The Importance of Inbound Links to SEO

While SEO best practices change regularly, inbound links are still one of the most significant ranking factors. Whether you call them hyperlinks, backlinks, or plain old inbound links, they all refer to a link from someone else’s online property to your own. These links may not be fancy, but they are integral to SEO, and if that isn’t important to you, it should be. If you’re not quite where you need to be regarding inbound links, however, never fear – this primer and a digital marketing specialist can help you get there.

Rank that Page

One of the most important indicators of how important inbound links are is Google’s PageRank algorithm, which is predicated on understanding how a specific webpage finds its home on the web at large. In a Google guidance page of days gone by, Google relays that the number and quality of a page’s inbound links translate to a measure of how important the website is. The overarching assumption here is that the more inbounds a website garners, the more relevant it is to a given topic. This is right from the horse’s mouth, and it started a whole big thing – the quest for more inbound links.

Google Isn’t the Only Search Engine

It may be difficult to accept, but Google isn’t the only search engine out there that matters. Bing, for example, relays that its preference is for links that happen organically, which occurs when other sites link to your site because your content is of value to them. For Bing, this translates to a vote for “Team You.”

Not All links are Created Equal

Some links are more influential than others, and each link’s value correlates directly with its level of influence on the web – within specific kinds of searches. What you’re going for is relevance and authority – whether you’re selling widgets, offering fashion advice, or doing anything else online. Google considers a link from page A to page B as a vote by page A for page B. As such, when page A is an important page in a given area, its vote for page B is more consequential than a vote made by a less influential page.

Relevance, Your Honor?

Relevance is the one exception in the calculus of ranking links. No matter how lofty page A is, its vote of confidence (in the form of a link) to your page is unlikely to do you an immense amount of good unless the site is relevant to what you do. If the finest baker on the web links to your carburetor repair shop, it’s sweet, but it’s not going to bring you the kind of cache that a link from the carburetor king of the internet would.

The Metrics Are Tricky

If you want to get a feel for the power of your page, you naturally turn to those metrics found in articles written by the manufacturers of tools that are meant to help you explore exactly how search engines translate a linking page’s gravitas. While the guidelines proffered are sometimes interesting and can provide helpful hints, they are neither recommended nor endorsed by the search engines themselves. In fact, it is no longer possible to obtain a Google reading on a specific page’s level of authority.

Links Gone Bad

The fact is that links can be manipulated, and all the major players know it. When it comes to the internet, users are nothing if not creative, and they’ve hatched plenty of schemes to improve their rankings, including link exchanges, link purchasing, and more – much more. In fact, Google and the rest have strict guidelines regarding link manipulation, and they employ similarly harsh penalties.


A link to your page that is valuable today may not be tomorrow – and vice versa. If the page that gives you its virtual vote evolves into an authority that more closely aligns with what you have on offer, that link can increase its level of authority (in relation to your page). On the other hand, if that same page moves in a different direction – away from your offerings – its value to your page decreases.

Link Building

Inbound links are important – you get that. The question on everyone’s lips is how to get more links of greater value, and that’s a great question. It’s not, however, about applying a specific strategy and resting on your laurels. Instead, effective link building is always about offering quality content that is both original and compelling (and if you can incorporate your own distinctive voice, all the better). There are, however, some helpful content strategies that can keep you moving in the right direction, including:

  • Provide content that is creative, readable, and informative
  • Focus your marketing campaigns on stellar content and trust that inbound links will increase organically
  • Create content that highlights evolving research, relevant topics with inherent pizazz, and other offerings that play well with the socials

You’ve heard it before, but it may never have been as true as it is right now – content is king.

Inbound Links? Our Digital Marketing Specialists Are Poised to Help You Pounce

At The Web Guys, our digital marketing experts understand how important inbound links are to your overall marketing plan, and we’re all about helping you get there – organically. The fact is that stellar content never goes out of style and only serves to build upon itself. With our vision and tech-savvy on your side, you can get where you need to be. We’re over here – waiting – so go ahead and contact us at (317) 805-4933 to learn more about us and our services today.