the link you should prioritize is:

  • new domain link with good authority;
  • within your market;
  • link that your competitor has and you don’t.

Don’t forget to keep track of your top pages and map the ones that need the most to receive new links!


Why get nofollow links?


We said that nofollow links are those that do not transfer authority to a page. However, we also said that receiving nofollow backlinks can be great for your backlink strategy and online authority generation.

So we will explain why you need to receive nofollow links!


You get traffic the same way


The first and most logical benefit of the nofollow link is that, for the user, it works like a normal link. That is, you click and you are on the indicated page.

So if you receive nofollow links from other sites, you will receive that traffic. Soon, new people will be discovering your site, consuming your content and, of course, new sales opportunities.


They transfer relevance (what does that mean?)


We just said that nofollow links don’t transfer relevance… so why now say they do?

“It’s simple, although nofollow links tell search engines not to follow or transfer authority to that page, Google knows that the page is linking to that site.”

That is, even if Apple’s website sends a nofollow link to your page, Apple is linking to your page!

Even mentions of your business without backlinks can build authority though. Even if it doesn’t officially transfer authority, a nofollow link reveals that a quality site trusts your content.

Note: Google currently considers nofollow links a “hint” (a suggestion) and not a rule. For example, a 301 redirect is a rule, Google will understand that the page receiving the redirect is the official page. Now, the nofollow link is a suggestion, which Google can choose to ignore, meaning they are likely to build authority.


Social cues


This is another one of those stories that Google will claim is not a direct ranking factor.

Still, social cues could possibly affect your results . First, social shares tend to generate more visits, more shares, and of course, more backlinks.

Another factor is that the pages of social networks are also indexed, that is, the search engine sees the links, actions and mentions that your company receives.

Links on social media are nofollow, however they carry these social signals. 

Remember, sometimes, Google seems not to know how Google works, even if it says that it is not a ranking factor, it can affect your positioning.


Genera brand awareness


Another clear benefit of getting nofollow backlinks is the brand awareness they generate.

They can increase the number of people who know about your site and also generate a more positive view of your brand, since users will not know what type of link it is, they will only see a link from a site that trusts your content to the point of directing your visitors there.


Links generate more links


The more backlinks your site has on the internet, the higher the chances of getting even more links. There are more people knowing and sharing, more visibility and, consequently, more incoming links.


More natural backlink profile


This is one of the most important points. Remember how we said that backlinks should be more natural, right?

This is also relevant to your backlink profile. Think of it this way, if you’re only getting follow-up backlinks, it’s unlikely that your links aren’t natural , but are coming from partnerships, guest posts, exchanges, and other strategies that are contrary to Google’s guidelines.

Therefore, it is extremely important that your backlink profile is as natural as possible.

Tools like SEMrush present the link profile. Take a look at this example of a balanced backlink profile:

Note: Sponsored and UGC are two types of nofollow links. Sponsored when the link is paid and UGC when it is a user-generated link, such as a blog comment.


What are the best backlink tools?


To execute a good backlink acquisition strategy it is essential to use the best tools. We will indicate some of them here so that you can choose the most suitable one for your strategy.

Continue reading that this information is very useful!




Without a doubt, the most complete tool on the market in terms of backlinks. Ahrefs has a database to make any competitor envious.

In addition to evaluating your domain links, identifying lost and received links, evaluating your backlink profile, auditing your links, and everything else you need to know about your site, the tool is also essential for various backlink acquisition strategies.

Another benefit of Ahrefs is that they provide a series of videos that teach how to use the tool, with basic and advanced tips to create successful strategies.




Another very famous and widely used tool in the market is SEMrush . Basically you will have the same functions that Ahrefs has, with an excellent database (although not as complete).

SEMrush stands out, in particular, for the rest of its tool’s functionalities, such as:

  • competitive analysis;
  • keyword research 
  • SEO optimizations.

Being an excellent option for those who can only acquire one tool to provide several functions.

There are other great tools similar to SEMrush and Ahrefs, we’ll list them here if you’re interested in learning about them:

  • Moz Link Explorer;
  • Monitor Backlinks;
  • Majestic;
  • Ubersuggest.


Check my Links


Check my Links is a free tool that can generate a lot of value in your strategy. It is very useful for fixing broken links on your website and can also be used in Link Building strategies.

You can use the tool to find broken links on the site of potential market partners, we will teach you this method of link building later.


Google Search Console


GSC can be very useful for a Link Building strategy, especially since it is a free tool.

With it, you can identify which are your pages that receive the most backlinks and which ones need to be prioritized, which are the sites that link to your site the most and which anchor texts point the most to it.

All this information plays an important role!

Another cool feature is Search Console’s link disavow tool. If your site receives toxic links, you can use the deactivate tool and request that the links be ignored.

Another possibility for the same function is the tool: disavow.it


In practice: how to get backlinks (Link Building strategies)?


Of course, we save the best for last! Everything we teach you is essential for a good strategy and to improve your positioning, however, this information needs to be applied.

Now that you know how to evaluate your links and which pages and links you need to prioritize, let’s take a look at some backlink acquisition strategies in practice.


1. Link Bait

The first method to acquire backlinks is the most natural of all and is essential for a Link Building strategy.

Do you remember that we said that the first step of a good strategy is to have a site that deserves to receive links? Link bait is exactly that !

The idea is to create content that your readers will love and need to share. Create the best content on the market on certain topics or find ways to differentiate your content from everyone else.

You need something that generates value and differentiates your page from the entire market, such as:

  • very deep contents;
  • exclusive data;
  • search;
  • never-before-seen graphics and images;
  • a free tool.

The perfect link bait is the content that was created to rank at the top of Google, since it must be superior to all competitors.


2. Guest blogging

Guest posts are the most popular method of getting backlinks. It consists of producing content as a guest for a partner’s blog, often they are exchanges, you send and also receive content.

The most important thing is that you find good partners who receive your content and that the quality of your guest posting strategy is as good as that of your partners.


3. Mention of the brand / keyword

A very simple method of getting backlinks is to mention your brand name or your own name.

The method is very simple, the links acquired are natural and the tool used is free, since it is from Google itself.

To do this, simply go to Google Alerts and create an alert every time your company’s name is mentioned on the Internet, that way whenever that happens you will receive an email notifying you.

Then, check where this mention came from to request that the site that mentioned your brand link to your site.

You can use this branding methodology to mention the keywords, services, and products your business offers. It is important to have a great page that fully and satisfactorily answers the topic.


4. Broken links

Another method of getting backlinks is to find broken links on the internet, which are links that point to pages that once existed but now have no more content, or broken pages with errors, such as 404s.

When you find these links, you can offer content to replace the broken page (if the link is internal) or offer a replacement link, pointing to a page on your site.

For this you will need a tool. We have 3 good options that we already mentioned above:

  • Ahrefs;
  • Screaming Frog;
  • Check My Links.

The first two are paid and excellent, with them you can check your potential partner’s entire domain for broken links at once. Check My Links, in turn, is a free tool, but you can only analyze one page at a time.

Therefore, you need to go to the potential partners site and run the tool on their pages to check for broken links. Whenever you do an analysis, it will show you the following table, showing the links found and their status. You are looking for invalid links:


5. Backlinks from your competitors

The best type of backlinks you can get is the one your competitor has and you don’t! In addition to getting a quality backlink, you neutralize a competitive advantage he had over you .

The idea is that you find these links, discover the type, how it was made and look for potential partners. To do this, you will need to use a tool. 

The two we listed are the ones we mentioned above, SEMrush and Ahrefs (both paid), which have features where you can benchmark your domain against your competitors.

We will teach you the method to discover keyword gaps and backlinks using the second option.

Ahrefs gives you the option to identify your domain to find links that only your competitors have . The fact that the tool has this option shows us how important it is to have access to a list that shows all the links that your competitor receives and you don’t.

When you click on the link, the tool shows which specific page the link came from and which anchor text.

Then you just have to visit and identify how that link was made. Was it a guest post or a list of tools that featured your competitor? However, the way the link was made will direct the prospecting.

If you are a guest, for example, you can propose to send content. If it was already a list, you can create a description of your product or service and ask if it could be added to the list.

You can use this method by comparing the domain, but it is possible to compare specific pages, for example, if you are competing for a specific word.

These are some of the possible methods to acquire backlinks. Simple methods that can be an excellent start to a good acquisition strategy.


More links, more position


As we have seen, backlinks are among the top two ranking factors.

Since having content that deserves backlinks is the first step in the strategy, getting links already presupposes having great content. That is why having an effective link acquisition strategy is such an important step in achieving top search engine rankings.

Also, as we showed you at the beginning, there are many other benefits of acquiring quality links, but keep in mind that this is not an easy task.

The strategy requires a lot of dedication and patience. However, with these tactics that we show you to get good backlinks, you will evolve quickly.

We hope this post clears up all your questions about backlinks. Put these tips into practice to boost the results of your website or blog in a short period of time.


Other very useful tools for SEO:


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